Far Cry 6 will have several elements in common with past games in the series. Like Far Cry 3, it will be set on a tropical island. Like Far Cry 4, the player character will become involved in a revolution against the dictator ruling the setting. Like all of the Far Cry games since Michael Mando's iconic performance as Vaas, the new game will rely on a strong villainous performance, this time from Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito as Yara's President Anton Castillo.
There is one theme found in Far Cry 3, 4, and 5 which appears to be missing from the upcoming game. There are, however, some interesting and indirect ways that the theme may still be rearing its head in Far Cry 6's story, and explored in new depth.
Many of the Far Cry games have dealt with religion in some way. Just as the series is strongly tied to its settings, there is usually a faction or plotline involving a local religion. This is most notable with the Project at Eden's Gate, the doomsday cult at the heart of Far Cry 5 and Far Cry New Dawn, but it is far from alone.
In Far Cry 3, there's the Rakyat religion. Under Vaas' sister Citra, the Rakyat believe that Jason has arrived on the Rook Islands to become the "Ultimate Warrior" of the Rakyat people. If the player chooses to side with Citra in the end, they are sacrificed in the game's final moments. The idea of a Chosen One returns in Far Cry 4, though not through the protagonist.
In Far Cry 4, Sabal's faction in the Golden Path believes they can direct Kyrat towards a better future using its ancient traditions and religion. Sabal is invested in seeing a young girl named Bhadra instated as the Tarun Batara, the living embodiment of the nation's goddess. Though the religions found in Far Cry 3, 4, and 5 all draw from different real-world inspirations, they have a clear thematic through-line.
Religion is a powerful force in the Far Cry games, but its value is often placed far more in its utility than anything moral or spiritual. In Far Cry 3, players get next-to-no insight into the Rakyat religion beyond the idea of the Ultimate Warrior who it is believed will restore the tribe and help them take back their island. Jason Brody himself gets used if he chooses to side with Citra. It is their child that will become the true leader of the Rakyat, and the game's protagonist is quickly disposed of the moment he's no longer needed.
In Far Cry 4, Sabal specifically believes in the power of Kyrat's religion as a tool for organizing and unifying his people. His disagreement with his irreligious rival Amita is about utility, not theology.
Project at Eden's Gate leader Joseph Seed is a true believer, at least in Far Cry 5. However, his religion is still a very clear means to an end for him and his followers. Seed and his cult's members plan to live through an impending apocalypse. Joseph Seed may believe that he is God's Chosen One, but while the cult constantly makes reference to Eden, their main goal is ironically earthly - survival.
The games aren't necessarily critical of religion across the board, but they are undoubtedly invested in its potential to concentrate power in the hands of individuals. Across Far Cry 3, 4, 5, and New Dawn, religion leads to no less than five separate "Chosen Ones." In Far Cry 3, there's Vaas and Jason. "The coward Vaas" rejects becoming the Ultimate Warrior, leaving that title to the game's player character. In Far Cry 4, there's Bhadra. In Far Cry 5, there's Joseph Seed, who in New Dawn comes to believe that the game's protagonist - the Captain - is actually the true Chosen One.
This need for every religion in Far Cry's world to have an earthly avatar gets at some of the series' underlying anxieties. Whether or not Far Cry's religions represent a spiritual reality is broadly irrelevant to the stories, but religion's use as a tool for concentrating powerful certainly is.
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