Critics don't often argue that first-person shooter games have something important to say. But some felt compelled to make such a case last year, when Far Cry 5 was unveiled at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017. In its first four iterations the Far Cry series was set in fictionalized tropical islands and developing countries; its fifth installment moves the action to rural Montana, where the antagonists are now gun-toting Christian extremists instead of foreign villains. These new baddies have invited comparisons from gamers and journalists alike to white ultra-conservative movements attracting mainstream press attention today.
While it's unlikely that Ubisoft created Far Cry 5 with contemporary movements in mind—the game has been in the works for almost five years—the game has, regardless, forced a conversation about extremism, religiosity, and gun control in America. Far Cry 5's extremists live by a motto resembling those of pro-gun religious-right activists, the Guardian noted: "Freedom, Faith and Firearms." Vice argued that the game imagined a more extreme version of modern American political polarization and the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Dialogue about the game has captured a unique moment of modern civil unrest in the United States—whether its producers intended to inspire this conversation or not.