There’s no escaping that Far Cry 5’s Montana location is… interesting. Where before the game used exotic settings in far away countries to create a safe layer of separation from the action, this is a modern day US set shooter, taking aim at small town America. Deposing maniacal despots and Island gangs is one thing, fighting a raging gun battle through familiar everyday streets is tricker.
But it’s something films and TV have never had any trouble with. Movies about fighting bad guys in American towns and cities happen all the time and no one hisses through their teeth and raises an eyebrow. When I mention this to executive producer Dan Hay, he agrees. “For me it’s an interesting commentary, it’s an interesting thought. Films and games have been doing this for a long time. And what I like is, it feels like games have come of age and we can start to explore stuff like this.”
That doesn’t mean isn’t Far Cry 5 isn’t going to avoid controversy: there’s no war or apocalypse to justify or excuse the shooting - shooting American people on American streets. Hay isn’t oblivious to this, but thinks games as a medium are now up to the task of dealing with it, pointing to how “television started to explore stuff that was really unique and interesting” as it matured. “Yes, it’s going to make some interesting commentary,” he says. “But the reality of it is that games have come around to the point where they can explore this. There’s discussions, there’s characters, there’s opportunities for that exploration. So I feel like we’ve just started to really come on par with television and movies and there’s really an opportunity for us to do that.”