Most if not all video games have a central villain. Players are generally supposed to feel more and more hatred towards this bad guy as they progress through the game. This is especially true of all of the titles in the Crytek and Ubisoft Montreal-developed Far Cry franchise.

Each villain in the four titles of the franchise, including the upcoming Far Cry 4, plays a central role in driving their respective games’ story forward, each title evolving in depicting the reasoning and motives of said villain.


This first-person shooter series began with the humble Far Cry. Released for Microsoft Windows on March 23 of 2004, Far Cry puts players in the shoes of ex-US Army Special Forces operative Jack Carver, who has the seemingly-simple task of finding the journalist he had just finished escorting right before his boat was attacked, while at the same time trying to find a way off of the South Pacific Micronesian archipelago they are stranded on with the help of a mysterious man named Doyle. Simple, right?

In comes Dr. Krieger, the CEO of big-time genetic company Krieger Corporation. Being the insane person that he is, however, Dr. Krieger and his company are running genetic tests for an experimental serum on animals and humans, using the archipelago islands much like InGen did with Isla Nublar and surrounding islands in Jurassic Park. The final mutated product of being injected with the serum, which enhances all physical and mental abilities, are called Trigens. These superpowered beings, however, are also equally-cursed by becoming something like the Hulk, in that they become superpowered and grotesque as a result, as well as suffering from an irreconcilable rage.


An ape Trigen in Far Cry

Turns out the “journalist,” named Val Constantine, is an undercover CIA agent investigating Krieger Corp.’s activities on the archipelago. Still pretty manageable. But it gets even tougher when the human test subjects of Krieger begin a rebellion against the doctor and his projects. Jack and Val later learn that the good doctor possesses a tactical nuke to clean up his “mess” if things got out of hand, and things do get out of hand rather quickly, with the domination of the islands by the rebelling Trigens.

After learning that the doctor dreams of transforming all humans into the master-species, Jack is forced to fight his way through a horde of Trigens alone, while showing signs of infection by the serum. He eventually makes it to Krieger’s cliche volcanic base, and is forced to square off with a mutated semi-Trigen version of Krieger, who also suffered from infection by the serum.

As luck would have it, Krieger reveals in his dying moments to Jack that infection can occur by injection only, and also remarks how beautiful of a Trigen Jack would make if the infection went to completion. Jack realizes that he must have unknowingly infected himself with the serum when he took the “antidote.” Doyle appears to them on a display in the room, explaining that in taking the serum for himself, those who would weaponize and/or use it strategically would pay big bucks to its supplier.

Jack, being the heroic figure, tracks down and fights with Doyle, and of course wins, taking a vial of the real antidote with him. Now cured, Jack and Val escape in the nick of time, leaving the islands to the whim of the sweeping hands of the volcanic eruption.

Nice story, huh? Dr. Krieger was a prime example of committing and creating atrocities, but with the best intentions. As we will see, Far Cry 2 and 3 have similar themes with their villains.


Dr. Krieger in Far Cry

2008 saw the release of Far Cry 2, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and set in a generic unspecific country in Africa. The player fills the role of a mercenary hired to neutralize The Jackal, an arms-dealer who supplies both of the factions involved in the war raging in the country: the Alliance for Popular Resistance (APR), comprised of foreigners looking to unite African countries, and the United Front for Liberation and Labour (UFLL), comprised of natives seeking to preserve their country from the APR.

Near the beginning of the game, the player contracts malaria and falls dangerously ill. The player wakes up to find The Jackal in his hotel room, where The Jackal rants about the nonexistence of good and evil, instead calling the struggle a game of power. Left a pistol and a machete by The Jackal, the player is quickly caught up in taking jobs and completing assignments for both of the factions as they progress through the game.

The player is faced some time later with a hard choice: help save fellow mercenaries branded as traitors at the local bar, or help save civilians down at the Church. With either choice, the player eventually loses in the fight, but later wakes up on and rolls off of a truck bringing the dead to a mass grave in the desert. The player loses consciousness after finding shelter in a sandstorm, and again wakes up to The Jackal beside him, this time while his wounds are being treated by the arms-dealer, who tells the player that in order to stop the violence and bloodshed in the region from reigniting and starting the cycle again, all organizations and factions must instead be eliminated.


The Jackal in Far Cry 2, a weapons-dealer who shows that villains aren’t always bad

Some time later, the leader of the rival faction of whichever faction betrayed you recruits the player, letting him take revenge for himself by killing the rival faction leader during a public troop rally. The player is then assigned another mission, this time to reignite the inter-faction war in order to prevent the subordinates of each faction from being blamed if the faction leaders work out a peace deal. Turns out the weapons shipment that the factions start fighting because of is The Jackal’s, but has the marks of the rival faction of your own faction.

Working for your faction in exchange for info about The Jackal’s whereabouts, you are later sent to get a suitcase of diamonds to broker another tentative peace deal, but the retrieval goes horribly wrong and becomes a set-up by The Jackal himself. The Jackal knocks out and frames the player for the deaths of your fellow faction members in the room with the suitcase of diamonds. Despite this, the player is later called by the faction leader to kill the leader of the rival faction. Once you do, you have the choice of either following your orders to kill the current leader of your faction in order to put in power other mercenaries, or going back and killing the mercenaries who wanted to take power.

After a series of events and another mission where you choose to betray the faction leader or kill the mercenaries trying to take power, you end up saving the life of a journalist who recurs throughout the game, named Reuben Oluwagembi, a war correspondent. Reuben tells you that The Jackal is at the Prison.


Reuben Oluwagembi, war correspondent/journalist in Far Cry 2

Once you meet with The Jackal, the player ends up working together with him because of The Jackal’s shift towards wanting to end the war. A mission from The Jackal to recover diamonds from a crash site leads the player to finding them in the possession of his former allies, forcing the player to choose to either run away and let his former allies take the diamonds, or kill them to take the diamonds to The Jackal. A second mission from The Jackal sets the player to kill the remaining two lieutenants of the two factions, who have now united.

In a noble decision, The Jackal informs the player that they must both kill themselves after establishing a way out for the country’s refugees to flee because they are both unfit to live in regular society. One will bring the diamonds to the border to bribe the guards then shoot himself, while the other will set off a car battery bomb in a canyon to stop guards from preventing the refugees from leaving. Either path the player chooses results in death for a good cause, although it is not 100% known if The Jackal also dies, since no body is ever found.

A fitting way to seek redemption, isn’t it? Pave the way for millions of refugees in exchange for your life, which was itself riddled with violence, murder and betrayal. The villains’ redemption, so to speak, similar in a way to Darth Vader’s redemption scene in Star Wars Episode VI.

If Far Cry 2 seemed open-world and dynamically player-driven, then Far Cry 3 should probably be even more so, right? Let’s find out….

Published in 2012 and again developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Far Cry 3 returns to the Asian-Pacific roots of the original Far Cry, this time at an archipelago called the Rook Islands. The story revolves around Americans Jason Brody and friends, who are enjoying a celebratory vacation skydiving trip.


Jason Brody, the protagonist of Far Cry 3

They accidentally land on an island of pirates, where they are soon taken prisoner by Vaas, a sadistic and insane pirate lord. In classic villain style, Vaas intends to get ransom money for his release, but later sell him into slavery anyway. Jason manages to escape, but at the cost of the life of his brother, Grant. Dennis, a member of the indigenous Rakyat warriors, rescues Jason and bestows upon him Rakyat warrior tattoos.

After completing some missions for the warrior tribe and rescuing one of his friends, Jason becomes the second outsider after Dennis, who is Liberian, to be allowed into the Rakyat sacred temple. Jason is officially initiated into the tribe by their leader, Citra. He finds the Rakyat relic dagger, the Dragon Knife. Over the course of several missions, during which Jason rescues his remaining captive friends and slowly but surely helps the Rakyat reconquer the island, Jason receives assistance from Dr. Earnheardt, who housed one of his friends until Jason found her, and CIA agent William Huntley. Jason later discovers that Vaas is Citra’s brother, and that Vaas is being used by slave trader Hoyt Volker.

What’s most fascinating and believable (mostly) of the entire game is the gradual progression of Jason from innocent tourist to fearless killing-machine, making the Rakyat highly admire his skill. However, as a result, he also loses his connection and desire to go home with his friend, who are using Dr. Earnheardt’s house as a base of operations and have decided to prepare a boat to leave. Citra, for some reason, decides to drug Jason and have sex with him.


Vaas Montenegro, the psychpathic brother of Citra in Far Cry 3

Jason travels to the pirate base to take on Vaas, a fight which he wins even with hallucinations causing multiple Vaas’s to appear. Having fallen unconscious after stabbing Vaas and woken up at the Rakyat temple with Citra beside him, Jason resolves to also kill Hoyt Volker, the true proverbial head-of-the-snake. With Huntley’s help, Jason and Sam Becker, a colleague of Huntley, successfully infiltrate Hoyt’s island and personal army. They grow close enough to Hoyt to be invited to a poker night and learn that Riley, one of Jason’s friends who was thought dead, is still alive as Hoyt’s prisoner. Unfortunately, disaster strikes during the poker game: Sam is killed while playing with Hoyt, who reveals he knew about their planned treachery. Jason and Hoyt square off with knives, but Jason eventually wins out, then goes and rescues Riley. They escape by helicopter back to Dr. Earnheardt’s house, but find it in flames and the doctor on the ground. Jason learns from the doctor that the Rakyat came and attacked his house, taking his friends in the process.

Arriving at the temple to ask Citra why she took his friends, she instead puts Jason to sleep with sleeping powder and captures Riley. In addition to having fallen in love with Jason, Citra also believes him to be the warrior of Rakyat legend. Jason dreams of walking along a fire-adorned path while carrying the Dragon Knife, all the while having to face a monster form of his friend Liza. It turns out, however, that Jason comes to holding the Dragon Knife to Liza’s throat in real life. Players then have a choice: kill his friends, or set them free. The first option sees Citra having sex with then killing Jason after he takes out his friends, claiming that their child will glorify the Rakyat. Not very nice, eh? The second option, meanwhile, sees Jason being confronted by Dennis for betraying the tribe by freeing his friends and wanting to go with them back home. Dennis tries to stab Jason, but Citra takes the stab instead, leaving Dennis devastated.


Citra, leader of the Rakyat tribe and sister of Vaas in Far Cry 3

This ending allows Jason to have some retrospect in the final scene where they are leaving in the boat and he leaves the Dragon Knife in the sand on the beach, considering that although he became an uncaring killing machine, he can still be better than that.

And so the average-joe-turned-killing-machine story ends up being a long string of killing, betrayal, and double-crossing. Now the question is, in what direction will Far Cry 4 take players?

Set for North American release on November 18th and November 20th in Europe for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and PC, Far Cry 4 pits players against the elements in the fictional Kyrat, somewhere in the Himalayas. Players control Ajay Ghale, an English-speaking native of the region (a first for the series, by the way). Ajay has returned to Kyrat to spread his mother’s ashes in her home country. He will unfortunately get caught in the middle of a civil war against Pagan Min, the self-appointed king of Kyrat.

We don’t have any further details than that, but you can be sure that this 35+ hour gem will delight in similar ways as its predecessors have so valiantly done, particularly with Pagan Min having to match up to the standards set by Krieger, The Jackal, and Vaas/Hoyt.

While we may not always love them for what they do, we can certainly love how Far Cry’s villains have evolved, and I certainly hope that Pagan Min can be as dynamic of a character as The Jackal was.

Cedric Lansangan

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  1. Don’t forget about Semeru in Far Cry Instincts: Evolution and Predator, who is basically the leader of naturally evolved humans that have more powerful versions of the same abilities that Jack acquired and Krieger stole/synthesized.

    Although I guess he’s only “evil” in the sense that his men attack the civilizations on the island and try to kill Jack because Semeru believes he doesn’t deserve the power he got via injection.

    1. Y’know, I didn’t actually do any research on those spin-off titles. I only wrote about the main titles. But you’re right, he is technically an important part of the canon story, I just didn’t include it here (plus, he’s kind of not as evil as Krieger with his “transform humans into the master race” plans).

  2. I am glad the writer understood far cry 2 story. Jackal is a much deeper character than vass, vass is just crazy and he dies quite fast, Jackal has ideas, goals, beliefs, he is not even the bad guy, he is much more complex.

    From what i read fc3 has been turned upside down and redone multiple times. First it was in Antartica, then vass was gonna be a cold boss character and not the main focus, the voice actor ruined the perfomance so they changed the character to fid his perfomance. Brody was a reporter, then he became a dude bro.The game was semi linear like tomb raider, then they turned it into open world.

    Far cry 3 was never about insanity. Thats what ubisoft marketed the game after they saw vass sold people into the game.

    The writer said he put clues in so people will notice them and understand what is really going on. But in a open world game that you spend most of the time screwing around, you miss those little alice in wonderlands parts that appear only in the main missions. The pacing is too far spaced for the player to remember those things.

    Long story short far cry 3 was about rakyat being opressive to the local population and then hoyt with his mercenaries taking over the island and corrupting vass a rakyat warrior and turning him and the rest into pirates. The rakyat are poisoning jason with the tatoos and he has delussions that he is unstopable and goes around doing the dirty work or the rakyat. Thats why they kill him in the end. He is no longer needed.

    1. Thanks for the input. I admit, I never actually played Far Cry 3, and all I really knew about it even after researching it is that Vass was the main bad guy, while Hoyt was the big mastermind behind the bad guy. So you’re right, it never really was about insanity, more along the lines of manipulation, corruption, and greed by Hoyt.

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