There wasn’t much happening Friday the 26th except some kind of Far Cry 5 reveal, so I’ll see if I can summon up some words about it.
From what I can tell, Far Cry 5 is going to be essentially the same gameplay as Far Cry 2, 3, 4, and Primal, except it will be set in America with a Christian cult as the bad guys, and of course, that’s where the controversy begins.
The controversy seems to be the only reason anyone is talking about this game, though. And actually I’m only assuming there is a controversy, because I’ve read repeated headlines which have told me something to the effect of, “You won’t believe how much controversy Far Cry 5 is stirring up! Click here to find out!” (I haven’t clicked on any of them.)
I admit, though, that I personally have not seen anyone in my circles arguing over this game, which makes me wonder if the “controversy” is made up out of thin air just to sell more games. (It’s probably just that I’ve successfully curated my social circles to exclude the kind of people who would get upset over this kind of thing.)
Late-breaking news: I saw someone retweeted a Change.org petition to cancel Far Cry 5. It’s probably legit, but would I be surprised to find out that Ubisoft PR was behind that? Nope. We live in a time when it’s incredibly easy to social engineer people.
[Note: I tried to look at said petition Tuesday night, but Change.org was down. Did somebody DDOS the petition to death? I think the petition is silly, but I think trying to DDOS away unpopular viewpoints is worse.]
I watched the reveal trailer. I’m guessing Ubisoft has taken the Branch Davidians–David Koresh’s heavily-armed Adventist sect from Waco, Texas–lifted them out of the headlines of 1994, and put them into Montana under a different name. Supposedly we’ll be playing a character trying to “infiltrate” this sect, and there will be local residents which form a sort of resistance to the sect, who will fight by our side.
What do I think? The short version is I find it a bit unrealistic as a setting (I’ll explain that later), but I’m willing to give it a shot. I doubt if I’ll buy it on day one, though. Far Cry is an easy series to wait for. Once you’ve seen one Far Cry game, you’ve basically seen them all.
As an American, what do I think of making Americans the bad guys? It doesn’t bother me in a broad sense, since I’m well aware of the extreme diversity in cultural opinions across these United States. But I don’t particularly enjoy the prospect of being lumped into the same category as a bunch of zealots. It should be really obvious that folks of the Branch Davidian ilk do not represent mainstream America in the slightest. (Even mainstream right-wing America.) But I suppose it depends on how the game handles it.
I mentioned that I thought the Far Cry formula was “unrealistic” in an American setting. That’s because, if we go by previous Far Cry games, the bad guys have always taken over the section of the country in which they reside, essentially replacing or becoming the government. They allude to that in Far Cry 5, too, since your character will be meeting part of a “resistance” fighting against this cult militia. It appears that this cult has taken over the entirety of “Hope County.”
That formula works if your setting is in the Third World–in a lawless country where whoever is in power is the one with the biggest guns. But that does not work for me in an American setting, certainly not in a post-9/11 setting. Here’s a hint: The U.S. Government always has the bigger guns. Not to get too political here, but we live in a near police state these days, at least when compared to our past.
So I’ll be curious to seehow they’re going to spin this story in a way where it makes logical sense for a (presumably) criminal militia to control part of Montana.
Montana is a huge, remote wilderness, but they still have laws and law enforcement there. The only thing that a militia could actually control–anywhere in the U.S.–is their own “compound” (ie. private property). But the idea that there might be a “resistance” on said private property, or that the militia’s influence extends beyond the borders of said private property to a whole county–that’s very unrealistic. If there were armed militia gangs roaming the streets of Montana in the way that they tend to do in Far Cry games, I imagine the Feds would get involved pretty fast.