I’d already heard about Far Cry 6 before a pre-briefing ahead of Ubisoft Forward; after all, Breaking Bad actor Giancarlo Esposito let it slip far before any appointment I’d managed to book. As Ubisoft PR prepared me for a look at an “unannounced game”, I chucked and said, “I’ll bet you this is Far Cr–”
I stopped talking because what I was being shown demanded it. Rather than a traditional Ubisoft logo and some trees that morphed into neon swishes or whatever, what was before me looked more like an opening to a television show. Designed by Antibody’s Patrick Clair, the man behind the openings to such shows as True Detective, the screen was alright with spectacle. Stylised sequences showing violence, a world aflame, shots of whisky, lit cigars and blood pumping through a vein were accompanied by simple title cards announcing cast and crew.
Esposito’s name hung on screen. Of course this was Far Cry 6, but it could have been mistaken for the next big AAA Netflix bingeworthy spectacle. Already, Far Cry looked like it had evolved.
Navid Khavari, Narrative Director on Far Cry 6 says it has, explaning the decision to present Far Cry 6 and its story arc differently than we’ve seen the franchise do before.
“Right from the beginning, when you tap into the idea of creating a sort of modern guerrilla revolution and then tap into the idea of creating a country with a capital city for the first time in a Far Cry, we really wanted to take the narrative to the next level with that,” he said. “And also look at it in terms of if we’re creating a country and we’re creating a revolution, that also means a few things.
“There’s all sorts of different groups that are jostling for power and that became really interesting to us just as you would look at a Netflix series, or seasons of a Netflix series. We wanted to approach the story in the same way of there’s these multiple groups and you can experience their stories as you please. There’s this complex group of revolutionaries and guerrillas with their own different worldviews of how to save the country — couple that with sort of this Goliath in Anton, who you’re going to get a window into the psyche of, [and] it became really, really exciting for us to explore.”
The addition of an urban environment — a capital city — is something we’ve never seen before either, part of the larger, fictional island of Yara. Esperanza is the city’s name and it serves as much as a new way to play Far Cry as it does the stronghold of Esposito’s character, Anton ‘El Presidente’ Castillo.
“I think when you build a country, you got to have a capital city,” Khavari told Stevivor. “On the narrative side, it kind of fulfils the need of a guerilla revolution where you’re going to have the guerrillas in the farmlands, in the jungles, in the mountains, but also have this city that sort of represents the lion’s den, the core of Anton’s power.
“When you walk into that city, you get to experience and feel Anton’s oppression with both propaganda and the scope of the capitol building and that kind of thing. The verticality that you have in a capital city, in an urban setting, really changes how you play and it’s very new to the Far Cry experience.”
Castillo’s character is rich with complexity, a tyrannical leader who enslaves his people but believes the ends justify the means. He wants to ‘Make Yara Great Again’ — my words, not his — but they certainly fit. His ultimate goal is to restore the country to what he believes to be its most prosperous time: 50 years ago, under the control of Anton’s own father. At the same time Anton is killing citizens in the streets, he tries to teach his son Diego that it’s all necessary. The people of Yara will never see Diego, their future leader, as anything but a monster; they can never really experience happiness. Anton tells his son that it’s better to understand that and rule over them accordingly, though Diego doesn’t seem convinced.
“Anton Castillo… was born in the seat of power,” Khavari explained. “His father, 50 years ago ruled the country and then was executed by revolutionaries. [He] has grown up with this twisted worldview and is actually elected to power and once elected turns the island into essentially a slave state. When it came to building an antagonist like Anton, we came at it from a point of our players are really looking for sort of a modern mature antagonist.
“When we were looking at Anton, it was really about not only is this guy in charge of a country. He’s also a father.”
Your character, Dani Rojas, can be played as a male or female lead (that’s him on the left above and her below). In a change from past entries, Dani isn’t a foreigner to a strange remote country, or even someone who’s returning back to their homeland after a long period away. Dani’s born and raised in Yara, and truthfully isn’t sure they want to join the revolution.
“The idea of revolution itself from the idea of a guerrilla movement,” Khavari said of Dani and their backstory. “Right from the beginning, we wanted our players to [have] a personal investment in that guerilla movement. [For that,] you need to be born and raised in the country that it begins in. It became incredibly important for us to have Dani be a local.
“Dani is a character that grew up in the capital city of Esperanza, is a military dropout and wasn’t necessarily looking to be part of the revolution or joining the libertad [“freedom”] movement, but gets swept up in this guerrilla revolution,” he continued. “When you’re looking at the dynamics of a revolution — to really get into a character that feels they had been pushed so far that they need to pick up a gun and fight — it became almost by necessity that the character was born and raised in Yara.”
Ubisoft will certainly have more to share about Far Cry 6 in the lead up to its February 2021 launch, including more information on Amigos, its version of Fangs for Hire. Already, we know one such Amigo: Chorizo the sausage dog, whom Khavari says will “kill… ’em with kindness.”
Far Cry 6 heads to Windows PC via Uplay & Epic Games Store, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and Stadia where available on 18 February 2021.