In a stark contrast to previous Far Cry games, Far Cry 6 narrative director Navid Khavari has acknowledged the political nature of the game.
Khavari addressed the issue in a blog post Monday, promising fans there would be "hard, relevant discussions in Far Cry 6 about the conditions that lead tot he rise of fascism in a nation, the costs of imperialism, forced labor, the need for free-and-fair elections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more," in Far Cry 6.
"Our story is political," Khavari wrote. He went on to say the creative team sought out collaborators who could "speak personally to the history and cultures of the regions we were inspired by," namely Cuba, on which the game's fictional setting of Yara is based.
Khavari's blog post comes after an interview with TheGamer in which he said Far Cry 6 wasn't designed to make a political statement about the country of Cuba in particular. Given Ubisoft's long history of sidestepping political discussions in games with inherently political subject matters — American agents destabilizing a fictional Latin American country in Ghost Recon: Wildlands, for instance — many took Khavari's statement as another egregious attempt to dodge politics.
Khavari seems adamant that's not the case, saying in his blog post that the game's political elements are more probing than declamatory.
"What [Far Cry 6] players will find is a story that's point-of-view attempts to capture the political complexity of a modern, present-day revolution within a fictional context.
"But if anyone is seeking a simplified, binary political statement specifically on the current political climate in Cuba, they won't find it."
Far Cry 6 launches Oct. 7.
Khavari's clarifying comments are a welcome (and long overdue) corrective for Ubisoft's previous political cowardice. Time and again the company has pushed narratives with intentionally sensational content, only to claim the games were not making political statements.
Of course, that's not how art works. As soon as a game is released into the world, its audience begins to find meaning in it, whether the creator wills it or not. Ubisoft has tried to use the "no politics" line as a smoke screen absolving it of responsibility for what it creates, appealing to those consumers in games who would rather throw on blinders than engage with what games teach us.
But just as a creator can't pretend their work is free of politics, an audience can't ignore those politics. Whether a player of The Division acknowledges it or not, all those government-sponsored extrajudicial killings add up to a base of reactionary thinking that seeps into the player's mind. It's subtle, but so is carbon monoxide. Such is the nature of poison.
Khavari and company's decision to deal with the politics of their story head on indicates Ubisoft may have turned a corner, finally deciding to treat players like adults rather than children. It remains to be seen whether this new approach pays off narratively or financially.