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Far Cry 6 inspired by former Cuban guerrillas, says narrative director

Yesterday's Far Cry 6 cinematic trailer (which you can also see above) revealed that the new game will take place in Yara, an island that's fallen into neglect and bloodshed under the rule of dictator Antón Castillo. In a Q&A post at ubisoft.com, narrative director Navid Khavari said that the setting is inspired by Cuba, which the development team visited in preparation for the game.

"We wanted to tell a story about revolution, and when you tell a story about revolution, you’re talking about guerrilla warfare. When you’re talking about guerrilla warfare, you go to Cuba," Khavari said.

"I spent about a month down there with the team, circumnavigating the island. We got to meet so many amazing people and experience the music and the culture, and we also met actual former guerrillas. And that really was the jumping-off point, because for our island of Yara, not only did we want to tell a story of a modern guerrilla revolution, but also we want to tell a story about an island that is almost frozen in time, like a living postcard from the ‘60s that players can experience and walk through."

Ubisoft wanted to contrast that surface beauty with the ugly brutality of a man who came to power on the promise of restoring the island's lost fortunes and glory, but is using his position to oppress the masses. It won't be a "simple black-and-white world," though, as Castillo will be an intelligent, charismatic, and complex character whose worldview was "distorted" when he was young—and who still has supporters among Yara's people.

The events seen in the cinematic trailer are "separate from the game," but Castillo's son will play a large role in defining the game's villain, Khavari said. "The turning point for us, when we felt we were on to something, was when we thought of this idea of Antón as a dictator. He’s in charge of the country; he believes he's doing the right thing by enslaving his population. But you take someone like that, and then you couple that with having a teenage son—Diego is 13 years old—and I think, for us, that's something that Far Cry has never really had. It allows for a complex dynamic."

Going by what we saw from Far Cry 5, which came out swinging but ended up saying nothing, I don't have a lot of hope that Far Cry 6 will really dig into the complexities of a place like Cuba/Yara, or the people that live there. The Castillo clan will hopefully make for interesting villains, though: Khavari said actor Giancarlo Esposito, who will portray Antón Castillo, "understood Far Cry and what it means to have a powerful Far Cry antagonist immediately."

"I think that's something that Giancarlo Esposito really keyed in on when we met and talked about the character. He wanted to get into what makes Antón tick, what makes a dictator become who they are, and he really keyed in on this idea of, 'Wait, this is a father. This is someone who genuinely loves his son.' Communicating that was almost like a way in for him to understand and relate to Antón," Khavari said.

"And then on Diego’s side, the way I like to see it is, he's a 13-year-old teenager; I remember being 13, everyone remembers being 13. You don't know what you're doing! You don't know what to believe, you're trying to figure out who you are. Do I hate my parents? Do I love my parents? You take this 13-year-old teenager, and what Anthony Gonzalez did that was brilliant was that he communicates that conflict. He wants to forge his own path and be his own person, but he feels this obligation—because he loves his father—to be pulled to this darker territory by following his father's footsteps."

Far Cry 6 is set to come out on February 18, 2021.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.