Yes, Far Cry 6 will be political, but not in a way that makes a statement about the real world for some reason. That’s the message that came down from Ubisoft this past week. They want that cake, but they also want the cake to be nondescript and edible.
The open letter from Navid Khavari, the game’s narrative director, is below in its entirety.
Our story is political.
A story about a modern revolution must be. There are hard, relevant discussions in Far Cry 6 about the conditions that lead to the rise of fascism in a nation, the costs of imperialism, forced labor, the need for free-and-fair elections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more within the context of Yara, a fictional island in the Caribbean. My goal was to empower our team to be fearless in the story we were telling, and we worked incredibly hard to do this over the last five years. We also tried to be very careful about how we approached our inspirations, which include Cuba, but also other countries around the world that have experienced political revolutions in their histories.
In our approach we made sure to seek creators and collaborators for our team who can speak personally to the history and cultures of the regions we were inspired by. We also brought on experts and consultants to examine the game story multiple times over the course of the project to make sure it was being told with sensitivity. It is not for me to decide if we succeeded, but I can say we absolutely tried.
The conversations and research done on the perspectives of those who fought revolutions in the late 1950s, early 1960s, and beyond are absolutely reflected in our story and characters. But if anyone is seeking a simplified, binary political statement specifically on the current political climate in Cuba, they won’t find it. I am from a family that has endured the consequences of revolution. I have debated revolution over the dinner table my entire life. I can only speak for myself, but it is a complex subject that should never be boiled down to one quote.
What players will find is a story that’s point-of-view attempts to capture the political complexity of a modern, present-day revolution within a fictional context. We have attempted to tell a story with action, adventure, and heart, but that also isn’t afraid to ask hard questions. Far Cry is a brand that in its DNA seeks to have mature, complex themes balanced with levity and humor. One doesn’t exist without the other, and we have attempted to achieve this balance with care. My only hope is that we are willing to let the story speak for itself first before forming hard opinions on its political reflections.
Thank you for reading.
Narrative Director, Far Cry 6
This reminds me of the weird about Far Cry 5. Remember when gaming journos were confused that the game wasn’t a MAGA murder simulator and people outside of their bubble had different political beliefs than them? Some people strived to make universal social and political struggles hyper-focused on this one small period in American history.
What did we get out of that game? A nut who used broken people and drug addicts to take over a town just in time for a nuclear holocaust. Boy, many people were pissed that it wasn’t Orange Man Bad: The Video Game.
The narrative director can go on and on about what Far Cry 6 is and isn’t going to be about, but the proof will be in the final product. If you want to ask difficult questions and possibly give an answer, then do just that. However, don’t expect anything with teeth.
Don’t tell me that you want your team to be fearless while shying away from the inspiration of your game’s plot. Embrace it. Make a statement even if some people don’t agree with it. Not everything has to be morally vague.
Can all the topics he lists at the start be handled well in an FPS? Probably. Do I trust Ubisoft to handle them with tact and a competent script? Not really. I’ve been let down by Ubisoft in multiple aspects, whether technical bugs (like losing 8 hours of gameplay in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla due to a still unfixed problem) or boring narratives (like Far Cry Primal).
If you need a laugh at how out of touch some people are when it comes to anything that isn’t drenched in Coastal Elitism, check out the hilariously ratio’d video from GameSpot.
What do you think about political topics in your entertainment? Has the hyper-politicized landscape we live in killed escapism? Should companies like Ubisoft even be making any statement in their product? Let us know in the comments.
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