Far Cry 5 Preview – Welcome to Montana (PS4)
Ubisoft has finally unleashed a mountain’s worth of information on Far Cry 5, the first main entry in the series since 2014’s Far Cry 4. We were able to sit in on a world-first look at the game and its brand-new location of rural Montana. While gameplay footage was scant, we were shown a presentation which walked us through the origins of the game’s inspiration, and introduced us to some key characters who we’re likely to hear much more about in the coming months. Take a read below!
Exotic. The word is defined as “originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country.” It’s pretty much the exact word that comes to mind when we think of all the locations that the Far Cry franchise has taken us: Micronesia, Africa, The Rook Islands (placed somewhere between the Indian and Pacific oceans), and Kyrat. That’s just counting locations in the main series entries. So color us surprised when we were greeted by Ubisoft with an American flag as their first slide in a presentation that laid out some of the first details of Far Cry 5. Gaming has been a global entertainment medium from its outset. So, to many gamers around the world, Montana is, in fact, exotic. Indeed, even for many urban and suburban American gamers, this area will also feel exotic and different.
When the presentation began, Executive Producer and Creative Director Dan Hay spoke of some of the inspiration for the game: the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which took place in 2016. This feeling of an intense pressure placed on the nation, and world at large, which hasn’t really been felt since 2001, when the Twin Towers fell, was alive and kicking at the beginning of last year. Recent elections, acts of terror, and other world events have civilization on edge, or so the media says. This has pushed some people to take desperate measures in order to protect themselves and the ones they love.
The Far Cry series is known for having large, believable worlds, and naturally they wanted to continue in that tradition. So the development team actually flew to Montana to learn everything they could about the area that they are attempting to draw inspiration from. However, this inspiration did not stop at simply taking in the landscape, architecture, and waterways.
The story in Far Cry 5 centers around a fight between (at least) two factions in the area. On the one hand, you’ve got the locals who’ve been living in the countryside for generations, defending their right to their livelihood. On the other hand, there is a religious cult that believes the end times are near, and that they must save whoever they can, by whatever means necessary, whether those people desire to be saved or not. So, Ubisoft took it upon themselves to physically meet with one or more militia, in their compounds. You read that correctly. This involved late-night meetings, the details of which we are barred from describing, indefinitely, as a matter of security. These tense meetings gave the team some more insight into what makes cults tick, and which personalities flourish in a setting as remote as deep-woods Montana.
The end result speaks for itself. The cast of cult characters feels fully fleshed out, starting with the magnetic leader, the “Father.” He commands people who follow him without question, and claims that God has shown him what must be done in order to save as many souls as he can. Then there’s Jacob, the Father’s brother. He was in the army for 20 years, and is the right-hand man of the Father. John is the youngest of the cult leaders, whose job is to recruit others to their cause. Finally, Faith serves as a beacon of hope for members of the cult, and she can keep them calm and pacified, especially in times of doubt.
Ubisoft spoke with experts who have studied cults, to learn what happens out in the countryside. What they discovered is that these cults, they buy up a bunch of low-cost parcels, and then dump 1,500 or so people to live on what starts out as a relatively small plot of land. This quickly drops the value of the surrounding region’s lots considerably, which the cult can purchase. This begins a chain reaction. Soon, the cult can spread like a cancer, swallowing up massive swaths of land in a short amount of time.
Far Cry to the Core
Some of this land has been occupied for generations, by a populace that doesn’t take too kindly to being overrun. Thus, we were introduced to the game’s resistance members. First is the answer to the cult’s Father, Pastor Jerome Jeffries. As a trailer makes abundantly clear, this is a no-nonsense religious man who is ready to go to war against those who “lead his flock astray.” Mary May is one whose family has lived on the same land for generations, who has dealt with cultists before. We see her casually talking about growing up in the area, while crafting some sort of concoction, that turns out to be Molotov cocktails. Nick Rye is the final resistance fighter we met during the presentation, who is seen rigging a crop duster with a choice machine gun, as he prepares to fight his own war in order to defend his family from the cult that is knocking on his doorstep.
Naturally, this being a Far Cry game, you can expect a wide open playground, and lots of things to do. Since this takes place in contemporary Montana, you will be able to drive vehicles of all types, including muscle cars, big rigs, ATVs, boats, planes, and more. A ton of weaponry will also be at your disposal, including the usual firearms and explosives, but also melee weapons such as sledgehammers and baseball bats. You’ll also be able to recruit Guns for Hire, and can call in air support to rain down hell on the cult. There are also Fangs for Hire, which allows you to use specialized animals such as bears and cougars to assist you on your missions, which will likely include some unpredictable behavior from those wild animals and keep you on your toes.
Some people may have initially balked at the idea that Far Cry is heading to the States. But when you take a look at what the game has to offer, it’s clear that Montana is quite the exotic location to many gamers. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but this new direction gives Ubisoft a lot of freedom to mess with traditional expectations of an open-world first-person shooter while staying within the realm of possibility. Get ready to conquer the countryside.
Far Cry 5 was previewed in a press event hosted by Ubisoft earlier this month. Stay tuned to our Far Cry 5 interview with Ubisoft hitting the site soon. Far Cry 5 will be on February 27, 2018.