A Spoiler-Filled Chat About Far Cry 5's Ending

OK, it's time to talk about how Far Cry 5 ends. Like the title says, you're now entering spoiler territory.

Before we get started, here's a quick run through of each of the game's three possible endings.

The Joke Ending

First there's the "joke" one you can get just a few minutes into playing where you decide not to arrest Joseph Seed in the game's opening. It's a call back to one of Far Cry 4's endings although much easier to get.

The Bad Ending

The second ending involves doing something similar at the end of the game. When you confront Seed at the end you can choose to simply take your friends and leave. If you do, the following scene plays out.

The "Real" Ending

Then there's the third and final ending in which Seed's prophesying about the end times actually comes to pass in the form of nuclear war.


Ethan Gach: Hey Kirk. Are you feeling cleansed of sin now that you've gotten Far Cry 5's "good" (though not really) ending? To be honest the climax of the game did not go at all as I expected. After such deliberate missions with each of his siblings, I expected the confrontation with Joseph Seed to be a much more interesting and complex version of a standard Peggie outpost.

After all, you're returning to the compound you failed to make it safely out of at the beginning of the game. I was expecting a very cathartic gun fight and instead — kaboom!

Kirk Hamilton: I'm not sure if I'm feeling cleansed of sin, but I'm definitely feeling SOMEthing. I finished the game last night, and my immediate reaction was basically "lol." I, too, wasn't expecting the game to end like it did. Like a lot of things about Far Cry 5's story, ending with an unexpected apocalypse is actually pretty interesting in theory, but wound up feeling like a bunch of jumbled nonsense in practice.

Before we get too in-depth, we both agree that the "bombs go off" ending is the true ending, right?

Ethan: Yes, without a doubt. The game also seems to agree. If you choose to turn the other cheek and leave with the Sheriff, none of what happens next gets logged in your save. After the credits roll and you start playing again, it just takes you right back to before the confrontation.

The game's attempts to open up other possible outcomes is about as convincing as Seed trying to logic bomb at the end about how really you're the wrathful one.

Kirk: What's funny is, after it ended, my game got bugged so I was stuck in a loop watching the credits over and over again. (It took me back to that bug with Mary May and her long jog.) But yeah, I think the other ending, where you leave in the car and Jacob's brain-conditioning appears to make you lose consciousness and presumably kill your friends, is just a joke.

Especially because even if you did kill all your friends, it wouldn't really matter, because the apocalypse is gonna happen a few minutes after that. Just by its nature, the true ending trumps all the other possible endings.

When that first nuke went off, my immediate thought was "Huh, I guess the cult had a nuke buried in the mountains?" But then, during that driving sequence, it became clearer that no, we were just seeing a small part of the global nuclear apocalypse the Eden's Gate folks had been predicting all along. Ubisoft confirmed as much in a correction they sent to a Polygon article about the ending, so I guess that makes it canon. Was that your read on what was happening as you played?

Ethan: I don't know what it says about me that my first instinct was: "Oh, global nuclear holocaust, that scans." I think in that regard the game's curve-ball ending was somewhat successful. Does the threat of mutually assured destruction keep you up at night much Kirk?

Kirk: No more than most people, which these days means, "only semi-regularly." Though there IS always that bit of cheap excitement I get every time a game (or movie, or whatever) luridly imagines what it would look like if the whole world exploded. So I liked your review and know you were pretty mixed on the game overall — what did you think of the ending, as an ending?

Ethan: The second where you look past Seed's face to the mushroom cloud blossoming above the mountains in the distance was one of the most intensely interesting for me. It felt like it took the dread you have walking Seed out of the compound at the very beginning and inverted it. I felt like I'd spent all of the game waiting for something to happen, an event or conflict I could emotionally invest in beyond the ambient storytelling and fun gunplay.

And then for about the minute spent driving down the road as fireballs rain from above I felt like I'd found it: the game I'd been waiting to play. I don't think that makes it a good ending necessarily, but it certainly got me invested in things. I get the feeling you found it much more crass. (edited)

Kirk: Not crass, really. I actually thought it was a killer idea for an ending, even though it wasn't pulled off properly. So the whole game is about these rah-rah down home American folks taking up arms to save their homes, right? There's all this lip-service to protecting your family, and the second amendment and returning this community to what it once was. Every time you liberate a region it's like, slow-mo glory shots of people holding American flags while fireworks go off.

And that's 90 per cent of the game — you play as an agent of this mighty American steamroller, just blasting your way through these arsehole cultists who are so convinced the world is ending. And I really love the idea that actually, while you thought you were re-imposing The American Way on this backwater chaos county, the world was busy careening into an apocalypse. The thing you've been fighting to reinstate no longer exists.

That could be a hell of a twist ending, if the game had set it up properly. The problem is, it basically comes out of nowhere. Apparently there are some radio broadcasts that hint at some global conflict happening if you ever listen to the radio, which I didn't. But think about how much cooler it could've been if you had been given consistent hints that there was something else going on in the world outside; nothing major or obvious, even just a steady stream of reminders that the world exists and you're trying to get in touch with someone.

There's a kernel of a good idea in there, and one that could've tied together the rest of this messy game in a funny, if extremely cynical, way. But like a lot of things in Far Cry 5, the ending winds up feeling abrupt and kind of random.

I think when it comes down to it, this game just isn't bold or sure-footed enough to do something as subversive and exciting as a good version of that ending would have required. It's not on that level. And I do kinda wish it had been.

Ethan: I agree with everything you just said, and I think that's the key contrast the game is on the verge (although even that is probably putting it to generously) of dealing with explicitly in the way you actually play. After you beat the game the starting menu of main street in Holland Valley turns from the idealised version to something out of Fallout. But once you get back into the game itself every sign of the apocalypse has been removed and its back to liberating the remaining outposts and completely whatever sidequests are left.

Back when Far Cry 3 came out you wrote that you thought the story would have benefited if it turned out the main character was actually Vaas the whole time. I think Far Cry 5's version of that would be the bombs dropping half or two thirds of the way through, completely upending the rhythms you've become accustomed to and transforming the game into something completely different for its final act.

As it stands, it feels completely at odds with the sense of normalcy you've been tasked with restoring, which is probably why it struck so many as flat note.

Kirk: Yeah — there's a disconnect there. Part of it is that after the first ten minutes, the game basically never addresses the notion of the world outside of Hope County. Over time, that tunnel-vision reinforces how artificial everything feels. At first I was like, wait, I have a plane… why can't I just go for help? Ten or so hours in, I'd still occasionally wonder why no one ever suggested trekking over the mountains and alerting the national guard.

By the end of the game, I'd just accepted that this was basically a theme park and no one was going to behave realistically, because otherwise we wouldn't have a video game. Which, fair enough. But because of that artificial isolation, it felt unfair for the ending to say, "Remember the outside world? Oh, snap, you didn't think of THAT, did you??" And I'm like, well, no, I didn't think of the outside world because this game just spent the last 40 hours telling me the outside world didn't matter.

Ethan: The game has loose aspirations of riffing on the Twilight Zone but in the end it feels more like Goosebumps fanfic. Why are there no mobile phone towers? Why does everyone have boomboxes? Right after you confront John Seed and he's bleeding out he says at one point during his death rant, "Look at the headlines!" But clearly Hope County hasn't gotten a newspaper in ages.

His next line is "Look who's in charge," and it's about as close as the game comes to trying to hitch the Seed death cult to some larger failing in the world, and the closest it gets to foreshadowing the ending. When John says "you can feel it in your bones" I thought "Yes, I can!" And then the next thing I knew I was trying to skin 10 grizzlies to unlock a machine gun with a shark teeth decal on the magazine.

Far Cry's always seemed to be of two minds about itself, part graceless geopolitical acid trip, part shooter amusement park, and that's always made them both interesting to me but also hopelessly irreconcilable. On the one hand I want to look at the game's depiction of a nuclear apocalypse tied to the decline of American empire as clear evidence the game has a serious bone in its body, but at the end of the day it just seems to add more fuel to the fire of the existing contradiction.

Kirk: I'm with you on this series in general - I always have a great time playing Far Cry games, am always let down by the stories (even my beloved Far Cry 2!) and always have a fine old time poking and prodding at them after I finish. I didn't really buy Far Cry 5's ending, but I do appreciate that they went for something bold instead of just cruising along into the sunset like I expected them to.

Ethan: Yea, I was fully expecting something along the lines of the post-outpost liberation cutscenes, just for the whole county and with a smattering of the friends we made along the way, which would have been more deflating in the end I think. We're not the only one with thoughts though and I know our readers have been itching for a good spoiler thread to tear through in the comments. Let us know, everyone: what did you think of Far Cry 5's endings?


Comments

    my beef with the ending is the simple fact that the child murdering drug addled rapist with a massive ego and messiah complex doesnt fucking die. i have no problem with the nukes dropping and tired and true trope of the crazy religious man being right. Its Joseph not dying that ruins the ending

    What also ruins the story for me is jacob's shitty manchurian candidate bullshit. we got an ex gulf war 1 vet who's missions are completely terrible and just copy pasted bullshit. Next we have Faith and her "missions" which just 5min long cutscenes with one small bit of interactivity at the end.
    John was the family member that was actually interesting and had that Fry Cry Charisma like Vaas, Buck and Pagan Min

    I would have also been happy with a knife fight for the bunker... Kill Joseph and hunker in the bunker.
    Maybe the prepper peoples of the valley should have taken the bunkers instead of blowing up every-single-one.
    Anyway, I largely ignored the story after the first area clear and just had fun. I found that the resistance meter filled up far to quickly just doing random stuff like freeing hostages and killing VIPs. I finished the game but still have to go back and finish most of the story missions.

    I figured that it wasn't nuclear war, but that the cult had procured nukes. Heck you even climb through nuke "tubes" in the bunkers. I think its much more likely that they set it up so that the nuclear explosions would make them look like they were right all along.

    There are three explosions, with the first being In the direction of John's bunker, then Jacob and finally Faiths. Unless otherwise stated by the devs or in game this seems kind of obvious. It is in the cults interest to seem right, it is only natural that they would create a mini collapse.

    After defeating my first Seed, John, hearing his dying monologue, and running through the old Cold War missile bunker that the US is fabled to have dotting the Midwest, I knew this game’s twist ending was going to be nuclear apocalypse and Joseph was going to be right, though his and the cult’s actions were irredeemably unjustified regardless of his intentions.

    I didn’t like that you had to get captured or knocked out three times per region, as it became too cliche too quick. It was always a surprise when Jason Brody was captured in FC3. Nor did I like that the nuclear ending doesn’t allow for plot progression afterward as FC3 and FC4 do because we don’t get locked in a bunker in those endings. Also not amused with the glitch that, if you Continue from the title screen after finishing the game, reloads to immediately after Joseph’s monologue and then straight into the credit roll again.

    I enjoyed the final battles with John and Jacob. With John, after watching him tear flesh from Nick’s chest, it simply felt right to equip Nick as companion and get his own back; we both dogfought John together till he went down and I wing suit parabombed him for the final kill. With Jacob, I snuck up the back of the mountain and sniped him as soon as he turned around to spot me at near pointe blank range with the gorgeous SA-50. Good times.

    Hated the ending, wish they'd come out with a real one.

    Completely killed the game for me.

    The ending was predictable and utterly contrived, while offering no payoff to the player.

    Hated it and it ruined what was otherwise and enjoyable game.

    I want to know which idiot at Ubisoft thought that, once the nukes had gone off.. "Oh, let's take this psychopathic religious nut with us on our mad dash to a nearby bunker?" Everyone else would leave him to "tend his flock and reap what he sow" while you and your friends drive off.

    But no, a nuclear ending is not a stupid enough ending after all that, let him not only survive the crash, then strangely carry you to the exact bunker that he never knew about in the first place, only to kill that owner and now you get to be his sole companion to spend the apocalypse with him. Ubisoft writers are really stupid.

    The only thing they did get right was the very "current times" thing of blaming everyone else for your actions as to why things have gone wrong. It's like those morons that say "My marriage is over because you told my wife/husband that I was cheating on them!" Aaahh no, if you hadn't of cheated, I wouldn't have been able to tell them anything. It was your actions that caused it.

    If he and his "family" hadn't been a bunch of psychopaths that went around drugging, murdering and enslaving people, I (the player) would never had to come to arrest him in the first place and then fight for the freedom of said people. Their actions came first, but in today's society, even our politicians lay blame on those that discovered their misdeeds rather then where it belongs.. on themselves. So they got one tick for reality there.

    Finally, what's next for Far Cry 6? The Fallout version? Sorry, like GTA5 that has 10 times better vehicle control, another game franchise has done that scenario before you.. and better then you could as well.

    But I think the biggest issue I have is the fact that it all happens at that very time you "arrest" him. Talk about timing, especially after he describes the different seals of the apocalypse, it was like he had his finger on a trigger somewhere. And if you decide to drive away and not arrest him it turns out you are just imagining that encounter anyway?

    Great gameplay, visually stunning landscape but story line and cut scenes sucked arse. Way to ruin a great experience with terrible story writing and stupid ending.

    I didn't like the ending. To me, it felt like a bit of a cop out, I also didn't like that despite how evil Joseph Seed clearly was, he survived. All his horrible crimes and he survived, while everything you did to help the people of Hope County, you end up chained to a bed, in a bunker, staring at Joseph Seed. To me, it makes me feel that everything I achieved in Hope County was all for nothing. I know people are comparing the ending to Mass Effect 3 and honestly, it's a fair comparison.

    I didn't like how "open" the ending was. Where did the nukes come from? Did they come from a global catastrophe that Joseph had correctly prophesied ("oh my, Joseph was right all along") or did Joseph somehow have these nukes all along and eventually triggered them, e.g. "A seal has been broken", is the "seal" a Goddamn nuke?

    I enjoyed Far Cry 5 for the most part (except for the repetitive, force-capture moments that happens three times per region, nine times in total), but the ending just... left a real poor, sour taste.

    I would classify the ending as an 'ironic ending'. 'Ironic' because the dev creativity and effort to produce this ending, regardless of the discussion it has generated, took away any further interest in post-ending playing on, and left me with no interest what so ever to replay the game.

    The fact that I emptied a sawn off shotgun into the main protagonist at a range of a metre or so, and behold! No damage! Truly a miracle of God!

    F*** that...

    '...my immediate reaction was basically "lol."'

    Yep. That's pretty much what I did, too. I was just glad the plot was consistently crap, because it meant I wasn't disappointed when the end sucked the big one.

    At least watching the janky AI make weird decisions is fun.

    Unsatisfying is the one world I would use to describe the ending. I feel like it should have been a longer, more button-prompted-cutscene inclusive fight with a satisfying ending, perhaps similar to COD-MW3 where you resourcefully kill Makarov by makeshift hanging. I mean after all we played all those hours leading up to it! I’m still disappointed with the vehicle driving mechanics too. Thought they would scrub up on that by now.

    I propose FarCry 6 to be in the Australian outback. You could have the typical bogans who need assistance with various things and companions you meet along the way; while also including elements of aboriginal survival techniques passed down for tens of thousands of years. The story could go something like:

    The story follows FarCry 5 and the world is at war.
    The Australian defence force are fighting at the front, and have little resources to intervene in a civil uprising in a regional area of Australia. Communications are down in the region and you are part of the small military unit dispatched for recon, with the simple mission of investigating and getting information back to intelligence.

    Upon arrival to a small local town, your convoy is attacked in the night, and the unit is ambushed by cannibalistic derelicts. Amongst the chaos, in the space of a few seconds, their leader pulls you from the vehicle, landing on your back. You draw your knife but he disarms you. You land a left hook and push him off you, but your superior tells you to run and get help, because you’re outnumbered. You vault a wire fence and run into the black night panting wildly, while the feint headlights and the sound of a violent brawl fade in the distance behind you.

    *Title Roll* (Far Cry 6)

    You wake up with blurred vision, the sun blaring hot lying in the middle of nowhere. A figure looks over you. He sits you up and gives you some water from his flask - a local indigenous young man, and proceeds to tell you about what’s happening in the region.

    —————————

    My creative side stops here because I have stuff to do. But you get the idea, I think with the correct writing and creativity this could be an awesome addition to the series - in a brand new location. Survival issues like the blistering sun and lack of water could be implemented into the game.

    Let me know what you think below, maybe if you want to expand on it, and if you have any other cool ideas for FarCry 6!

    want to kill Joseph Seed? simply choose the resist option, and then fight your way through to the scene where you have to drive the SUV to the bunker. Instead of driving your SUV to the bunker, turn around and shoot Joseph in the head. a revive option will appear and after a few seconds your car will explode and kill you all in the vehicle, including Joseph. which could be a sort of acceptable ending for some. There's a YouTube video titled: "Far Cry 5 Ending: What if You Shoot Joseph Seed Before the Car Crash?" or the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfBWsJmeOKc

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