Dan Hay, the creative director for Far Cry 3 through Far Cry 5, recently held a lecture at the British Academy of Film and Television where he discussed game development and pitching ideas. As part of the chat, he highlighted the spark of an idea he had for a game and how he, along with other developers, built a pitch from it and eventually conceptualized several games from the same starting point.
It’s all about a bear. Taking the idea of a young child’s attachment to a stuffed animal, something that millions can empathize with, he crafted the idea of a game about space spiders weaving yarn into all sorts of puzzle solving, combat winning configurations. In every guise though, the game was built from the same barebones idea of a little girl and her stuffed teddy bear.
That was the core message of his talk, where he highlighted how developers should draw on real-world experiences as the foundation of their games and to help make them resonate with audiences. In the case of his idea of a bear, he kept coming back to that core concept and what it meant for his potential game’s story and setting.
While the bear was a major component of the game though, it wasn’t important in and of itself. It’s what it drives that is. In the case of this unnamed, unmade game, Hay describes a little girl in space losing her teddy bear during a frantic moment of escape. That bear finds itself into the deepest, darkest part of a planet, where web-weaving aliens live. Inspired by the bear’s stitching in three dimensions, they begin to make their way out of their subterranean domain, solving puzzles and defeating enemies along the way.
He highlighted, too, how that genesis could be the same, but drastically different with subtle tweaks. As Eurogamer highlights, making the bear a panda could have an impact on how the aliens view color in their new 3D-inspired web building.
Having confirmed to the audience that the talk was the first time anyone other than his fellow developers had heard anything about the game idea, it’s not clear if it’s a project Hay ever plans to develop further. However, considering giant publishers like Ubisoft have supported experimental indie projects like Grow Home, Child of Light, and Valiant Hearts in recent years, there is always a possibility the little bear may end up in a game in the future.