Far Cry 6’s narrative director talks representation, revolution and a return of gay frogs

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The Far Cry series has been no stranger to controversy. From criticism of Far Cry 4’s cover art to a petition to portray Far Cry 5’s religious fanatics as villains, Ubisoft’s long-running series is often controversial, to say the least, and Far Cry 6 is no different.

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Set on the fictional island of Yara, Far Cry 6 sees players take on the role of Dani Rojas, who joins a guerrilla revolution against Yara’s tyrannical dictator Anton Castillo (played by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito). It’s a dark premise, but one that Ubisoft plans to balance with the chaotic, playground mechanics the Far Cry series is known for — a balancing act that has already received criticism from some. Is.

So how does Ubisoft plan to faithfully portray a guerrilla revolution in a first-person shooter that boasts a Macarena-playing weapon? We spoke to Far Cry 6’s Narrative Director Naveed Khavari to find out.

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Pillars of a Far Cry Story

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Before becoming the Narrative Director and Lead Writer on Far Cry 6, Naveed Khavari, having worked in a narrative capacity on Far Cry Primal and Far Cry 5, is no stranger to Far Cry. So when it comes to knowing the key ingredient in a Far Cry story, he is well equipped to answer.

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There’s not just one component, Khavari tells us, but three: a charismatic charming antagonist, the spirit of “David vs. Goliath”, and “a balance of mature storytelling that isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects — mixed with some fervor”. .

But, as with Far Cry 6, it wasn’t just Anton Castillo that Khavari wanted to take center stage; Instead, the challenge came in making sure that the game’s guerrilla fighters were also the stars of the show—characters who could go toe-to-toe with the unpredictable dictator and still stand out.

“That’s where I think we’re moving the brand,” Khavari tells us. “We tried to make sure that the Revolution was not just such a homogeneous entity, that you would have many different perspectives, many different motivations, many different types of personalities and characters that you would run into. So we Wanted to keep those three things in mind, but really wanted to include Dany and the guerrillas in the story.”

writing a revolution

Yara is heavily influenced by Cuba and her own revolution, Ubisoft has acknowledged, but has criticized whether Far Cry 6 can really be an earnest depiction of such a conflict — especially given the series. Known for essentially being a humorous, chaotic playground. What’s more, Ubisoft didn’t help matters, initially shying away from being “political” with the game. It’s a similar approach that was taken with Far Cry 5, a game whose premise was political at best, but, in the end, only dipped its toes into the pool instead of fully diving in.

“We tend to view revolutions as black and white, but they are incredibly complex conflicts and anyone who studies them will tell you, so instead of telling a simple story with a binary point of view, we’re going to take that complexity.” hugs you.”

Navid Khavari – Story Director

With Far Cry 6, it seemed that the same approach was being taken. In an interview, Khavari claimed that the game was not intended for “a political statement about what is happening in Cuba specifically”, implying that a political approach was once again being taken. However, he later justified his statements by saying that “our story is political” and based on “other countries around”. [real] The world has experienced political revolutions in its history”, but the game was not a “particularly simple, binary political statement on the current political climate in Cuba”. Ubisoft acknowledged that Anton Castillo, too, Cuba, including the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Influenced by real-life dictators from neighboring countries – as well as previous Far Cry villains.

So how does this key element match up with the fast-paced, blazing gameplay of Far Cry 6? Well, according to Khavari, Far Cry represents both the heavy, dark elements of a revolution, with bits that aren’t always serious. Nhavari explains that while talking to real-life revolutionaries, he was amazed at how he found humor and joy in their high-stakes situations, telling a story he was told about guerrilla fighters playing music in the woods. and hid them away when a military plane flew over. He says these moments also add to the experience and ground it, feeding it into the “DNA of Far Cry.”

Khavari said, “We struggled with the sensibility of the game from the start, but it’s important that we don’t think about what we can and cannot say, but rather the story we’re trying to tell. Trying to be fearless.” A round table program before the interview. “We tend to view revolutions as black and white, but they are incredibly complex conflicts and anyone who studies them will tell you that, so instead of telling a simple story with a binary point of view, we’re going to take that complexity.” accept to.

“The beauty of telling a narrative about a revolution is that, as with a revolutionary group, there is a mix of ideologies and perspectives that you want to hold. We hide from the rise of fascism or what we have seen around the world. No, we wanted to talk about the effects of imperialism on an island like Yara and the effects of the blockade, and talk about LGBTQ+ rights. In the context of the story. It didn’t feel right to shy away from incredibly important topics. .

“At the end of the day the players themselves will decide how we did and I encourage them to form their own opinion. We have tried to approach the story with utmost sensitivity and are not afraid to share honest opinions. “

In addition to Yara’s overtly political underpinnings, it seems we may also encounter some more subtle references to the modern political landscape in the world. Far Cry 5 had some tongue-in-cheek Easter Eggs that referenced Trump’s alleged “pee-tape” and even Alex Jones’ rant on gay frogs, so I asked Khavari if we You will see something similar in Far Cry 6.

“What would I say, if I was playing this game, didn’t make it, I would highly recommend playing it with a fine-toothed comb because there are tons of Easter eggs everywhere,” he told us. “But I don’t want to spoil it for people. Make sure you play the game, make sure you’ve checked all the credits and everything.”

authentic representation

As Khavari says, LGBTQ+ rights are another important theme explored within the game, which was previously uncharted territory for the series.

“Without going into spoiler territory, we have a number of characters who identify as LGBTQ+,” Khavari tells us. “I think one of the things, talking to experts and individuals on our team in consultation with experts outside of our team, we wanted to capture this idea of ​​a revolution within a revolution. We had a There’s a character who speaks to her, no matter what major revolution Libertad is fighting for, there’s a revolution going on in terms of LGBTQ+ rights that won’t end with Clara Garcia. [leader of the Libertad] Frees Yara. And that, in consultation with a lot of people, we found something really interesting and that can be powerful to discover. “

“At the end of the day, it’s up to the people to decide. I’m hesitant to say we did it right. I know we did what we thought was our best performance.”

Navid Khavari – Story Director

The inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in Far Cry 6 is welcome — although we wanted to know how this topic was being tackled, especially with regards to representation, as it’s something we’ve seen in the game over and over again in a bad way. seen to be executed.

“We wanted to represent our characters who identify as LGBTQ+, who do not identify with their personalities and who they are as LGBTQ+,” Khavari explains. “For example, we have a character named Rosa Mel Paquette, a drag queen who is gay. They are fantastic in the performance aspect of being a drag queen, but at the same time, when they are performing for the military, They’re secretly working for the Guerrillas. We wanted to be as authentic as possible, plus, how we approach these subjects, so we cast an actual drag queen in Toronto, Selena Wyle.

“Also, in terms of representation, one of our guerrilla leaders, Paolo, is trans and we’ve also chosen a trans masculine actor to try and represent him. What I’m trying to say is that we Wanted to look with sensitivity and really work with the cast to make sure they felt they were involved in that process.

Khavari explains that the team was aware of how to address any blind spots regarding representation throughout the game, including the sport’s LGBTQ+ and LatinX characters. But, after the reaction from those who played the game’s early preview, was there any that they felt Was been overlooked?

“No, not really,” he tells us. “I know the kind of work we have done in five years. So I know I can stand with pride and confidence in the work my team did and the time we spent. Again, I think we were really trying to push new ground in terms of focusing on authenticity, but came up with ways to check multiple checks throughout production. One of the things I was really worried about wasn’t that we end up just doing a checkup or talking to experts when we can’t change everything. We talked to people like Tanya Depas of I Need Divers Games and we talked to Ana Lopez, Professor of Media and Cuban Media at Tulane University, and more. So I can stand with it.

“At the end of the day, it’s up to the people to decide. I’m not hesitant to say that we did it right. I know we did what we thought was our best.”

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