Ubisoft continues to fumble on its stance on whether or not Far Cry 6 (part of the new Ubisoft Originals branding) is a political game. To clarify the company's official stance, the game's narrative director made a statement that Far Cry 6 is indeed political.
“Our story is political,” Navid Khavari, Far Cry 6 narrative director, simply states in his opener. He explains that a game about revolution is inherently going to be political. His statement acknowledges the topics that the game touches on, including fascism, LGBTQ+ rights, and the costs of imperialism. Khavari says that his goal was to empower his narrative team to be fearless in the stories they tell. He follows up by saying that his team also did their best in carefully representing their inspirations, which includes Cuba.
“But if anyone is seeking a simplified, binary political statement specifically on the current political climate in Cuba, they won’t find it,” says Khavari. “I am from a family that has endured the consequences of revolution. I have debated revolution over the dinner table my entire life. I can only speak for myself, but it is a complex subject that should never be boiled down to one quote.”
Ubisoft flip-flops on Far Cry 6‘s political message
Previously, however, Ubisoft said that it doesn't want the game to make a political statement. It later clarified that the game is inherently political, but doesn't want to make a political comment on Cuba specifically.
In an interview with Khavari on The Gamer, Jade King pointed out how “Ubisoft wants to have its cake and eat it.” Ubisoft's flip-flopping on their stance on whether or not Far Cry 6 is a political game can come across shallow and harmful, just as how previous Far Cry games flirted with the idea of political commentary, only to completely divorce from it. In this interview, Khavari described the game as a guerilla fantasy, which can make the game seem like it's taking light the political plight of revolutionaries. What's worse is that the game's “tongue-in-cheek humour and absurd combat mechanics” does not mesh well with the game's supposed darker tone.
Khavari says that it's the Far Cry DNA working here. “It’s part of the brand DNA, where we have these wild and crazy moments and contrast that with deep and meaningful storytelling,” says Khavari. “For me, approaching this, it is kind of the beauty of the guerilla fantasy.”
That art and video games can be political in nature seem to still be a touchy subject for Triple-A publishers. However, it's good that they are now more willing to talk about it than before.
One would wonder, however, whether these statements are made to satisfy different bases in the video gaming community. Are these games made to be political to attract more political gamers? Then, statements that the game isn't meant to have a political comment there to subdue the angry crowd who wants their games to be apolitical? If not, then why is Ubisoft not clear with its stance right from the get-go?
Ubisoft could have avoided this confusion had they been clearer in their messaging earlier on. However, as Khavari implored viewers at the end of his statement, let's let Far Cry 6 speak for itself. “My only hope is that we are willing to let the story speak for itself first before forming hard opinions on its political reflections.”