Ubisoft has a history of making games with expressly political themes and settings, but then stating that those games are not political. Games don’t have to make political statements, obviously, but in Ubisoft’s case, those statements have often felt like incongruous PR speak for games that are, on the contrary, quite blatantly political. Recently, when Far Cry 6 narrative director Navid Khavari said that the upcoming shooter “doesn’t want to make a political statement”, his statements were met with skepticism, given the fact that the game takes inspiration from the Cuban revolution and has pretty overt political themes.
Recently, a new message from Khavari was published on Ubisoft’s official website, in which he clarified and elaborated on his statements, stating that Far Cry 6’s story is indeed political, adding that any story that deals with topics such as revolution, as Far Cry 6 does, has to be political.
“Our story is political,” Khavari wrote. “A story about a modern revolution must be. There are hard, relevant discussions in Far Cry 6 about the conditions that lead to the rise of fascism in a nation, the costs of imperialism, forced labor, the need for free-and-fair elections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more within the context of Yara, a fictional island in the Caribbean. My goal was to empower our team to be fearless in the story we were telling, and we worked incredibly hard to do this over the last five years. We also tried to be very careful about how we approached our inspirations, which include Cuba, but also other countries around the world that have experienced political revolutions in their histories.
“In our approach we made sure to seek creators and collaborators for our team who can speak personally to the history and cultures of the regions we were inspired by. We also brought on experts and consultants to examine the game story multiple times over the course of the project to make sure it was being told with sensitivity. It is not for me to decide if we succeeded, but I can say we absolutely tried.”
“The conversations and research done on the perspectives of those who fought revolutions in the late 1950s, early 1960s, and beyond are absolutely reflected in our story and characters,” he added. “But if anyone is seeking a simplified, binary political statement specifically on the current political climate in Cuba, they won’t find it. I am from a family that has endured the consequences of revolution. I have debated revolution over the dinner table my entire life. I can only speak for myself, but it is a complex subject that should never be boiled down to one quote.
“What 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. We have attempted to tell a story with action, adventure, and heart, but that also isn’t afraid to ask hard questions. Far Cry is a brand that in its DNA seeks to have mature, complex themes balanced with levity and humor. One doesn’t exist without the other, and we have attempted to achieve this balance with care. My only hope is that we are willing to let the story speak for itself first before forming hard opinions on its political reflections.”
Far Cry 6 is out on October 7 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia.