If you were hoping Far Cry 5 would take a firmer stance in its social commentary of a “disenfranchised” right-wing, you might want to stop holding your breath. The newest trailer for the fifth game in Ubisoft’s open-world survival series puts a big focus on the story campaign, emphasizing Eden’s Gate as a religious cult than the more timely villains who more directly reflect the rise of militant white nationalists.
On Friday, Ubisoft released the story trailer for Far Cry 5, which is due for a March 27 release. The trailer introduced players to Father Joseph Seed, a dangerous cult leader who ordered his group, Eden’s Gate, to take over the remote town of Hope County. Looks like a gorgeous mountain town — if not for the zealots carrying rifles and violent bear attacks. (Side note: This game looks nuts.)
Players take control of a sheriff’s deputy — whose race and gender can be decided by the player, a first in the franchise — who arrives at Hope County to stop Seed. In the process, players align with Hope County residents who have had enough of Seed’s bullshit. As an eerie choir sings “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (“Glory, glory, hallelujah…”), this Far Cry 5 trailer does a lot to put all the religious cult stuff in the front, and all the more timely white nationalist stuff in the back as vague context.
Throughout the history of Far Cry, players have shot up enemies in foreign lands that look equal parts apocalyptic and exotic. So it was quite something when Ubisoft revealed Far Cry 5 last spring, which sported sprawling Montana mountains underneath a clear blue sky.
Over time, however, players saw that Joseph Seed and Eden’s Gate were less of a white nationalist, “alt-right” caricature, and more like a typical cult lifted from other action/horror movies.
In an interview with Polygon, executive producer Dan Hay said he was inspired by the 2016 armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. “When I saw on television that a militia in Oregon had taken over a wildlife preserve and basically held … the FBI at bay for 41 days, I was like, ‘OK. Now this makes sense,’” he said. However, it looks like Far Cry 5 takes that idea into more cartoonish, cult-based villainy rather than grappling with the social realities that inspired incidents like that. Maybe that’s fine, but on some level it feels like a bit of a missed opperunity.
Though Far Cry 5 won’t let players shoot actual neo-Nazis — you can play Bethesda’s Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for that — Far Cry 5 will have downloadable content, Ubisoft revealed in an email. The expansions include Lost on Mars, which has players fight Martians, Dead Living Zombies, in which players survive zombie hordes, and Hours of Darkness which is set in the Vietnam war, putting the player up against Viet Cong soldiers. Wouldn’t be a Far Cry game without foreign enemies, we guess.
Far Cry 5 comes out on March 27 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.