When Ubisoft announced Far Cry 5, it confirmed that the game would include a female protagonist option. In a new interview, Ubisoft now explains why it chose to allow players to choose a playable female character and why it’s so important to offer character customization.
Ubisoft also discusses how Far Cry 5 manages to combine its more serious theme about cults with over the top and more ‘silly’ sequences such as the Gun For Hire gameplay.
Far Cry 5 Developer Explains Why Character Customization is So Important
Speaking to the Official PlayStation Magazine UK (Issue #142, December 2017), Far Cry 5‘s creative director Dan Hay explains why the game will feature no default character, making it the first game in the franchise to do so.
“We absolutely said right from the beginning that in this game we wanted you to be able to pick who you are and we didn’t want the voice of what we were thinking to get in the way of what you were thinking. If you’re playing the game and you have an experience and you want to tell ‘Holy s***!’ it does no good to have [your character] go ‘golly gosh.’
You want to be able to say what you feel and you want to be able to experience it. If you’re not scared in the moment, you won’t yell, if you are scared in the moment, you will. If you like a character you’ll be like: ‘oh this character’s cool!’ But it doesn’t do any good if your player character is like: ‘Hey, thanks for all the help.’ It doesn’t feel like you.
So we absolutely unequivocally wanted to make it so that you could go out and and you could choose whether you are male or female, you could choose what you look like so that it felt like you, and you could embody the nature of how you wanted to play.”
Hay’s comments touch upon one of the main reasons why many call for playable female characters in games: immersion. There are some stories, like those of Far Cry 5‘s nondescript deputy, where it isn’t important that the character be male (or white, or straight.)
In these cases, keeping the character as such only serves to make non-white/male/straight players feel disconnected from the experience. Players just want to imagine themselves as the hero of a story and see themselves reflected (in that story) on-screen.
During the interview, Hay also explains how Far Cry 5 will keep its serious tone, even as players are sending their canine companion (Boomer) to go and steal weapons off of enemies or as they’re calling up their Guns For Hire for backup.
The developer says that the team is going to “make sure that we can give you powerful, engaging moments. We can give you moments of humanity, moments of comedy, moments of all these different things, and it doesn’t feel like whiplash as you move from one to the other.”
If Far Cry 5 is able to get that balance right then experiencing all of these moments as a player character that looks like you could be all the more entertaining. The game will be released early next year, so there’s not long to wait and see if Hay and the team at Ubisoft have managed to pull it off.
Far Cry 5 will be released on February 27, 2018 on Windows PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
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