The new Far Cry 6 trailer looks, in a word, sumptuous. Ubisoft’s acclaimed FPS franchise has been diving further and further into morally complicated, story-driven space, much to its benefit. But this new trailer takes things up a notch, promising a new setting, a sociopolitically muckraking narrative, and a fearfully committed performance from Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian) as the dictator father to game protagonist Anthony Gonzalez (Coco). Now, thanks to an interview with Variety, we know much more about Esposito’s villainous character, and much more about the setting you’ll play the game in.
“El Presidente” is Esposito’s character’s nickname. But his real name is, simply, Antón Castillo, “a dictator from a small island nation that he hopes will be able to maintain their freedoms for their people.” This small island nation is called Yara, a fictional location inspired by the revolutionary backdrop of Cuba (to the point where Ubisoft visited there for a month in research). Its world will be more open than ever before, the game allowing you to explore tropical, colorful beaches and “paradises” while dealing with infractions and violence erupting in Yara’s capital city of Esperanza. The game’s narrative director, Navid Khavari, spoke about Yara wanting to feel both modern and “almost frozen in time, like a living postcard from the ‘60s that players can experience and walk through.” It all sounds like a unique, immersive world Ubisoft plans on plopping us into.
While some games might take this backdrop and craft a simple “revolution!” storyline against a one-dimensional villain, Esposito is looking for more complicated interior truths to anchor his character on:
Antón Castillo is, of course, very different… He’s trying to empower the people by helping them to understand they need strong leadership now…. He takes matters into his own hands when he has to, makes those difficult decisions, and may not be the dictator that his father was. He’s hoping he has surpassed his father as such. But he still deals with his personal pains of his life. As a child, he was a child slave, and he, although being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, was unable to rule until the revolutionaries that ousted his father were put away. So he’s had a lot of difficult situations to deal with. We meet him at a time where he’s trying to empower his son to take up his mantle and really embrace ideas that would allow him to see that soon he will probably be the next leader in this country. It has some very interesting political ramifications and social ramifications for how we are governed, guided, ruled in our world… And these are very primary questions that so many presidents and local leaders in small countries ask themselves. When they get in bed with America, things change, but does Antón want that in his country? I don’t think so.
Esposito went on to explain the “challenges” of performing in a motion capture space — a common device for vets like Troy Baker, but new to Esposito. The main goal was “to create that world virtually within your own imagination,” a goal exacerbated by the fact that he shot the material for the trailer “first, to be able to give folks who were working on the game for so many years models to go by. So that was awkward and odd to me, because when you shoot the trailer, you’re shooting certain scenes of the whole, and so you’re not shooting in order.” However, when Esposito dove into the game and the mocap experience as a whole, he wound up loving it:
I loved it, because that’s what I do. I create the space within myself, so you can see in the reflection in my eyes what the character’s going through, what decision might he make, what turmoils, what trials and tribulations. With this, I’m interacting with someone who eventually will be the player, so I try to keep that in my consciousness as well, that by my actions, it could prompt the player to take certain actions that will alter the story. This is a fabulous world.
In fact, Espotio loved this “brand new world” so much, that he’s down to be in “the next two or three Far Cry games… These folks are the folks to work with, and I credit Ubisoft and this game with really cutting my teeth. And yeah, I would do more. I would love to. It’s a fascinating world to dive into, and it’s a collaboration that to me has been unforgettable.” However, worry not about spoilers: Esposito refused to reveal “whether he survives or not,” and ensured that El Presidente’s fate doesn’t matter as it relates to Esposito’s future in the franchise: “I’ll do whatever I have to do to convince you that I’m some other character in a Far Cry game if need be, and maybe it should be the good guy next time, ’cause I’m really kind of sweet and lovable.”
I, for one, can’t wait to see Esposito’s take on “such a delicious character,” nor explore Yara for hours on end. Check out the full Variety chat with Esposito below. For more on Far Cry 6, including when we can expect the game to drop, click here.