First Look: Far Cry 5 features an American cult, releases February 2018

After a week or so of video and art teases, we can finally share the premise and information about some of the characters of Far Cry 5.

While Ubisoft has confirmed that we’ll be getting our hands on Far Cry 5 February 27, 2018, a couple of weeks ago they invited a handful of journalists to a Santa Monica hotel to get an early look at where they were going with Far Cry 5, who the main characters are, and what inspired the game’s premise: The American Cult.

In a presentation led by the game’s executive producer, Dan Hay, we were told about some of the events in U.S. history that inspired the premise of the game. The cold war of the 1980s, 9/11, and more recently, the militia that took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon for 40 days last year. In creating the game and building its story, Hay and his team discussed these events and what motivated the people involved and how these events might embolden and inspire people to start their own movements, whether they be anti-government or anti-society.

That brings us to Montana. A state that’s considered “middle America” and, according Hay and Ubisoft’s own firsthand research, is populated with groups of people who clutch their Bibles, who are suspicious of government, and will fight for their freedom by any means necessary.

Hence the theme of Far Cry 5: Freedom, Faith, and Firearms.

A change for the Far Cry series

In past Far Cry games, you usually played as a protagonist with a name and a history. In Far Cry it was Jack Carver, in Far Cry 3 it was Jason Brody, and in Far Cry 4 it was Ajay Ghale. In Far Cry 5, you’re a no name deputy, fresh on the force near present day fictional Hope County, Montana with the task of taking out a cult leader and his cult/militia, Project at Eden's Gate. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds. When I asked Hay about the main character’s name and history, he pointed at me.

“It’s you,” he said. “I have to be careful not to share too much information, but we want this story to be your story. So we want you, to be able to make… you.”

Character creation?

The game’s cult is led by Joseph, The Father. The Father is a David Koresh/Jim Jones like figure who Hay says has a mandate and hears a voice, and what he believes is that a collapse is imminent. A collapse of the American life and morals they know and love, a collapse of the country’s financial system, and a collapse of the American government. Before the collapse happens, however, his mandate is to save as many souls as he can whether they want to be saved or not. And maybe help that “collapse” happen sooner than later.

The Father is joined by his brother, Jacob, who is a 20-year Army vet, has a unique set of skills, and is The Father’s right hand man. There’s also John, the youngest member of the cult’s leadership, who is responsible for growing the cult. He “recruits” new members and is most likely taking over people’s land and property to control most of the county. Faith, the lone woman of the cult leadership, helps to keep the boys calm, level-headed, and in line with The Father’s vision.

To combat this cult, you, as a young deputy in a new place with hardly any experience, need to round-up some like-minded individuals who will help you build a resistance against the cult.

One of these like-minded individuals is a Pastor Jerome, a preacher who loves his guns almost as much as he loves his God. Another is Mary May, a woman who grew up in the area and experienced the cult, first hand, squeezing her parents out of what they own and witnessed the cult take control of local law enforcement, health care, and even the area’s food supply. Nick Rye is a local crop duster who’s very familiar with the area and has a certain set of skills when it comes to his planes that become useful (read: mounting machine guns on planes).

As you saw with the teaser trailers surrounding Far Cry 5, the environments of the game look incredible. While a lot of previous Far Cry games explored more tropical and mountainous regions, in Far Cry 5, we’ll be getting a mix of grasslands, forests, and mountains along with other areas Hay isn’t quite ready to talk about.

“In terms of biomes and in terms of locations, we really did our research,” Hay said. “I really can’t get in too deep, but the same team who made Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 is being applied to this, along with some of the learnings that came from Primal, so you can imagine where we could go. We want to make sure you can go into areas where you feel completely different. The feelings and tone changes, the grittiness changes and you get these biomes in a space where it feels like it’s the real world.”

As far as gameplay, Hay and Ubisoft aren’t sharing what will be different in Far Cry 5, whether there will be any changes in the crafting system, how the missions will be mapped out or if the skill tree is coming back, but did say fans should expect to get what they know and love about the Far Cry franchise.

“You’ve played the games, you know how we build the games, and you know what we’re invested in,“ Hay said. “So let your mind wander a bit and I suspect that it’s not off target.”

There will be plenty of vehicles to get around the map though, including planes. Even a pet dog.

“There will be classic cars and muscle cars in the world,” he said. “We want to make it where you can go out into the world, find them, and make them feel like they’re yours. You’ll see trucks, you’ll see Rolling Thunder, and you’ll have a dog, whose name I really want to tell you, but I’m not allowed.”

Hay’s presentation ended with a gameplay trailer that showed a shootout in a small American town, the pet dog taking out some cult-ish goons, and what looked like some co-op gameplay. Hay wouldn’t confirm or deny any co-op play, but we’re sure we’ll see more at E3.

As with any Far Cry game, there will be plenty of weapons to choose from as well as guns for hire and, taking a page a from Far Cry Primal, Fangs for Hire. Yes, Fangs for Hire allows the player to "hire" bears, cougars, and other animals to do their bidding.

We're looking forward to this.

Check out the announcement trailer below: