I’ll throw my two cents in here. I am absolutely part of the “Turn off your brain and enjoy” camp when it comes to my entertainment. Not all pieces of media need to be this, but I prefer my “stuff I turn my brain on and get concerned about” to be written, spoken and face to face. Stuff I use to decompress from this tend to be games, movies and music.
Is there room in movies and music for political and/or social statements and takes? Absolutely. Are we in a place now where games can and should be able to be that too? Yes, absolutely. But since I grew up in an era where games were not such things, I prefer to live in a world where I have the option to have games that allow for pure ‘turn your brain off’ escapism.
For me, Far Cry, the series, has never stuck out as one trying to make this big political statement. Ever since Far Cry 5 was announced it felt like it just happen to have picked topics meant to be ‘fun and non-political’ that turned out to be. Honestly I feel the same way about Wolfenstein last year. I do not believe that when they sat down to develop that game they thought “Nazi’s are bad” was going to be anything but an excuse to give the player a reason to shoot the bad-guys. Not a relevant and real-world message that clearly brought up on-going political issues. The fact that it ended up being such was to me part marketing ploy/success on the part of the developers, and a welcome expression of my personal political believe re-affirmed in the wake of a world that seemed to be rejecting it.
I get that given the age we live in then, a lot of people might have seen the initial announcement of Far Cry 5 and decided "Oh this is absolutely going to scratch my need to re-affirm how I feel about “Trump’s America”. But, to me, it was never going to be that. It was going to be ‘have your cake and eat it too’ at best. I never expected Ubisoft to go “Yah, lets take a strong political stance against a 1/3rd of the american audience.”
Nor, and this might be divisive, do I think they should have too. Two main reasons on this. First, I don’t think there is a moral imperative that Ubisoft strike an extremely progressive tone/message with their games, or else be criticized for not going far enough. I think the luke-warm level they likely are going to give us is perfectly fine from a developer like them. Not that game developers can’t take strong political stances, just that “I believe in this” does not mean “all game developers should strongly push the messages I believe to be right”
Second and maybe most importantly…I’m not even sure I want an Ubisoft trying to stick its head into the political arena. In the same vein of being quasi uncomfortable with the sudden Corporate praise (I am proud to fly delta!) that’s come up recently. Do I really want to start expecting the big gaming companies to be the ones who get to deliver the defining message about my political views to the public writ-large?
In my head, its way better to let Far Cry 5 be a game first, a political message platform a distant 2nd and be done with it. The series can say some things without having to say all of them, and frankly I think there are better venues…even just keeping to the gaming sphere specifically, for people to explore and make political statements then what is meant to be a major publishers big release for 2018…