Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 has definitely hit a sore spot on its audience as it tackles a controversial setting in America. However, early marketing materials and initial reactions have made the title seem far more controversial than what it is.
Far Cry 5’s Reveal Hits a Controversial Topic
Last week, Ubisoft revealed the first Far Cry 5 trailer. It showed an armed religious cult ravaging an American countryside. Fans were excited not because the game looked good, but because of its controversial content. Religion and fanaticism are definitely sensitive topics to tackle and Far Cry 5’s villains seem to make it their main concept.
Strong Settings, Lacking Execution
Ubisoft has always introduced a strong story setting in their games, though they often fall short on execution. The Assassin’s Creed series have a wealth of great historical settings like the American and French Revolution. Meanwhile, the Far Cry series was successful in immersing players in remote locations with great tourist spot-like areas that hide a grim social situation beneath.
Overall, these games have an interesting setting but Ubisoft always fell short on getting controversial with its topics. The historical events in Assassin’s Creed games often served as a backdrop for the main character’s own agendas and barely dabbled heavily on history. These games could be passed off as potential controversies yet they manage to be inoffensive and neutral. The games had potential for exploring controversial stories but rarely seized the opportunity for it.
Far Cry History
According to Downward Thrust’s video, Far Cry 3 allowed the series to be a household name just because of its villain, Vaas Montenegro. Vaas had notable dialogue towards the player and his charismatic insanity allowed him to be memorable. Since Ubisoft’s success with that concept, this type of memorable villain could be seen in Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min. Min is presented as a menacing leader of a private army, but is weirdly civilized and cultured when interacting with the game’s protagonist.
Ubisoft Montreal executive producer Dan Hay said in an interview with Glixel that Far Cry 5 aims to have grounded characters who are similar to Vaas. Ubisoft definitely plans to make Far Cry 5’s villain and his religious fanaticism become relatable to plant a lingering thought. While interesting on paper, fans already saw this type of character from the series twice. Ubisoft won’t be able to deliver a strongly controversial thought as the series has become formulaic.
Good Controversial Example
Back in 2009, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian” mission caused a stir in the gaming media and on the national news. In the mission, the player takes control of an undercover CIA agent who joins the main villain’s group to tail him on his operations. However, the main villain one-ups the CIA as he uses the undercover agent’s corpse to frame them and provoke Russia to declare war on America. More than the story, the player is pit into shooting a crowd of unarmed civilians.
We’ll have to see if Far Cry 5 has gameplay events in similar effect where players take part or witness these unsettling violence. Usually, the Far Cry series places the main character against these villains instead of joining them in their plans.
Additionally, Far Cry 5’s plot will feel too generic if it’s a group of characters aiming to shut down another evil extremist organization. Far Cry 5’s controversy is too superficial since the enemies are already labelled as a cult. The title was also revealed during a heavy political strife in North America, which stems from hints of racism and hate. For now, we’ll have to wait on Far Cry 5’s release on February 27 if it’s as controversial as what people believe.