Far Cry 5 Ever-So-Poignantly Focuses on a Violent Religious Cult in Montana

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Ubisoft just dropped its first full-length trailer for Far Cry 5, which is, poignantly enough, set in rural Montana and focuses on a religious cult that’s been “harvesting the souls” of the local populace. It’s a trailer for a game that will feel ever so perfectly timed, given the current state of our own federal government.

It sounds like the trailer is narrated by the game’s main antagonist, who is delivering a speech that—and again, I feel like I’m going to say this a lot in this post—feels strangely reminiscent of the rhetoric being spouted by real, actual human beings in the year twenty-hecking-seventeen (though perhaps turned up to a strong 11). Polygon dives a bit more into the story and the plot, which focuses on the story of one town forming a resistance against the religious fanatics, with likely predictable violent clashes forming the basis of their, uh… negotiations.

That isn’t to downplay the gameplay or anything, as the Far Cry series does often deliver with some pretty interesting over-the-top action, and this is likely to be no different. Instead, the real focus here is in its subject matter. It’s in how Ubisoft Montreal pulled from real-world experiences to form the seeds that grew into the game’s story. According to Polygon, Dan Hay reflected on their time spent in Montana as research for the game, saying:

“People from that region don’t necessarily trust the government. They don’t want to be fucked with. They want to be left alone. They have a pretty goddamn good bullshit detector. When we were there, they absolutely didn’t want to be lied to, and this resonating feeling of freedom, faith—and the firearms to protect those two things—came back again and again. So that’s what we’re doing. And we’re applying that to the Far Cry series.”

The plot brings to mind Kevin Smith’s Red State, which was itself a film partially based on what happened in Waco, Texas, when 82 cult members and four federal agents died in a violent standoff that captured the attention of the entire country. As well, thoughts and memories about Waco were close at hand when Ammon Bundy led a group of armed militia to illegally seize the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in protest of the federal government’s control over federal public lands. Tracing farther back, Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, who also led an armed standoff against the government in 2014 over defaulted cattle grazing fees.

This is all to say that it’s just so … saddening? Depressing? Or it’s perhaps poignant that Far Cry 5‘s subject matter isn’t the stuff of myth or legend or fiction. It’s based on true-to-life experiences rooted in the very recent history of our country (Waco was 1993, Cliven Bundy was 2014, Ammon Bundy was 2016). Moreover, this is to say nothing of the racial politics at hand in conflicts like these, but I digress.

You can bet that once Far Cry 5 launches next February, there will be more than a few thinkpieces and angry “boycotts” directed at Ubisoft—which, to be fair, seems to happen on the regular, so maybe this is just another day in the office for them. Whatever.

(image: screencap/Ubisoft)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.