'Far Cry 5' Is About Living Under Fear in America

The game will put the player up against a Montana based cult and militia that has plenty of real world analogues.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/far-cry-5-is-about-living-under-fear-in-america


The section about, “But I do not remember a time before the pressure.” I am extremely curious how that comes through in the game itself (let alone when I expect a very similar presentation as this recounts is given live on stage at E3 - presumably they have a short gameplay section for the Ubi conference and a big bit more, possibly showing off co-op, for Sony as that’s who is paying for a co-marketing deal on this).

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Yeah, there’s a definite sense that the devs find this to be “trendy” material. The Resistance videos gave me more faith (no pun intended) in the way they’ll handle this than the key art did.

But I’m also curious how far back the history of FC5’s Montana goes. Like, even the good guys in this game call it a “God-given” land, rather than a “European-stolen” land. Expecting any acknowledgement of that?


Impressions on the game aside, this is some of my favorite writing Austin’s ever done.


People that are part of these extremist militias with religious bents generally care far more about their skewed religious interpretations supporting their cause. They’d only care to acknowledge past colonial activity if it supported the narrative that that land is their land.

I grew up in Wyoming, and I’m more than aware of the colonial history of the territory and state. But it’s also true that the people of western states like Montana and Wyoming are far more than the history that the states were built on. Far Cry 5 should tell the best story it can in the context of its setting and characters. If that means referencing colonial history or acknowledging real-life militias like the Montana Freemen, then I hope they do. But some Montanans are just people that happen to live in Montana and have no explicit ties to centuries-old colonial past.


It does sound a bit like the game thinks of this cult as something that just sort of happened—struck, like a natural disaster—rather than having deep connections to the recent (and not-so-recent) history of Montana. I feel, though, like I hear a glint of mythologizing in those monologues. I’ll be really impressed if the game manages to get at how people’s personal understanding of the history (their story and Montana’s) creates the space for these groups.

The sound editing on those resistance videos is absolutely top-notch, by-the-by. I thought the Mary May one was a pre-roll ad at first!


Yes, I don’t know what I’m looking forward to more: the game’s release or Austin’s analysis of it.

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This seems like an unprecedented premise in video games: an action game that treats contemporary rural America as the subject for its sensationalism and exoticism. Have there been previous examples?

We have seen America used as the backdrop for invasion narratives (Homefront), critical deconstructions of American militarism set in foreign lands (Spec Ops: The Line), America as exotic adventure setting through a fantasy/sci-fi lens (Fallouts), or historical lens (Red Deads), urban settings (GTAs and Watchdogs).

Is there a precedent for contemporary rural America as backdrop for adventure where Americans are the villains? All I can think of is Redneck Rampage.

Probably Outlast 2 ?

When I saw that guy being chased by a bear in the trailer, I immediately jumped to thinking “oh yes, still one of those games.” I didn’t get super deep into FC4, but I flashbacked to being endlessly pestered by eagles. Mechanical annoyances like that left a stronger impression on me than FC4’s narrative.

I think the premise here look’s pretty promising. Still, I have my doubts about something as big and, frankly, kind of bloated as modern Far Cry can pull it off. If nothing else, I worry about an embarrassment of open-world riches undermining the intriguing tone. How Ubisoft is this game going to be? I don’t think tripping over enemy encounters and collectibles will serve their desired tone of “pressure” very well. Surely that desire for “pressure” would be better served by some sparsity? So yeah, I hope they cut down on some of the open-world set pieces and focus on the narrative, but we’ll see.

I got some serious chills reading through the piece, but especially this passage


This bit echoed my own thoughts when I heard the (great) news that you can customize the protagonist

I am curious, to say the least, to see how (or if) the game’s skin color and gender choice is taken into account

I really hope that is taken into account, even if its small, like barks and incidental dialogue change. I can’t think of any game with character customization that takes into account the player’s choices there though, in general the world seems to default to responding to the player as a white man (since most of the writers probably were).

Still, this sounds like a step forward for the series, and I’m interested in this game in a way I did not expect to be. Hope it isn’t another ubisoft open world template game though. I didn’t play watchdogs 2 but from what Austin said it sounds like they may have started to move away from that.

The trailer is sort of in the style of a Rockstar open-world game in that it is a lot of shots of NPCs going about their daily activities to build atmosphere more than narrative. But the interesting thing is that Farcry games don’t usually have passive NPCs. Traditionally NPCs you stumble across in a Far Cry open world are immediately hostile to you or in the last couple games you’ve had the allies who come in to defend a camp once you’ve taken it but I can’t really think of neutral NPCs.

Usually the friendly NPCs are behind a door for a cutscene or in small non-combat area not out in the open world so I’m curious to see if this means they are pushing more for neutral NPCs in the world or if that fisherman is going to attack once I get near.

I don’t have a strong history with the Far Cry games, but this game has got me sitting up and interested. If nothing else, it’s something fresh and interesting for the developers to take on which, given that I remember all the criticism of Far Cry 4 as sticking too close to its predecessor, is positive. Whether or not it will deliver on its promises is up in the air, of course. But the idea that a series like Far Cry, which, in my mind, is synonymous with adventures outside of the West, would turn around to look at problems ‘at home’? It’s a big and interesting one.

Even if it doesn’t end up being all I want it to be, I can’t wait to read more about it.


Ooh, the archetypal Black preacher is a Catholic priest; usually that trope swings Protestant. I know the Catholic experience varies wildly from culture to culture and the Black Catholic experience is not my own but the Jerome Jeffries trailer was relatable to an extent and definitely got me more interested in this game and how it will portray Catholicism and its presence in, I’m going make a dangerously unresearched guess here, a predominantly Protestant region.

Will Far Cry 5 focus on the cult hating him because he’s black or Catholic? Better storytellers would be able to hit both but this is Ubisoft we’re talking about. They’ve already bitten off more than they can chew. I doubt they’ll manage to nail either. I was about to say Ubisoft would know Catholicism but them being a “multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs” means I certainly shouldn’t assume it’s just French Catholics making this.

Is Mary May played by Ashly Burch? It sounds like her.

After reading the article, I just want to echo the sentiment that I am way more excited for Austin to (hopefully) continue covering the game than I am to actually play it. He said everything I’ve been wanting to say, but better and with a more generous perspective.

I struggle to find the right words to describe how I feel here, but I think it’s mostly frustration. I don’t even know how much of it is Far Cry 5 itself. I think I’m just maybe done with the genre of “make scary strawmen of real-life cultures/groups, then inflict gun violence on them, but it’s ok because they totally want to murder you”. It feels like they took all the complaints of tone-deafness from every Far Cry so far and had a big board meeting that started with some dude going “well shit. what group of people can we let the player murder that won’t make The Internet mad at us???” when like. maybe the problem is the initial proposition in the first place? If you really give a dang about addressing the violent tensions of america, just maybe Gun Murder Game isn’t the place now any more than it was the place for the confused politics of the last 4 in the series.

But I mean hey. I’m really cynical about this kind of thing, and I also just sat through Outlast 2, so my patience for “oh no I just found out poor people exist and i’m TERRIFIED” writing is at an all time low.


What bugs me is that people keep referencing the Bundys when Montana has plenty of its own home-grown militias that broke some crazy ground with their counterfeiting and liens against government officials during the previous Democratic administration of Clinton. It’s not a recent development, as Posse Comitatus groups have been around since the Civil Rights Act, you guys are making me feel old.

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As some others have said, I also don’t have any history with Far Cry, but I’m really interested to see how they depict the region and tell this story. The history of patriot movements, cults, states rights and anti-federal organizations in the west has a huge amount of storytelling potential. I don’t know how they make a game out of that, but I’m intrigued to see it, and would like it to open up introspection in a sort of meta way about our expectations of how games depict exotic lands and people. Turning the tables is gonna be something to see.

On the topic in general, I strongly recommend Dave Niewert, who has been writing about right wing violence and extremism in the pacific northwest for many years: his blog orcinus is a good starting point for his writing.