A “New Dawn” of Progressivism in Far Cry

Like many fans of the Far Cry series, I was eager to see the next entry into the series of first-person shooter, action, RPG (the weapon, not the game type) and what mix of quirky humor and quests involving wild drug trips would have to offer. For context, Far Cry New Dawn takes place 17 years after the events of Far Cry 5 (obvious game spoilers ahead).

For those of you who don’t know the ending of the previous game, Joseph Seed, cult leader, and religious fanatic, is confronted by you (the rookie deputy) and your law enforcement associates. You put handcuffs on him, and seconds later nuclear bombs are dropped, and you rush to the safety of a doomsday prepper bunker, making you and Joseph the only survivors (as far as you know).

Joseph Seed talks to you in the bunker at the end of Far Cry 5

New Dawn takes place in the same location as the last game, Hope County, Montana, but this time after nuclear fallout has occurred and the United States has experienced a “bloom” of plants and wildlife as a result of limited human interaction. The landscape you explore is covered in grass and pink everything — flowers and graffiti from the enemy gang, the Highwaymen, are colored in an over-saturated pink like Barbie was God and took a tab of LSD before reshaping the world in Her image.

A still taken from New Dawn — everything is pink

You play as “The Security Captain”, a gender-neutral member of a group of survivors who, with the help of Thomas Rush, a former military member, aid in the reconstruction of fallen cities along the west coast. You travel by train, and it is on this train that you select your initial “Body Type” — a far cry (couldn’t resist) from traditional games which asked to choose your gender on the binary scale like Pokemon (up until recent years).

“Are you a boy? Or a girl?”, Pokemon Red, 1996
“Are you a boy? Or a girl?”, Pokemon Black/White 2, 2012
“Choose Your Hero”, Pokemon Sun/Moon, 2016. This is the first entry that doesn’t explicitly give you “Boy” and “Girl” as a choice and includes options for other races.
The “Body Type” selection screen at the start of the New Dawn, 2019.

Another step forward New Dawn makes is the amount of strong and compelling female characters (they’re everywhere, like the pink coloration in this game). The main villains, Lou and Mickey, are the most obvious example. Leaders of the Highwaymen, the twins bring graffiti and destruction wherever they go. This isn’t the first entry in the Far Cry series to have a villain be female (Faith Seed in Far Cry 5 was the first), but this is the first time the villains are black, instead of German, English, white, Spanish, or of Asian descent.

Lou (L) and Mickey (R) in New Dawn as compared to…
…a selection of some of the villains in previous Far Cry games. Left to Right: Vaas Montenegro, Joseph Seed, Pagan Min

The “Guns for Hire” system in the previous game has been revamped and includes a majority of female allies. Out of the 8 total allies to choose from, 2 are animals (a dog and a boar), 2 are male (Pastor Jerome and fan-favorite Hurk), 1 is gender neutral (The Judge) and 3 are female (Carmina Rye, Gina Guerra, and Nana).

Guns for Hire in New Dawn, featuring Carmina Rye

Carmina Rye helps organize Hope County survivors, wields an assault rifle and is always ready to help others. She helped rescue your character at the beginning sequence of the game and plays a vocal role in the storyline. Nana is an old woman with some memory loss, but she’s a great sniper and claims she’s “never gonna die” (side note: this game also speaks to the authority of the elderly — Nana and Pastor Jerome are in their 60s and still command a significant amount of power). During my assault of a base, Nana took a lot of damage and was struck down, waiting to be revived. As soon as she went down, she said “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up! … I hate being a cliche”.

Nana, the elderly sniper

Gina Guerra is an ex-Highwayman, a mother and swears like a sailor. She doesn’t want to be a stereotypical mom, “bak[ing] cookies and sh*t”, and wields a massive LMG (light machine gun).

Gina, the badass mom

As I played through the game, I found myself favoring Nana as a companion. What better way to stealthily infiltrate a stronghold than commanding her to shoot enemies with a silenced weapon from far away? But later on, when I unlocked Gina, I found myself playing with her by my side more than Nana. I don’t think there’s a comparable experience to going into an enemy base, both armed with LMGs that spray bullets everywhere, back to back mowing through waves of Highwaymen, her screaming at the top of her voice and taking an ungodly amount of damage before needing a revival. One of my favorite lines of dialogue from her was when I was scoping out a place through binoculars, she whispered to me “Gimme the go and imma f**k that b**** up”.

Gina doing exactly what she said she’d do

Overall, the game’s story was lackluster. The ending was pretty predictable, and it did feel like a DLC for Far Cry 5. However, it was really cool to see some of the previous locations in the first game and what happened to them after nature took over. Treasure Hunts in the game were always fun to see, and the notes left behind by other people in the game world added some sense of slight realism.

While Far Cry New Dawn isn’t worth the asking price of $40 (I’d definitely wait until Black Friday where it will inevitably go between $10 and $15), it is taking steps in the right direction. Far Cry New Dawn brings to light new ways in which the general public is represented in video games, and puts inclusivity at the forefront of the game. It’s a shame that I finished it in about 20 hours — I would’ve liked to see more of the stories of each of the new Guns for Hire, especially Nana and Gina.

What do you guys think? Is New Dawn taking steps in the right direction for progressivism? Should there have been more content? Do you see any future for the Far Cry 5 series and the denizens of Hope County? Let me know in the comments!

University of Cincinnati MBA Candidate, 2021 • Digital Marketer • Writer • Audience Growth Hacker • Gaming Aficionado • Miami University Class of 2020

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