Producer Dan Hay explained that Jason Brody, who has to survive on a paradise island and rescue his friends, reflects how a normal person would react in extreme circumstances.
"The intention was to pick a character and pick a persona that was very much like the player," he told Digital Spy.
"You play games and the reality is that a lot of us aren't super soldiers, we don't have super powers, we don't have all these things.
"For us, it was creating an experience where you could take someone that was totally normal, and make the experience abnormal, and then say, 'Okay, what suite of powers do you have naturally that you could apply, to this space, that could ascend to something more powerful to see how you could survive?'
"When we put [Jason] in Vaas's domain, and as we watch as Jason is essentially separated from his friends and his family, and he's got people that he cares about who die, he goes through very, very real emotions, and the goal was to have the player be like, 'Damn, how am I going to survive this?' Real fear, real tension, real hate.
"And then, to come out on the far side of that. To see, when I talk about being a daylight atheist, and everybody's tough until they're in a situation when they're not tough, and then they realise, what's the difference?"
Hay said the development team went through a "thought process" of comparing Brody with when people leave home, and how people are confident in themselves, their friends and others, only to have their perceptions quickly shattered.
"Jason's effectively just left home, and you know when you left home, you know exactly who you were. You knew a couple of key things; your parents were idiots, your friends were your best friends for life, and they understood you completely, and you had a very, very good understanding of the world and how it should be run and what was fair.
"You look back [after leaving] and realise your parents knew exactly what they were talking about, those friends that you thought were your soulmates were probably complete morons and you don't know any of them anymore, and you didn't have a clue what was going on."
Hay added: "The idea is to condense that experience and the survivablity of that experience down to a short amount of time, so when the player puts the controller down, they've lived a lifetime across a game. Which is not easy to do, but it had to feel credible."
Last week saw the reveal of a four-player co-operative mode and new trailer for E3 2012.
Far Cry 3 will be available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on September 4 in North America and September 7 in Europe.
> Far Cry 3 campaign preview: Face your insanity
Watch the E3 2012 trailer for Far Cry 3 below: