We’ve had genetic engineering and genocide in the South Pacific. Civil war and malaria in Africa. A holiday gone all sorts of very wrong somewhere on an island near Indonesia. An eccentric despot in the Himalayas. Laser sharks and neon dinosaurs in an 80s VHS version of 2007.
And now, Far Cry welcomes you to Hope County, Montana. We’ve got apple pie and prime rib and our very own homegrown doomsday cult.
1. It’s set in present-day Montana, which is interesting for a lot of reasons but perhaps most significantly, it’s the first Far Cry game – and one of the only AAA games, like, ever – that takes place in the United States. Think about that. We’ve been blowing up brown people, black people, Nazis, aliens, and ambiguously defined Middle Russiastan terrorists everywhere else since games were invented, but actually shooting white US citizens in their own country is kind of an industry no-no. So that’s provocative, and probably a whole other discussion. On a more practical level, though, at over 380,000 square kilometres, Montana is one of the nation’s largest states by size, but also one of the most sparsely populated, and features a number of biomes, including prairies, badlands, forests, the Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and the Rocky Mountains. Basically, it’s a perfect open world sandbox, and Ubisoft promises it’s the “biggest one yet” in the franchise.
2. Far Cry 5‘s protagonist is Hope County’s new junior police deputy, although a name hasn’t been confirmed, nor any info about personality or motivations. Maybe those don’t even matter. For one more first time in the series, however, this character is customisable to some extent, including gender and race.
3. And also for the first time in the series, the entire campaign will support online co-op for two players. I dunno exactly how this works in the context of the game, but I guess junior deputies can have their own junior deputies. Or, um, something.
4. The bad guys make up the Project at Eden’s Gate, a sort of hillbilly extremist apocalypse prepper cult that’s taken up in the local parish, and also a family business. Led by Father Joseph Seed, his sister Faith, and his brothers Jacob and John, the church preaches that “The Collapse” of everything is imminent, and is ready to save souls with baptisms at gunpoint. At a recent press event, Far Cry 5 creative director Dan Hay cited the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by anti-government paramilitaries as an influence on the game, but comparisons with Joseph Koresh’s Branch Davidians, Jim Jones and People’s Temple, and even Heaven’s Gate are otherwise inevitable.
Most of the leaked claims on Reddit have been confirmed, except the part about a “porno-Tom-Cruise-turned-religious-nutjob-murderer”, who was supposed to be a former porn celebrity now involved with Eden’s Gate as its second-in-command crazy. But John Seed – pictured up top on Joseph’s right – is apparently the cult’s money man, and could be the same person.
“All of the times we looked into how cults work,” Hay explained, “we tried to understand, from our cult experts, how it is they get control over a region. Quite often they have a lawyer, they have a fixer, someone who comes in and will buy a whole bunch of crappy land and then drop 1,500 people on it.”
5. Obviously not everybody in Hope County wants to sign up for Eden’s Gate’s brand of salvation. Much like previous games, a local resistance militia is available as Guns for Hire recruits, and three ally characters have also been introduced – Pastor Jerome, Mary May Fairgrave, and Nick Rye. Say hello!
6. Besides a Fangs for Hire menagerie including merc bears and cougars – somewhat similar to Far Cry Primal, I expect, but even more (gloriously) preposterous without the spirit animal woo stuff – you also get a dog. A dog, you guys. And what a good boy, he can even fetch weapons from dead enemies for you.
7. Planes! Far Cry 5 has those, and you can totally fly them. Also muscle cars, big rigs, tractors, ATVs, boats, and whatever else Ubisoft’s cribbing out of Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
8. This is the U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A, so the game has lots of very patriotic guns, but it’s a country with a substantial immigrant demographic, so it also includes improvised melee weapons like pitchforks, sledgehammers, and baseball bats to keep things diverse. Can I make that joke? Because I made that joke.
9. Hunting is back, but fly-fishing is the big new thing. According to Wikipedia, Montana’s rivers host multiple species of trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass, so I suppose hit points come in a variety of fishy flavours.
10. It’s got a map editor, but Ubisoft isn’t telling much about it for now.
Game’s out on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on 27 February 2018.