Ubisoft’s upcoming first-person shooter Far Cry 4 has quite the legacy to live up to. It follows in the footsteps of Far Cry 3, one of the best-reviewed and most talked-about AAA games of 2012, whose marketing campaign was mostly based around the appeal of the violently charismatic co-anatagonist Vaas Montenegro.
Obviously this was a recipe for success, as Far Cry 3 sold 6 million copies within 6 months of its release, and so for Far Cry 4 Ubisoft has once again returned to the formula of using the villain as a selling point with box art featuring new antagonist Pagan Min in a pose that’s noticeably modelled after the Far Cry 3 box art.
Min is a Chinese national who becomes the self-appointed ruler of Kyrat, a fictional country in the Himalayas that has been torn apart by civil war for decades. Far Cry 4‘s protagonist, Ajay Ghale, is a native son of Kyrat whose father was the leader of the rebellion against Min twenty years previously, and who was taken to America at a young age to save him from the conflict. He returns to Kyrat as an adult with the intent of scattering his mother’s ashes according to her last wishes, but soon finds himself embroiled in the fight against Min.
E3 2014 saw the release of the first six minutes of Far Cry 4 (i.e. the opening cinematic), in which Ajay attempts to smuggle himself into Kyrat, only to be intercepted by Min’s soldiers and come face-to-face with the man himself. Speaking in an interview with VG 24/7, Far Cry 4‘s executive producer Dan Hay breaks down what was shown in the cinematic and what it reveals about Far Cry 4‘s bad guy.
“I’ve been getting a lot of questions about, you know… If you put Pagan Min in a cell with Vaas, who would win? The reality is, we don’t know… It’s a different brand of insanity, and I don’t even know that Pagan Min is insane… The reality is he’s just super, super powerful and nobody’s said no to him for twenty years. This is a guy who runs his own country – his face is on the money. Nobody says no to him… What’s interesting is that Ajay is the first person in twenty years to look at him and say, ‘No way.'”
One of the main criticisms of Far Cry 3 was that its hero, Jason Brody, was a fairly generic video game protagonist and was nowhere near as interesting as Vaas or even Hoyt. Far Cry 4‘s narrative director Mark Thompson has said that he recognized the complaints about Far Cry 3, particularly its use of the “white savior” trope, and so in Far Cry 4 the characters who believe its their job to land in a foreign country and “save it” from its own people are actually the bad guys.
Thompson has also said that Ajay will be a lot quieter than Jason, and will be silent for most of the game outside of cutscenes. In the opening cinematic, for example, Ajay says nothing while Pagan monologues at him. It will be interesting to see how this approach affects the relationship between the player and Ajay.
Far Cry 4 will be available for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 on November 18, 2014.