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This article was published on May 30, 2017

Violence in Far Cry is fine — until it hits too close to home

Violence in Far Cry is fine — until it hits too close to home
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Far Cry 5 looks very similar to every other Far Cry game made, ever — with the key difference being that the main villains are a religious cult based in Montana. Apparently, this is too much for some gamers, because they’re already asking Ubisoft to make changes.

There’s now a Change.org petition calling for Ubisoft to alter or cancel this “Anti-American” game. I want to believe it’s a joke, or a parody, or anything other than sincere. But let’s give the person who made it the benefit of the doubt and assume they mean every word of it. At the time of this writing, the petition has hit over 900 signatures.

The petition goes full-on Not In My Backyard over Far Cry 5, which it calls an “an insult to [Ubisoft’s] fanbase.” It asks for the villains to be more multi-ethnic (if not outright making them minorities) — or to be misunderstood heroes, because to leave them as antagonistic, religious Americans is “unrealistic.”

First of all, Ubisoft isn’t really doing anything new here. The villains shown so far are a religious/nationalist cult who’ve trampled all over innocent locals — which also describes the Rakyat warriors from 3 and Pagan Min’s army from 4. This is all business as usual for Far Cry — with the sole exception of nationality.

Second, the villains already consider themselves misunderstood heroes. The game’s creative director explicitly described the lead villain, Joseph Seed, as being completely convinced that what he’s doing is right. There’s no reason to believe Ubisoft isn’t planning to make him as magnetic and interesting as Vaas and Pagan Min were before him.

Far Cry as a series has always taken place in “exotic” locations where the primary setting is pretty far removed from polite, middle-class Western society. It makes sense, in a way — the protagonists make themselves into finely-honed killing machines in an area where animals are plentiful and the humans already want them dead.

But then the trailer for Far Cry 5 drops, the only difference being that the remote frontier setting is in America, and suddenly the fast-driving, bullet-spraying, animal-skinning exploits are a little too close to home. Apparently it’s okay to mow down animals and people by the hundreds — just as long as the humans aren’t white and on hallowed American soil.