Can you recognize this Vaas?

first look of vaas 2

(From IGN) Vaas wasn’t always Vaas. Ubisoft Montreal initially sketched out concepts for a more physically imposing villain for Far Cry 3, a brutish man meant to intimidate with his size and scars rather than subtlety.

Why did Vaas, a fairly non-threatening-looking dude with a haunting personality, come from this abandoned antagonist?

“We absolutely didn’t get it right on the first go,” executive producer Dan Hay tells IGN.

Bull, half blind and having presumably won a bare-knuckle boxing match with a grizzly, sports a nose-ring, broad jaw, and elaborate tribal tattoos. Distinctive traits for a potential Big Bad? Sure.

Boring? Absolutely.

The bald brute stereotype seems to have invaded almost every action game imaginable during the past decade. Bull was “like a 300-pound, six-foot-tall bullmastiff dog,” level design director Mark Thompson says. That changed after actor Michael Mando auditioned for the role.

Mando, whom Ubisoft Montreal would eventually use as the face, body, and voice of Vaas Montenegro, changed the developers’ idea of what their most prominent villain could be. “[Mando] had a completely different physicality,” Thompson says. Bull’s physical threat became part of the evolving characters’ personality instead, and he was redesigned.

With Mando in mind as Far Cry 3’s villain, artists began re-conceptualizing who this man could be. Script revisions gave birth to Pyro, a “volatile, explosive, rage-filled” character.

Like Bull, though, Pyro featured physical mutilations, now more exaggerated than ever. The skin on the left side of his body was twisted and torn by brutal burns. The color red became more pronounced — red shirt, red bands, red hair, all matching the red of his wounds.

When Ubisoft Montreal officially cast Mando, more changes came about.

Characters, Thompson explains, come from an idea that “can sound super interesting. At that moment, you get that kind of spark, like, ‘yeah, that’s going to be incredible.’”

However, Thompson continues, “you can look at the sentence and say, ‘That’s a cool idea,’ but there’s going to be no emotion — it’s not going to resonate with people — until you get someone like Michael Mando to come in and audition. Then you’re like, ‘Oh, s–t, yeah.’ Now that sentence is…it has meaning.”

That value came primarily from the performance, so the heavy markings were scrapped for the subtlety conveyed by Vaas’ mannerisms — picking at his bandages, for instance, between wild mood swings.

“We knew what we wanted Vaas to be,” explains Hay. “We knew that we wanted it to be emotive. We knew that we wanted this character to be physical and to be…charming? Hard to look at. Almost like the sun. It’s impressive, but you can’t stare at it.”

(read the full story)



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