With a teaser trailer and images released recently, it is confirmed that Ubisofts’ latest edition of the wilderness kill-a-thon franchise Far Cry will be taking place in near-present day rural Montana. While this setting, and what seems to be the theocratic separatist antagonists that will compromise the ‘angry locals’ cannon fodder synonymous with the franchise, I am predicting the game will attract backlash as it will inevitably deal with what American cultural attitudes often struggle with; introspective criticism.

Full disclosure, I have an outsiders perspective on American culture, so my opinion is mostly informed by external projections of US identity and ideology in media or politics. However, even a casual observer can notice the continued prevalence of American exceptionalism as a key aspect of discussion regarding the social climate of the United States. This perception of superiority and belief in the abstract ‘betterness’ of American political culture is what informs a somewhat widespread idea that Americans are convinced their nation is special compared to the countries of the world. It is often coupled with an unwillingness to acknowledge or contort historical events to avoid the acknowledgment of atrocities or conflicts instigated to benefit the US at the expense of other nations or groups. Debates that are currently raging over the causes of the American Civil War, the legacy of slavery, and racial segregation can all be interpreted as an unwillingness by many Americans to confront national events that contradict the so-called ‘classic’ U.S. values of liberty, egalitarianism, and individualism. What is often the cause of friction is the refusal to acknowledge that it is not only the struggle to extend and promote these founding values that forms parts of US history, but also how these values can be twisted to promote more insidious and exclusionary practices.

Far Cry Hope County Montana

Which brings us to Hope County, Montana, the fictional setting for Far Cry 5. From the limited material released it seems that the main antagonist group is most likely theocratic and separatist. They likely run their own area outside of the reach of government law enforcement or potentially with their collusion at the local level. While this idea of despotic regimes is not new among the Far Cry franchise, it will be the first time the structure has been placed directly into the beating heart of the continental United States. This time, an American audience will not be indulging in the typical ‘liberate the foreign land from tyranny’ story arc. Rather, they will be confronting the embodiment of some of the issues that exist within the more extreme parts of U.S. society. I am predicting this will attract criticism from many as it will expose them to distasteful aspects of their own culture rather than an external or foreign environment that they may have no prior knowledge of or attachment to. It is with this in mind that it perhaps makes sense that so few games take place within the U.S. or feature criticism of its population or politics. It risks alienating too big of an audience despite any potential cultural payoff. At the time of writing, I struggle to think of a game that takes place within the U.S. that directly uses elements of its founding principles as inspiration for motivations of the primary enemy class, with perhaps the exception of Bioshock: Infinite.

All of this is perhaps what makes Ubisofts’ choice of setting for Far Cry 5 so surprising, it will ultimately use core American values as motivation for what will be considered the enemy of the piece. However, if done well it could provide much needed reflection on U.S. culture that often goes unaddressed in the gaming market. Like it or not, religious extremism, separatism, and  hostility to government are all characteristics of groups and ideologies that exist in the modern United States. Often times products of these core founding values are not immune to sinister or violent interpretation. To acknowledge that these exist may not make economic sense to sell a product, but it provides valuable reflection on a topic that many would like to keep suppressed.

More information of Far Cry 5 can be found here

2 COMMENTS

  1. First up again…,, well, well. The hero will be African American in this game , no doubt. Maybe Native American but my money is on Black. This game will sell to the many gangsters who would love to Capp a white boy, especially one dawning the confederate flag. It will also sell to all us white boys as well who could care less who we are killing, we just want to see blood, a lot of blood. This game just couldn’t be any other way. Have a white man killing coloured folks would start a mass BLM riot on the steps of Ubisoft and snowflakes crying boycott!!! Boycott!!! Also, Maxine Waters would be shouting “Collusion!!! Ubisoft and Trump designed the game together to further bring down the black man “!! It’s funny that not one article I’ve read about this game has anything to do with the actual game, just the colours of the folks inside it. I don’t care what colour you are….. I just want to see what the inside of your skull looks like!! Stop looking to deep into things that are meant for entertainment. Enjoy it or go back to your play dough and Angry Birds. No one is oppressed these days because of their skin colour. It’s the actions of an individual that’s defines his or her future. I’m white and only have 1 arm. They call me half-a-honkey around my parts. I could care less. See you in Far cry 5 for a bullet sandwich Aholes!!!

  2. Maybe if they weren’t associating Christianity with murdering backwater nuts then the controversy wouldn’t be too great. You’re walking on egg shells that you set up yourself Ubisoft. It’s your own doing. Hopefully it’s not what many are thinking, you trying to mock Christians and Christianity.

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