When I first learned that Far Cry 5 would be set in Montana, I thought it was a joke. Why set the latest game in the series, which was known for its far-off locales (hence the series moniker), in familiar territory? For most people, Montana doesn’t seem to fit the criteria of what a Far Cry setting should be, but as executive producer Dan Hay told me more about the game, the northern state--specifically the area of Hope County--started to make more sense for a location fitting for the game. Its local inhabitants are tight-knit and don’t take kindly to outsiders meddling in their affairs to the point where any unwanted intrusion could mean death.
According to Hay, the reason behind the choice of Montana for Far Cry 5 was due to current events, and the looming fear of the end of the world. Hay also said that people now think in an “us versus them” mentality, and some of the people in Montana displayed that mentality, but it also suggested that there were some ulterior motives.
“The way I look at Far Cry...is that it’s the urban legend,” he said. “When you build a Far Cry it needs to be the real world but subtly twisted. When you think of picking up the challenge of taking it to America and then taking it to a place that's a frontier where people still want to be left alone and they don't want to have the confinements of government, we started to listen to the language of that. We started to think ‘Where do these Far Cry... characters live?’ And when we landed on Montana it just felt right, it just felt like the people we were talking to were normal and interesting but something underneath was a bit off, and so it just felt like Far Cry.”
Hope County’s ruling group is a cult called the "Project at Eden’s Gate," and it’s led by four individuals: Joseph, Jacob, John, and Faith. Joseph takes the role of the main leader, or in this case, the Father, and he attracts hundreds of followers. Their ultimate goal is unknown, but Joseph believes that God is testing them for a catastrophic event.
Throughout the game, the cult’s followers are in the midst of the “Reaping,” where they have to find other people that need “saving.” In order to combat the cult, you’ll need to have a fighting force of your own. Fortunately, there are some in the town who are trying to do the same thing. Together, you’ll form a resistance that has a fighting chance of taking Hope County back from the brink of destruction. This includes Pastor Jerome, a rifle-wielding priest; Mary May, the local bartender and demolitions expert; and Nick Rye, a crop duster who specializes in making custom weapons.
As is the case with other Far Cry games, you’ll be able to roam around Hope County, which has acres of farmland, expansive plains, and dense forests. The short gameplay trailer we saw at the end of the meeting featured early gameplay footage. As you make your way around the county, you can use a fleet of vehicles that include cars, tractors, and semis. You can even fly around in a plane. Another portion of the video showed off combat. In some situations, you can hire allies for additional help. The feature also extends to a few animals, such as dogs or bears.
Up until the gameplay trailer, I was enthralled by the setting and its characters. The Montana backdrop, combined with the cult group, reminded me heavily of the first season of True Detective, which lured me in and kept me hooked until the last episode. However, that gameplay footage brought me back to reality in that the Far Cry games, as serious as the story might be, eventually turn into chaotic fun. At some point in the game, you completely forget about the story and instead focus on taking another base or shooting a target without any care as to how it progresses the overall plot. I asked Hay how the team expects to balance the dark story with traditional gameplay mechanics, and he answered by comparing the experience to music.
“I want to make sure we have notes. Key notes. Then as you move through the game, you learn different things and meet different people. You get different rungs of music, you get different pieces. We don’t want it to be one note. Our worlds are so big and so much like the real world that you’re going to meet people, I’m going to meet people, they’re going to have different feelings about things. The experienced you authored may be different from the experience I authored.
I think that it’s completely believable that we have a story and we meet characters that mean something, that say something, and [have] that feeling on the edge. And it is believable that ... after three or four hours, you go ‘You know what? I just need to take the story and put it aside for a second. I need to go off and just have fun.’ Can you go back to it in a snap? Yes you can. We build a world where you can, because you can do it in the real world.”
As intriguing as the story was to me, there wasn’t enough gameplay to determine if Far Cry 5 has the potential to stand out in the series or if it’s just another numbered title. If the cult angle interests you, the game might be worth a look. For others, you’ll need to wait until more gameplay footage is released to make a proper decision. Either way, more information on Far Cry 5 isn’t too far away. E3 is next month, and Ubisoft will hold its annual press conference where it will show off some of its upcoming titles, including Far Cry 5.
|Name||Far Cry 5|
|Type||Action/Adventure, Open world|
|Platforms||PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|Where To Buy||N/A|