Far Cry 5 has been formally revealed, and it has a release date: Feb. 27, 2018. The date is honestly not all that shocking, Ubisoft seems to enjoy that mid/late winter launch window. Also unsurprising is that it is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Project Scorpio.
What did catch us all by surprise was the setting. It takes place in modern day America, a first for the series, and in Montana of all places.
If you’re not American, you’ve probably never thought about the USA’s 41st state once in your entire life. Hell, most Americans could be forgiven for forgetting Montana, the 4th biggest state in total area, even exists, and that’s what makes it so intriguing. Even in 2017, it’s a huge hunk of land, mostly wilderness, that remains a total mystery to most Americans.
It’s secluded, beautiful, and full of wild untamed land, which makes it an ideal setting for a Far Cry game. It’s also something that creative director and executive producer of Far Cry 5, Dan Hay, clearly picked up on. Not only does it make sense from a visual/aesthetic standpoint, it’s a perfect place for telling a story too.
What’s interesting is that Hay didn’t believe that Far Cry 5’s story of a modern day cult seizing an entire county full of people was a tale that could be taken seriously ten, or even five years ago.
“A couple of years ago, when we were thinking about taking [Far Cry] to the states, it wasn’t necessarily believable in that time, some of the stuff that we were talking about. Right now, when we look at today, I have very little difficulty kind of seeing this as existing in this universe.” said Hay about Far Cry 5’s premise.
While chatting with Twinfinite, Hay spoke about how Far Cry 5 is a game that is relevant for the time right now; that it’s a product of what’s been happening and has happened in our world. The chaos and uncertainty that unfolded after the subprime mortgage crisis punctuated by an international political climate that has become increasingly unstable.
Hay, who grew up during the Cold War, opened up about how for the first time since he was a child during that era, he’s getting the feeling that things in the world are trending towards not okay. And that feeling of things not appearing to be okay, people feeling like they are teetering at the edge of calamity, is what fueled the idea behind Far Cry 5’s story and setting.
He told us a story about how he was in downtown Toronto, and saw a man carrying a sign that warned about how the end is coming. “For the first time in my life, I looked at that guy and went, he’s not crazy,” said Hay about the man with the sign. “It was super weird, to look at him, because we are programmed to look at people who declare things like that and go ‘uh no’ and I looked at him I went ‘Hm, maybe.’ And then I realized, wait a minute, that’s a commentary for me, a commentary on now.”
So in Far Cry 5, many of the characters live in Hope County because they feel safety in the freedoms that Montana provides. Specifically, Hay mentioned the freedoms to carry their firearms, and pursue their faith without being messed with. They are scared, and their religion and guns provide comfort for them. Unfortunately, people that are terrified of what is coming next are prime targets for cult people like the Project at Eden’s Gate to take advantage of.
All of this: the seclusion of the setting, the wilderness, the pressure the characters are under, the cult swooping in and taking over, the fact that everyone is armed to the teeth; all of it intersects to create a game that is not only unique, believable, and something we haven’t really seen before, but it’s also capable of providing all the ingredients of a Far Cry game that is recognizable from a gameplay perspective.
So when I asked Hay about how exactly Far Cry 5’s unique theme, and setting, would impact and change the gameplay fans have grown accustomed to, he was able to give us some details on what to expect. “The questions that people are asking is, is there still hunting? Are there still animals? Is there all that good stuff? What you know and love about Far Cry is there but we also give you choice. We give you the opportunity to go the direction that you want to go. Meet people you want to meet in the order that you want to meet them in, all through your own story. And then, you can take some of them with you. You can start to build this group that’s following you and you can attack the game in the way you want to attack it.”
Indeed, Hay is talking about the Guns for Hire at the end there, allies that can be recruited throughout the game. He spoke about how Nick Rye, for example, has a plane that can be called upon to drop bombs on enemies when you’re in a pinch. Animals can also be recruited and according to Ubisoft, animal companions will be specialized to fit whatever play style the player chooses, like Hay mentioned above.
We still have a lot to learn about Far Cry 5. What we learned today is probably just the tip of the iceberg. However, the picture got a little clearer and it’s looking like it’s both something familiar, and something new.