Far Cry villains are what the people at Ubisoft really want to get you invested in. “No hero’s story is complete without a great rival to match them,” said presenters Neelam Kumar and Youssef Maguid at last night’s Ubisoft Forward. “After all, even the most vile tyrant is the star of their own narrative. And when it comes to memorable villains, no one does it better than Far Cry.”
Far Cry 3’s Vaas Montenegro made such an impact at time when NPCs gazing directly at the player to command their attention was a thing. That memorableness is largely due to the arresting performance of Michael Mando rather than the quality of the writing. Since then, the Far Cry series has consistently been written to center around sociopaths, despots and megalomaniacs.
This is why Ubisoft has centered their entire marketing for Far Cry 6 around their villain, Anton Castillo, Yara’s El Presidente, and the performance being delivered by Giancarlo Esposito. And Esposito knows how to talk his villainous walk for many high-profile projects like Netflix’s The Get Down and the Disney+ show The Mandalorian.
Esposito told Geoff Keighley during the Summer Games Fest Kickoff that his character is not a villian. “I have to push back on you… this guy loves his country. He wants to empower you, Keighley. He wants to empower you to stand up and speak your truth.” There’s a mix of thespic sincerity and PR cheekiness there when he adds, “I want to be a renegade within reason.”
Truth be told, Far Cry villains are magnetic but they are never as well written as Ubisoft thinks they are. Michael Mando as Vaas, Troy Baker as Pagan Min and Greg Bryk as Joseph Seed deliver compelling performances, but most of what they say is loopy nonsense. At best, the writing is centrist posturing, offering no substantive ideology, only the scary possibility that these characters believe themselves.
Still, it’s sorta clever for Ubisoft to pick up on this thread from the franchise. Despite the fact that none of their villains have ever been able to replicate the freshness that Vaas brought into the proceedings of any Ubisoft game, it’s still the strongest aspect of the game, unless of course you’re one of those people who thinks Hurk is actually the best part of the franchise. Which is fine, I guess? Live your truth.
And with that in mind, I guess Far Cry 6 might have come up with the best idea for a Season Pass that Ubisoft has had in while. Far Cry 5’s various B-movie adventures made its Season Pass feel disconnected, while Watch Dogs Legion has a hodge podge of unrelated extensions like bespoke characters to complement yr procedurally generated randos. For Far Cry 6, Ubisoft has announced three pieces of content that’ll let you play villains of Far Cry past.
Far Cry will let you play as Vaas, Pagan Min and Joseph Seed in trippy psychedelic adventures that promise to explore questions of insanity. Truthfully, I’m not expecting sophisticated answers. But I am expecting at least, a good bit of fun sowing chaos with some of the most iconic performances Ubisoft has ever directed.
Far Cry 6 launches on October 7, 2021 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Windows 10 PCs.