EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is a republished, edited version of “The Hidden Story of Far Cry 5,” by Peter Sallale, originally published on May 27th, 2018.
SPOILERS FOR FAR CRY 5 ENDING
Far Cry 5 is an interesting beast. First revealed in May 2017, the title attracted considerable interest, and controversy, due to its setting and themes. Though it debuted to decent reviews, the storyline faced a large amount of criticism. Heated discussion on the ending of the game has resurfaced following the announcement of Far Cry: New Dawn, the next chapter in the series. One of the biggest issues critics and fans alike had was in regards to one ending of the game in particular, the “nuclear ending.” Spoilers follow.
After a final confrontation with Joseph Seed, the player character known as the “Deputy” and their allies finally stand victorious – ready to arrest the maniacal cult leader and bring him to justice. Then, suddenly, a mushroom cloud appears on the horizon, cutting the celebration short and triggering a mad scramble to a nearby bunker. It just gets worse for the player afterwards. Only the Deputy and Seed himself are able to survive and find shelter; the Deputy ends up trapped underground with the supposed madman as the world above ends. Roll credits.
Many deemed it a Deus ex Machina, meant to override all of your accomplishments, and there is merit to that argument. When I first experienced the “nuclear” ending I was disappointed. I felt that all the effort I put into liberating Hope County was meaningless, ignored by the writers for some cheap twist. However, upon further review, I discovered something very interesting; the ending had been foreshadowed very well. It was not the desperation that I thought it was, not a symptom of a writer who had run out of ideas. In fact, it told a beautiful, haunting tale about prophecy, fate, and religion. I soon realized that there was an entire second layer to the narrative of Far Cry 5, a hidden story that painted the game in a whole new light, and built a foundation for an intriguing post-apocalyptic sequel with a remorseful Joseph Seed playing a big role.
To save you from confusion, I will elaborate upon this hidden story first, then get into the nitty-gritty.
So, here goes. The entire plot of Far Cry 5 is an allegory of the final chapter of the Bible’s New Testament. You, the Deputy, fulfilled the prophecy laid forth in the Book of Revelation, opened the 7 seals (through various means), and caused the end of the world. You are the Lion of Judah, the only one capable of opening the seals, also known as (the Second Coming of) Jesus. That’s right; you are a reincarnation of Christ, whose actions caused Armageddon. The ending of the game is a literal Deus ex Machina, an “act of God” the like of which is rarely executed so expertly.
Let’s break it down. Revelation is an apocalyptic and prophetic story about the Second Coming of Jesus in which Armageddon’s arrival is heralded by the opening of 7 “seals.” In order, these are white, red, black, and pale horses, followed by the “souls of martyrs,” a “great earthquake,” and “seven angels and seven trumpets.” The first four seals correspond to the so-called Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse…
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Everyone’s favorite mustache-with-a-man-attached, Sheriff Whitehorse, is the most obvious reference, the herald of the beginning of the end-times. Note the opening scene of the game:
“I saw when the lamb opened the first Seal, and I heard, as it were the voice of thunder, one of the Four Beasts say ‘Come and see!’ And I saw. And behold it was a white horse…”
Joseph stares at Sheriff Whitehorse.
“…and hell followed with him.”
Joseph stares at you.
This is very similar to the actual text, the major difference being the horseman is referred to as a “conqueror,” or “warrior.” Joseph was likely using “hell” as a poetic synonym to describe the first horseman. There are two workable theories about who this first horseman is, although their identity is not particularly important. The first is that Joseph himself is the first horseman. While he was not the one to ride in with (a) Whitehorse, he is absolutely a conqueror and a warrior. A tattoo of a crown is printed on his body, which the first horseman is said to be wearing, and the official image seen here certainly seems to imply it. An alternative theory is that the Deputy is the first horseman. Some scriptures refer to the horseman as righteous, fitting for a police officer, and describes the rider as the “warrior with the bow,” appropriate given the weapon’s use in Far Cry games. Joseph’s knowing gaze when he utters the word “hell” seems to imply that the Deputy is the horseman; the Deputy was also the one who rode in with (the) Whitehorse, not Joseph. Whatever the case, the Deputy is also the Lamb that Joseph refers to, another title for Jesus.
Next is each of the Seed siblings, who correspond to the remaining three Horses. Jacob, the red-haired, Social Darwinist soldier and veteran of the Gulf conflict, clearly represents the Red Horse, War. John, the dark haired and dark dressed sibling, who sends his legions to steal food and starve out Holland Valley, is clearly illustrative of the Black Horse, Famine. And Faith, the innocent, pale girl in the white dress presiding over an otherwordly afterlife-like realm called “Bliss” who encourages your friends to kill themselves, represents the Pale Horse, Death. Each of them has some choice words for you when you finally confront them; spelling out just how destructive you really are, and how your actions have consequences you don’t understand.
“You believe you’re on the righteous path, you believe you’re a force for good. But you’re not.” – John Seed
“You still don’t understand. You don’t know what it is you’re doing do you? Joseph believes he’s our savior. But you’ll be the one who decides what happens. You were the start. You’ll be the end.” –Faith Seed
“…[war] brought us closer to the edge. And this is where we are. Right here on schedule, just waiting for someone to push us, and oh boy, have you pushed us. You did everything he said you would do. And you didn’t even know it. You had no fucking clue.” -Jacob Seed
Each sibling dies by your hand, and just before their deaths all three realize that their brother, Joseph Seed, the Father, was correct about the “Collapse” and the role you play in it. After the death of each sibling, Joseph gives a eulogy for each of the deceased. He starts off his speech each time with the phrase “A Seal has been opened.” By defeating each Seed sibling you open the Seals, and bring the world closer and closer to the end. After the third and final sibling is defeated, Joseph proclaims the following…
“Another seal has been opened. My family… my brothers… my sisters.. They’ve been taken from me! By a snake in the garden!”
The Fifth Seal – The Souls of Martyrs
This refers to the slain Seeds as well as the many cultists who have died in wake of the war with the Resistance. These countless deaths had a purpose: they died so that the cult could continue its Holy mission. Joseph spells it out:
“And the Lamb broke the Fifth Seal, and I saw under the altar, the souls of the martyrs…slain because of the word of God. You made martyrs of my family…and I am prepared to do the same to yours.”
With countless dead and Joseph making his last stand after losing so many of his followers, the Fifth Seal opens. Then…
The Sixth Seal – a Great Earthquake
At this point, after laying waste to Eden’s Gate and killing three of the “horseman,” you have fulfilled the majority of the prophecy, and the world is on the brink. Radio broadcasts hint at an impending nuclear exchange. Millions are dead in Moscow. The President has gotten the hell out of Dodge. If you continue your campaign of wrath, will open the last seals. You confront Joseph where he is making his final stand; he reveals that he has captured your allies from throughout the game and drugged them to be loyal to him. You are then given two options “Resist” and risk causing the deaths of your allies, or “Leave” Seed behind while you return to get more backup from the National Guard, hundreds of miles away. Choosing the Resist option is the final nail in the coffin…
“John was wrong. Your sin is not Wrath. You would rather see the world burn than swallow your Pride.”
Joseph knows you are the one fulfilling his prophecy. He knows that your continued fight against him and the cult is causing the end of the world through supernatural, prophetic means. You do not realize this, and you keep resisting, oblivious to the fact that it will cause the demise of everyone you fight for. Joseph never said that choosing to Resist him would result in him executing your allies. All he said is that you making that choice would result in their doom.
“I gave you every chance, and you threw it all away! You’ve brought the world crashing down around us! Don’t you SEE THAT!?” – Joseph
“It was always going to happen this way. You’ll walk the path…You’ll be the hero. And then… you’ll choose.” – Faith
Thus, when you decide to fight Joseph and rescue your friends, the “Great Earthquake” occurs. Joseph feels the earth move. Presumably, World War III has begun and nuclear blasts have started occurring miles away, shaking the ground beneath your feet. Which brings us to…
The Seventh and final Seal – The Seven Angels
After defeating Joseph once and for all with the help of your rescued allies, he states:
“Forgive them Father…they know not what they do…”
You and Seven allies stand over Joseph Seed, ready to arrest him. Seeing that the final Seal is being opened, Joseph Seed recites the scripture:
“When the Lamb opened the Seventh Seal…there was silence in heaven…and the seven angels before god were given seven trumpets……and there were noises…
Air raid siren becomes audible
“…thundering, lightning…and I heard a great voice from the temple say to the angels…go your ways…and pour from the vials…the wrath of God upon the Earth.”
Nuclear blast becomes visible on the horizon, blinding you
“It is finished, child.”
You, with the help of your seven allies, opened the final seal, dooming the world to complete and utter nuclear annihilation. The Apocalypse is now upon you, due to your actions. Unknowingly, you were, in one way or another, a Second Coming of the prophet Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, who set forth to fulfill the prophecy God gave thousands of years ago. You were the herald of the Second Coming, bathing the world in fire; the deceased who followed Jesus’ teachings and were free from sin ascended to Heaven, while the sinful burned.
So there you have it. The secret meaning behind the Far Cry 5 narrative. The writers adding a second layer to the plot was quite the bold move, and adds a lot of replay value to the game for the inquisitive gamer. Said second layer has been almost completely missed or ignored by press and players alike. Really, the developers were just looking for an excuse to make their next game post-apocalyptic, but in doing so created one hell of a narrative. This begs the question, however: will these biblical themes continue in Far Cry New Dawn? Will the Deputy be present? Will Joseph Seed stand opposed to him, despite the Deputy’s status as the Lion of Judah? Or will they find common ground over the destruction they caused, seeking atonement? Will the Deputy even be aware of what role he played? I am eager to get my hands on New Dawn to find out.
My parting advice would be to play through Far Cry 5 again. Pay attention to Jacob Seed’s dying words, Faith’s sinister, soft whispers. You’ll find dialogue and hints that paint the game in a whole new light and lay the groundwork for a fantastic theological retelling. And be on the lookout for more news on the followup to Far Cry 5; Far Cry New Dawn, releasing February 2019.