Far Cry 5's Ending Answers The Game's Biggest Questions

While on vacation last week, I finally finished Far Cry 5. Though I'd already spoiled myself on the ending (occupational hazard), I was surprised by how moving I found it when I finally got there. The end wraps up the game's biggest questions in a satisfying way.

The characters in Far Cry 5 are deeply concerned with endings. Central to Hope County's cult, The Project at Eden's Gate, is what they see as the imminent end of the world, which they call The Great Collapse.

To protect people from this impending apocalypse, cult leader Joseph Seed and his followers recruit as many people as they can, whether those people are willing to join or not. It's the player's job to stop the cult, mostly through killing its members.

Far Cry 5 has several possible endings, but the only one that actually ends the game involves the sudden detonation of a nuclear bomb. It felt like a curveball to many players, a bit of a deus ex machina, or like it made your actions in the rest of the game moot. The bomb is foreshadowed a little throughout the game, but it's still a shocking moment.

Then, after the explosion, the game sets its sights on a more grounded theme: family.

You flee Joseph's compound and make a chaotic drive to resistance member Dutch's bunker. Your comrades are dead, and your vision fades to black. When you wake up, you find yourself alone in the bunker with Joseph. He talks about God and politics. He gloats briefly that the explosion "means I was right," but then the topic changes. He sits down across from you and says:

"I prepared my family for this moment, and you took them from me. I should kill you for what you've done, but you're all I have left now. You're my family...I am your father, and you are my child."

Joseph has a strange relationship to family. He was in foster care when he was younger, according to Ubisoft's live-action film. In a cutscene after the second time you're captured by Jacob, he tells you he had a wife who was pregnant, which scared him.

She died in an accident, but the baby survived, which led Joseph, believing he was being tested by God, to suffocate the child. While Jacob and John appear to be Joseph's biological siblings, his sister Faith is adopted, in a loose sense.

He conscripts different women into the role, seeming to want a sister so badly that he tries to create one. Joseph mourns his siblings passionately when you defeat them. He mourns his lost followers, whom he calls his family. However ambivalent he might have felt about family in the past, he clearly doesn't feel that way during the events of the game.

There's something Biblical about this conflict. In Luke 14:26, Jesus says his followers must "hate" their parents, and in Matthew 10:37 he says believers should love him more than their parents or children.

At the same time, the Bible advocates for having a family and children, such as in Psalm 127:5, the foundation of the family-obsessed Quiverfull movement.

In Mark, Jesus rejects his biological family in favour of a family of believers. There are threads of all of this in Joseph Seed, from separation from his parents to rejecting his child to his desperation to create a new family related by faith rather than blood.

If we believe Joseph's story about the loss of his wife and child, the Joseph we meet in the game is a changed man. He is frantic for a family, desperate to bring everyone to him and keep them there. He will make himself a family even if it means kidnapping, drugging, or torturing people.

It's easy to see the cult as a response to his own damaged family life, or as a way for him to feel loved and powerful. But I also saw family as an antidote to the loss that's plagued Joseph both personally and in the form of his apocalyptic visions. He seems to believe family will keep people safe from tragedy, from loneliness, from endings.

He's not wrong. At the end of Far Cry 5, you and Joseph outlive everyone. Neither of you loses or fails. You get what you wanted: The cult has lost its stranglehold on Hope County. And Joseph not only gets his family - you - but he keeps that family safe from The Great Collapse.

Because of you, he doesn't have to face the end. In the bunker, he tells you, "When this world is ready to be born anew, we will step into the light. I am your father, and you are my child. Together, we will march to Eden's Gate."

This is meant to be threatening, maybe - you're stuck in a bunker with a seeming madman who plans to repopulate the Earth with you - but I found it creepily touching. Far Cry 5's ending delivers what everyone in its world has longed for through the game's music and theology, through its political rhetoric and doomsday preppers, through the player's quest to reunite their friends.

Togetherness. Safety. Persistence in the face of tragedy. Joseph's confidence in his mission wasn't unfounded. The Project at Eden's Gate makes good on its promises.

It's grim and disturbing, sure. The inevitability of it feels nihilistic. But the particulars of Far Cry 5's ending are what the game has been arcing to all along. Joseph gets his family, and the world doesn't really end. The ending might be jarring, but the pieces of it were there all along. 


Comments

    Garbage ending that insults the player and shpuld have been shot down. Its not a curve ball its a directpr that cant feel how the game has gone different from their vision of kevin smiths original version of red state.

    The one where he wanted to turn an average movie into a oh crap hes gone george lucas mad reel him in and have a batshit ending that didnt fit.

    Only here no one stopped it.

    If it wasnt for that ending it was the best game in the last year.

    With these endings... ots a gane that was awesome and exciting and cant wait for the season pass and the level editor to meh.

    Yeah... you need to lay off the bliss, Riley. Seriously.

    And for the record, I didn't get what i wanted in any ending: to beat Jacob's head to a sticky pulp with something blunt.

    ^^Nemesis is right. The nuke ending was garbage. They all were.

    I remember the intro to FarCry 5 having Hope County citizens talking to a camera crew in a documentary style about the cult. I thought they were talking about the cult in the past tense which would imply they were making the documentary after the events of the game.
    I wonder if the original ending was removed and they put together this ending for some reason later during development.

    They could fix it with DLC if they make this ending was the rookie being indoctrinated into cult and the bliss controlled what he was seeing.

    Self serving psychobabble to justify poor creativity...in other words, the ending was artyfarty. Family, rubbish...what sort of family? The Manson family. Those folk needed redemption, through public summary justice...an old fashion lynching, in other words.

    I can't begin to tell you how much I disagree with this article. The ending was terrible. The worst ending to a game I've played in nearly 40 years. Compare this offering to AC: Origins and it looks even worse.

    What was the point of collecting all the things if the whole world is going to be destroyed anyway? Seriously, a waste of my time. It was a great game right up until the bomb dropped. I doubt it will ever grace my console again.

      So then I guess alien isolation was a waste as well as you die in the end same with great indie games like what remains of Edith finch, observer. Or the vanishing of Ethan Carter turns out you were just his imagination
      Does everything have to be such basic 80's action movie as man fights bad guy, man wins, man greatest man ever.

    He's going to have a tough time trying to repopulate the Earth with only me - I chose a male character.

    I was more annoyed at being captured the first time, but I put up with it because sometimes plot's gotta plot. The second time I was angry, but by I think the fourth or fifth time I was wondering why I didn't have a 'frequent kidnappee' card for them to stamp.

    "Oh hey, player. You might think this is a power fantasy, but we're just going to remind you that you don't actually have any agency whatsoever by robbing you of it any time we want to make a point. Remember that your actions are preordained, now!"

    I actually buy wholly into the 'Player Deputy is the second coming of Jesus' theory, and that the game is basically the book of revelations. I read it just to see how badly it needed to be mocked, but walked away convinced.

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