THE Far Cry series of games by Ubisoft has always been about exotic, far-fetched location, insane action and (with the exception of Far Cry Primal) enough guns to equip both sides in a medium size civil war.
Whether it’s tropical islands, southern Africa, the Stone Age, or the Himalayas, the series has always been about going to interesting, exotic places and that trend continues with Far Cry 5 taking you to the uncharted wilds of Montana, USA. After all, it’s exotic to everyone outside the US.
The antagonist is religious doomsday cult leader Father Joseph Seed, his underbosses, and followers members of the Edens Gate congregation — and you are a deputy sheriff who’s had quite enough of their shenanigans.
The cult is taking over Hope County and it’s up to you to defeat them and help reclaim the area with the help of some colourful local residents.
Besides the detailed frontier settings, extensive armouries and exotic locations, the Far Cry games have always been completely bonkers and this noble tradition is set to continue in the series’ sixth instalment.
The choice of setting and antagonists has caused a lot of controversy, particularly from the sort of people who are statistically likely to unironically wear clothing with “Make The Country Between Canada and Mexico Great Again” on it.
Ah, people have already started crying about “white genocide” in far cry 5, lovely
— Joel (@VenomsDevil) May 28, 2017
Far Cry 5 promotes white genocide.
— Habeeb (@FocusBreak) May 28, 2017
Far Cry 5, or as white people like to call it, the “White Genocide Simulator”.
— คlly @ є3 (@YonduUdontah) May 26, 2017
With the “controversy” of Far Cry 5, am I the only one who thinks it would be hilarious if the protagonist was Russian?
— Carlos G. (@Carlos_Webcomic) June 2, 2017
I’m really liking this Far Cry 5 controversy; it really highlights the hypocrisy of the right, despite the left sucking too.
— I’m you but pretty (@ZazgorFilms) May 31, 2017
Creative director Dan Hay said the similarities between current events and Far Cry 5 were totally coincidental, with the game having been in development for more than two and a half years and there being absolutely no specific political agenda or intentional connection between the game and real world situations in the US.
“The simple truth is the idea of going to the States for Far Cry has existed for almost five years,” he said.
“At a brand level it’s something I really wanted to do at the end of Far Cry 3. We thought about it and were kicking it around and at the time it wasn’t the right moment and didn’t seem right in light of the creative we were kicking around.”
Mr Hay said while there was no intentional political agenda in Far Cry 5, that didn’t mean the game couldn’t still contain political themes and real-world issues.
“When I think about what movies and TV have been able to explore in the past 60 years and games, in my opinion are in parity with that — the fact is we are an entertainment brand and games have really matured. We think there’s an opportunity to explore those types of things,” he said.
Mr Hay said it had been amazing to see the various reactions to the setting and plot, but potential controversy was one of the reasons the developers created their own version of Montana for the game.
“Yes, it takes place in Montana, but Hope is not a place you can find in Montana — it’s ours, it’s our cult, what they believe in is something we own and it’s very much our world,” he said.
Acknowledging Montana might seem an unorthodox choice of location, Mr Hay said it became more and more appealing the more research they did.
“You start to do some research and you start to look at the idea of cults, you start to look at idea of a father, you kick around the idea of a family, you look at the idea of people moving to that space who are self-reliant, who want to be left alone, who don’t want any prying eyes looking at them,” Mr Hay said.
“The fact is it’s still a frontier and all of a sudden you realise it’s perfect, it’s a Petri dish for Far Cry.”
He also addressed the question of why the character or one of the local inhabitants don’t just leave (such as in an aeroplane) to get help, saying while the developers wanted a believable reality for the game, some liberties had to be taken for gameplay — and there was no telling how a person might actually respond if they found themselves in the protagonist’s place.
“If this sort of event actually happened to any one of us, you wouldn’t know which direction to go in, you’d kind of set off and follow your nose and go wherever you were going to go,” he said.
This change in approach flows throughout the game, with gamers doubtless pleased to hear the trademark “Ubisoft Towers” are gone, with the world opened up by exploring, talking to people and discovering things on your own devices as well — with opportunities for fishing and hunting to gain crafting materials making a return.
The E3 demo tasked the player with liberating a town from the Edens Gate cult, with the aid of a pilot, a sniper or a dog as their companion.
You can go in firing and light the town up, or you can take the stealth approach — so in true Far Cry style I went loud, unloading 5.56mm rounds into everything with a cult symbol on it, blowing up petrol tankers, lobbing dynamite and having a lot of fun in the process.
Having liberated the town, a chat to the bartender directed me to an airstrip where the proprietor enlisted my help to blow up some cultist stores of ammonium nitrate. Taking to the skies in a light aeroplane armed with aftermarket weapons, I was able to soar over Hope County strafing cultists, launching rockets at things and even ended up in a dogfight with one of the cultist aircraft.
While only a snippet of the game, it certainly felt like a true Far Cry game with all the elements fans know and love — including some new additions, some tweaks, and as always, spectacular graphics.
Royce Wilson travelled to E3 as a guest of Ubisoft