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