Far Cry 5’s antagonist Joseph is all about freedom, faith and firearms

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Far Cry games aren’t defined by their open worlds filled to the brim with distracting sandbox filler, but rather the people inside of that murder-pit who emerge to menace your ass. Far Cry 3 really got the ball rolling with the introduction of antagonists such as Vaas and the stereotypically Souff Effriken Hoyt Volker. Far Cry 4 stepped up its villain game even further with Pagan Min, a charismatic leader whose only gal at the start of the fourth core game was to allow protagonist Ajay Ghale to spread the ashes of his deceased mother across the air currents of Kyrat.

Y’know, if you’d actually sat still for 15 minutes and done so, you impatient bloodthirsty person you.

Far Cry 5’s lead villain is a bit different. Going by the name of Joseph, he’s a holy man on a quest to spread his gospel, one bullet at a time if necessary. “He hears a voice,” executive producer Dan Hay said to Polygon.

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He has a mandate, and what he believes is that he has been chosen to protect people from the collapse, to save them, and he’s going to save them whether they want to be saved or not. … They believe we must be prepared to be tested, that we’re going to have to harvest souls. And souls don’t harvest themselves.

That’s a bit relevant considering the history of the US with religious cults. While Scientology and whatever evangelical Christianity manages to fleece its followers with alarming regularity without the need to ever take up arms, the same can’t be said for those incidents in the more rural areas of North America that resulted in the tragedy at Waco and the mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate cult.

A charismatic leader with a flock of devout followers ready to die in his name? Yeah, you’ll be doing a lot of culling when the true believers of Joseph’s cult locks on to you. A fact that already has many a US gamer divided over the idea of killing their own state neighbor over in digital Montana’s fictional Hope County. It may not be a real town in Far Cry 5’s slice of Montana, but the idea of killing your way across a state that finds itself locked in real-world battles over ideology and the right to bear arms is still a controversial one.

“We actually went to Montana and we visited,” Hay explained.

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What was really interesting was what we learned there: this concept of freedom, faith and firearms.

People from that region don’t necessarily trust the government. They don’t want to be f***ed with. They want to be left alone. They have a pretty goddamn good bullshit detector. When we were there, they absolutely didn’t want to be lied to, and this resonating feeling of freedom, faith — and the firearms to protect those two things — came back again and again. So that’s what we’re doing. And we’re applying that to the Far Cry series.

I’ve always thought that Far Cry at its best narratively was when the series was self-aware of its ludicrous nature and ran wild with it. Far Cry 5 sounds like a far more sombre take on the franchise, one that is bound to get the most overzealous people in media and politics frothing at the mouth like a dog with a severe case of Rabies. It’s going to be wonderful to watch the lunatics triggered in the build-up to the release of Far Cry 5.

Last Updated: May 29, 2017

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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