It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

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If you’re a bit sick of pol­i­tics at the mo­ment, we un­der­stand. By the time you read this, the UK will have been to the polls for the third time in as many years (is ev­ery­thing OK? We hope it’s OK). Much of the world is still ad­just­ing to life un­der the most di­vi­sive US pres­i­dent of our life­times. Pol­i­tics is sim­ply ev­ery­where, land­ing on our doomats, blar­ing from our TV screens, buzzing from our phones as news alerts and Twit­ter no­ti­fi­ca­tions flood in from morn­ing to night, rarely bring­ing good tid­ings.

It’s in our games, too – if not by de­sign, then cer­tainly by as­so­ci­a­tion. This month’s cover game, Far Cry 5, was im­me­di­ately set upon af­ter its an­nounce­ment by both sides of the yawn­ing chasm that is the cur­rent US po­lit­i­cal di­vide. Some saw its tale of a po­lice deputy in­fil­trat­ing the ranks of a Mon­tana dooms­day cult as Ubisoft gift­ing the left some ludonar­ra­tive cathar­sis with a game about mur­der­ing Trump sup­port­ers; oth­ers took of­fence at the bland stereo­typ­ing, the sug­ges­tion that any­one seek­ing an al­ter­na­tive to ne­olib­er­al­ism was a gnat’s whisker away from de­camp­ing to the Bi­ble Belt and kid­nap­ping peo­ple for sport. Such, sadly, is sim­ply the way of things at the mo­ment.

Far Cry 5’ s cre­ative di­rec­tor down­plays the sug­ges­tion that the game is mak­ing a po­lit­i­cal state­ment. How could it, when de­vel­op­ment be­gan long be­fore Trump and Brexit? And could a team of hun­dreds, in stu­dios dot­ted across the globe, pos­si­bly reach a po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus?

As Hay ex­plains it, the idea came from see­ing a man in a doom­mon­ger­ing sand­wich board, and the re­al­i­sa­tion that, for once, he might be onto some­thing. You can cer­tainly see his point: in­deed, with all that’s go­ing on in the world to­day, maybe pack­ing off to some re­mote hide­away with a few like-minded folk is the smart way of do­ing things. Sadly do­ing so would mean miss­ing out on the most in­trigu­ing Far Cry in years; one that shakes up se­ries con­ven­tions and, by virtue of its di­vi­sive set­ting, has a heck of a story to tell – what­ever your pol­i­tics. Our story be­gins on p62.

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