As we approach E3, I think the game I’m most excited for is Far Cry Hope County. I haven’t always been kind to the series, but from what I know so far – I’m very open to Far Cry Hill Billy edition as it may be known to many going forward.
Far right or wrong?
The American South is a thread that’s been explored to the point of ad nauseam at the movies. But regardless, in recent years some of my favorite films – Red State, Tucker & Dale Vs Evil and Cabin in the Woods have all explored the rural underbelly of America.
Yet in gaming, it’s surprisingly rare a focus outside of some well trodden token stereotypes. There are gangs in both the first and last GTA consisting of good old boys; the awful Deer Avenger Series; and the probably offensive ‘Trailer Trash’ from Tribal Rage. As with many films, the result is normally unhelpful and alienates a group of no doubt down on their luck backwoods communities.
Last time I wrote about Far Cry, I called it lazy. Which is massively unfair on a series which produced the magnum opus that is Blood Dragon. The introduction of a North American setting should give the series the opportunity to revel in tropes, whilst at the same time exploring the series raison d’être – that the player character is a fish out of water.
Ubisoft versus Trump
Maybe Far Cry 5 is a radical exploration of post-Trump politics in an uncertain and “divided” America. I think it’s more an opportunity to realize how most urban gamers are out of touch, with those that we see as out of touch. I don’t want to dwell on modern political movements, but populism does have its routes in the alienated many. A many, that I have no connection to, but who feel various frustrations.
Whilst it should undoubtedly be judged on its gameplay mechanics, I applaud Ubisoft for wading into this quagmire. It’ll no doubt be judged on how, an albeit French company, walks the razor edge of political sensitivity versus story telling. But given that unless they do something radical, gameplay will remain to form, I relish the opportunity to visit/liberate Hope County, USA.
Full disclosure, this was written before the fuller announcement.
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