“Far Cry 6″ draws on some of Cuba’s obvious visual decorations, especially cars and buildings, but Narrative Director Navid Khavari said in an interview last week that the game is not intended to be “a political statement about what’s happening in Cuba specifically.” This is a reasonable position, but it is widely interpreted to mean that Far Cry 6 is not political at all, and is critical to the revolution against the fascist dictator on the Caribbean islands.
So far, this is an understandable response: Ubisoft has never been particularly good at solving questions about the political nature of its games. For example, in 2018, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot admitted that their games were political, but tried to remain neutral. The vice president of editorial Tommy Francois said a year later that Ubisoft is making “mature” video games, not political games. It is a bit difficult to classify, especially if it comes from a production of a company, for example, Ghost Recon Wildlands, which is a large budget shooting game, inserting a team of US commandos into a sovereign nation for some off-the-books mayhem.
The response was strong to prompt Khavari to go deeper on the matter in an update posted today, in which he explicitly states that “our story is political.”
“A story about a modern revolution must be,” Khavari wrote. “There are hard, relevant discussions in Far Cry 6 about the conditions that lead to the rise of fascism in a nation, the costs of imperialism, forced labor, the need for free-and-fair elections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more within the context of Yara, a fictional island in the Caribbean.”
Khavari said that the developers of Far Cry 6 were not only inspired by Cuba, but also by other countries in the world that have experienced political revolutions. They work with people who can “speak personally” about the history and culture of these inspirations, and consulted experts to ensure that the story is “told with sensitivity.”
“The conversations and research done on the perspectives of those who fought revolutions in the late 1950s, early 1960s, and beyond are absolutely reflected in our story and characters,” Khavari wrote. “But if anyone is seeking a simplified, binary political statement specifically on the current political climate in Cuba, they won’t find it. 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.”
Khavari said players to “let the story speak for itself” no matter what they think of Ubisoft’s storytelling ambitions before judging its policy. It is foolish to think that the game about overthrowing the dictator may not have a certain political orientation to some extent, but it is impossible to judge it as an unrecognizable analogue of Cuba based on artistic resources and basic geographical background.