Far Cry 2: Africa in Flames

by northernbeholder

Far Cry 2 is a first-person shooter released by Ubisoft in 2008 and bought by Northern Beholder for $2.75 in 2012 (thanks Steam!).  Gameplay takes place in a series of large, open world maps dotted with safe houses, hostile outposts, and explorable wilderness, through which the player is directed on a series of primary and secondary missions or can wander about freely if the mood takes them.  The setting for the game is an unnamed Central African state whose government has collapsed, and is now being fought over by a number of militias with varying goals, as the civilians – those that are able – flee for safety.  All sides in the conflict are being supplied weapons by an international mercenary known as “The Jackal”, who the player has been tasked to kill.  It is here, in its setting, that the game caught my attention.

As a historian, my primary focus has always been on classical and medieval Europe – from Rome to Byzantium to the clash of feudal knights and the rise of the powerful noble houses.  However, a secondary field of study for me in university was political science, particularly involving Africa – colonization, decolonization, and modern African conflict.  Far Cry 2 is the first mainstream game I’ve heard of whose narrative is set within the context of a modern-day failed state in Africa and the accompanying warfare – certainly the first FPS.  However, the games industry doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to accurately depicting, well, anything.  Given that, I’m going to see how the industry’s first African conflict FPS stands up to analysis and comparison to the real thing.

Naturally, this is going to involve not only research on my part but actually playing the game, so it won’t be coming immediately.  In the meantime, Alexander the Great is going to be the next star of the Political Masterclass series. See you Wednesday!