Far Cry 5 came in hot with its initial reveal, trumpeting that it would take place in the heart of America rather than in some distant, fictional country. Moreover, it would involve a cult that many gamers immediately classified as ‘alt-right’, causing even more controversy.
Months after we’ve all had a chance to get comfortable with the idea of a game involving cults and guerrilla tactics, new bouts of gun violence in the United States of America lead me to ask Executive Producer Dan Hay how the ever-heated, ever-changing US political climate has impacted his game.
Specifically, I asked Hay how he would have reacted if footage from Far Cry 5 made it into the recent White House video compilation that highlighted video game violence.
“I don’t know how to answer that,” Hay admitted. “I get asked a lot of questions about the current administration. I get asked a lot of questions about things that happen day-to-day, and there’s been a tonne of them over the last year-and-a-half.
“I still come back to that idea that our game, and the ideas behind it, were brought about three years ago. And it’s just strange and weird that now when I go out for a coffee or I go out to have a beer or whatever that people in the world are trying to talk to me about themes in our game without talking about our game. That’s just weird.”
Amidst all the chaos, Hay and his team know exactly where to place their focus.
“First and foremost, we know that we’re building something that’s a game,” he continued. “We know that we’re building something that’s a piece of entertainment, and that’s part of the reason why we actually went with a cult because we knew that it could be something that could be ours, and that we could own.”
Hay confessed he didn’t realise how topical Far Cry 5 would become.
“It is strange to see the world unfolding the way that it is when three years ago, I pitched this game and nobody believed that it was plausible or possible, and then now it feels very topical,” he said. “But I think, we really did focus on a meta objective, or a meta tone to the game and I think if you chase everything that’s going on in the world right now, week to week, the world is moving so fast that it’s impossible to keep up.
“And so at the meta level, I think what we really focused on three years ago was just simply this idea, that Joseph Seed felt like the world was on the brink, on the edge, and that humanity wouldn’t have the maturity to be able to pull back, wouldn’t to be able to know that this was the last time this could happen. And that made us build a character that actually believes that he’s saving the world, that he’s not the bad guy. And I think that we stayed true to that.
“But as people get their hands on the game, it echoes and resonates based off the world we have, but people have the wherewithal and the maturity to be able to tell that it is a work of fiction.”
Our maturity will be tested next week; Far Cry 5 heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 on 27 March.
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