Far Cry is a series that’s historically known for its antagonists. The games feature fearsome, charismatic characters who draw thousands of people to them and their ideologies. Even you, the protagonist of the game and supposed good guy, may be given cause to think twice about your actions against them – they might even convince you that you’re the one who’s in the wrong.
A militaristic dictator, a religious cult leader, a crime lord, and a guy who taught us the definition of insanity; the antagonists of the Far Cry series have always embodied what could be considered social evils. Unleashing armies of bloodthirsty goons upon some unfortunate country/city/island is one thing, but doing so with a righteous authority is what makes them truly terrifying.
Far Cry 6’s Anton Castillo looks like he fits the role perfectly. Played by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, his stoic and intimidating presence exudes dominance. Based on what little we’ve seen of him, he is a man who controls everything around him, including his own son. A regular Los Pollos Dictator.
Unlike dictators, Far Cry games present you with a choice at the end. However, these endings don’t showcase the consequences of your decision – the result is left to your imagination. Your part in the story is over after you choose which path to take, but you’re left wondering what would happen to the population of Kyrat or Hope County once you leave.
That brings me to the choice you may have to make in Far Cry 6. Yara is perhaps the most grounded setting that the series has presented in the last few entries. Militarized cult leaders and crime family rulers still exist, of course, but they don’t have the impact of a President. While killing Joseph Seed would only affect his followers and his victims, taking out Castillo would essentially be a coup.
We live in a world where dictatorships still exist, often under the guise of democracy, and that’s where it gets tricky. How do you fight absolute power when it doesn’t exist on paper? The term ‘President’ is democratic in nature, and yet it is used by authoritarian leaders.
Now if it was Emperor Castillo, deposing him and putting the crown on a new ruler would be simple. But Presidents like Castillo remain in power only because they present the illusion that they rose up through the system. Once they’re there, the system is manipulated to ensure that nobody can challenge them. If you dare try another way, you’re a rebel.
Far Cry 6 has presented Castillo as a man who is clearly irredeemably evil, followed by an army of mindless henchmen. But in the real world, a leader like Castillo would have been much more subtle about it. A rally suppressed here, a candidate assassinated there – the portrayed image would always depict a shining beacon of democracy.
Ubisoft could call in plot devices to make your final decision – whatever it may be – much easier. But the truth is that dealing with a man like Castillo will always have negative fallout. Killing him could create a power vacuum, leading to decades of conflict. Letting him go would be a grave injustice to the oppressed population. And he could always come back stronger if you chose to exile him.
The bitter truth is that no matter how you go about it – internally or externally – Yara can’t be saved by merely getting rid of Castillo. An internal party could take the reins by force, but would probably be ill-equipped to deal with the social and economic damage that his regime already did. No matter the outcome, suffering is guaranteed.
After the dust settles, the crown is often grabbed by the person with the most power left, leading to the cycle starting all over again. In an ideal world, these people would never have been allowed to come to power in the first place – once you enable a dictatorship, the effects last much longer than the initial reign.
So that begs the question, what do you do with Él Presidenté and the nation of Yara? How do you topple his regime without facing the consequences? I don’t expect Ubisoft to have the answer to such a complicated scenario. But it’s one the developers shouldn’t take lightly.
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