Far Cry 6 is still over a month out from release and while there remains plenty we don’t yet know, a massive batch of hands-on previews dropped this week across various gaming outlets and influencer videos, shedding more light on the game. The problem is what they illuminate, and what they don’t. They paint Far Cry 6 as the latest predictable blockbuster, albeit one with aspirations of saying something meaningful about revolution and the oppression that spurs it. Sound familiar? The previews seem to just be there to tell us whether the shooting is any good and what novel ways Ubisoft has found to dress up its to-do list icon-filled maps rather than to interrogate why we should expect anything more from Far Cry this time around. In some ways it feels like we’ve learned nothing at all.
“Not your grandad’s revolución,” quipped IGN. “Far Cry 6 is a huge game in every sense,” announced VG247. It “looks to be a big, beautiful game,” concluded VentureBeat. Even the previews that acknowledged the series’ troubled thematic past remained optimistic it might not get in the way this time around. “Hopefully, the enjoyment we get from flying around in our wingsuits, firing over-the-top weapons, and fighting alongside a cute wiener dog named Chorizo doesn’t contrast too harshly with the story of an island in political peril,” wrote Game Informer.
What I’ve learned from previews like these and others (Kotaku was not invited to these demos) is that Far Cry 6 will let you force helicopters to land so you can steal them rather than just blowing them up. The series’ skill tree has been replaced with a loot-based system where stats and abilities are activated by equipping new guns and armor. Chickens, alligators, and other murderous “Amigos” will even fight by your side while you’re torching island compounds with DIY flamethrowers.
What I’ve heard much less about, if anything at all, is what Far Cry 6 does to prevent itself from feeling like another gory vacation to an exoticized country created by Canadian studios under the umbrella of a French company. Maybe that’s by design. Narrative payoffs are an easy thing to hide from preview demos under the auspices of not spoiling anything. Maybe it’s because at its core, Far Cry 6 remains fundamentally a game about finding cool and chaotic new ways to blow shit up. These underlying tensions should be at the heart of deciding what Far Cry 6 might be and whether it will be worth engaging with. But somehow, in the year of our lord 2021, such concerns are still mostly relegated to the written equivalent of a grimace emoji buried a few paragraphs from the end.
Far Cry 6 made waves back in May when narrative director Navid Khavari said the game was not intended to make a political statement about Cuba, despite being a game about revolutionary guerilla fighters in an island nation in the Caribbean where you apparently heal yourself by smoking a cigar. Khavari elaborated days later in a statement on Ubisoft’s website that Far Cry 6’s story was political. “A story about a modern revolution must be,” he wrote. Still, though, it was…
Read More News: If You’re Going To Preview Far Cry 6 At Least Do It Right