Sim Purgatory: Unraveling the Deep Exposition of Farming Simulator 2011
The world of the simulator is truly a unique and interesting one. Ancient ruins, mysterious cannons that go off on New Year’s, wandering ghosts, etc. Farming Simulator 2011‘s setting includes all of these wonderful phenomena. The devs sure were brilliant in putting together such a brilliant framework for the game, giving the player all of these clues to the true purpose of the Farmer archetype’s existence and his backstory.
The game starts off simply enough, giving you a basic farm and some farming equipment. The true suggestions as to the purpose of the gameplay lie in the tutorial missions, namely the “Sightseeing” missions. The goal in these missions is to drive around the (surprisingly vast) open world in the game, finding all of the various important sites you’ll need to use over the course of the single-player campaign, like the granary, the brewery, the store, etc. The first one seems innocent enough, just taking you to regular farming sites. The second one is where things begin to get strange.
The first destination is an ancient ruin on top of the mountain pass. The trip doesn’t take you directly to it, so I had to go there on my own to discover the mysteries within. The ruin is very old and worn. Blurry textures abound. Perhaps the Farmer had something here he wanted to forget? Would explain why the whole area is such a blur; he wants to blot out some dark experience from his memory. The only clear thing in the ruin is a large tree in the center. The trees seem to be some sort of symbol; they can be found in many of the later areas.
The second destination is the brewery on the coast. It’s quite a small pub, nothing especially interesting about it at first glance. But in front of the brewery are two cannons pointed at the sea. Upon looking at them, it is revealed that they go off each New Year’s. No explanation is given as to how. Wandering around the brewery are a few people. They do not see you. They do not interact with you. Upon your touch, they move through you as if you were not there, as if you were a ghost.
The third destination is the old mill. Nothing interesting about it . Just an old wooden water-mill on the river. Perhaps it represents something important to the Farmer. The fourth is the port. Once again, nothing interesting. The only thing of note is that you can’t jump your tractor off of the dock, which is a real shame.
It stays fairly standard until you see the lighthouse. The game tells you that, as a Farmer, you won’t be able to relax and enjoy the beach. Perhaps this might say something about his past. The Farmer misses the old days in which he would be able to relax. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse, and there’s a good view. The sunset’s nice, especially since the water reflections are pretty decent. But behind the lighthouse is another of the trees, exactly the same as the one at the ancient ruin.
The next destination is the forest. Considering the tree symbolism shown previously, this probably represents something. All of the trees look extremely similar to the symbolic ones, so who knows. There’s also a hunting stand, but you don’t have a gun (well, yet), so I doubt there’s a hunting minigame in there.
And so the journey ends at the hedge maze. The pop-up message explaining the purpose of the maze says that some village folk believe some great treasure lies at the center, but that it’s probably a rumor. If you take the time to solve the maze, what lies in the center is… another of the trees. Well, that really reinforces the symbolism. The treasure must be the tree, so all of the identical trees must also have something special about them.
From these strange landmarks, I (with the help of a friend) have established a few theories as to the back story of the game. The Farmer was once a feudal lord, staying in his castle (now the ancient ruin), ruling cruelly over the many farmers of the land. At one point, they rebelled against him. He used his weapons and soldiers (represented by the “twin cannons” at the brewery) to kill many of them, but in the end, they captured him and hanged him from the tree growing in the ruin. Now the lord is a Farmer, forced to farm in this purgatory, to work until he has earned his penance for the crimes he enacted upon the innocent farm folk in the past. He sees the world age, but he will stay alive and farm until he will be able to pass into the next realm. The passing seems as though it will be marked by the firing of the “twin cannons” (the “New Year’s” representing the “New Stage” of his existence), at which point the game will more than likely end.
It’s really amazing how much detail the makers of Farming Simulator 2011 put into the exposition, filling the game with hints for the player to use. Why they put it into a farming simulator, I will never know. Maybe they wanted to show this story to the people who would actually appreciate it, and the only people who would actually appreciate such a deep and farming-focused story would be the audience who would play a farming simulator. Farming Simulator 2011 is truly the Neon Genesis Evangelion of simulators, with a narrative even more deep and horribly vague.