Setting: northern Iraq, in the fictitious province of Namal; the player sides with Kurds to fight crazed local Extremists and gung-ho skinheads. Most of Namal is covered in desert, except for odd green patch and oasis, and mountains to the north.
The Caliphate of Akrahh – following the United States campaign for the democratization of Iraq and following withdraw from it, a number of extremist terrorist groups rose in the power vacuum. One of these, the Caliphate of Akrahh, guided by the sociopathic and delusional Jurj Washington Akbar and his twisted, rogue interpretation of his religion, have relocated to the northern bits of the country by command of its leader and his divine prophecy*.
The Oberster Hass (OH) – with the escalation and continuation of conflict, all sorts of individuals and groups, inspired by Internet aid campaigns and propaganda, have moved in to the northern half of Iraq "to help out" in the war effort. One of these, the Oberster Hass, is a skinhead group commanded by the psychopathic Silver Wolf of the Prideful Götterdämmerung (born Jim Smith), who came for righteous justice and stayed for murder and profit**. Both factions maintain an uneasy truce, until the beginning of the game.
The Kurd county of Al Istqlal: governed by the weary couple "old Aljid" and Fatima. Unfortunately isolated from Kurdistan reinforcements, the community – spreaded across Namal – hangs for dear life against murderous foes, with help from retired peshmerga soldiers, able bodied youth and a mysterious arms dealer from the East, Dandy Fàn***.
First, the initial choice: Normal or Terrible Difficulty.
At Normal difficulty, the player is The Grunt, a MIA American military consultant stranded behind enemy lines. The Grunt's military knowledge and experience in the field makes him a formidable soldier. Gameplay here deviates little from others Far Cry games.
At Terrible difficulty, the player is a young man (later nicknamed Fox) who travelled to this location to help fight the extremists, inspired by the Internet. The player will be captured early on by the Caliphate, but will be promptly "gifted" to the OH, who will cut off most of his right hand's fingers; however a Kurd incursion saves him from further damage. Gunplay will be awful from start to finish; the player will have to use stealth and subterfuge, and run many more legwork quests to advance the plot and clear the map****.
The Three Magi: There are three rogue warlords in Namal, each with his own interests at play, all bastards:
Texas T. – American artillery officer – offers fire missions anywhere on the map, in the form of explosives or other munitions (such as smoke shells); may also hand the player personal launchers;
William Sykes – English sharpshooter specialist – deals in ballistic death at longer distances, by rewarding the player with precision rifles or sniper teams at his disposal;
Henri Picot – French vétéran de la Légion Étrangère – reasoned in desert warfare, offers advantages in terms of stealth and endurance;
The Red Cross and Red Crescent: a unit of courageous health volunteers has come to Namal, supervised by doctor Akilah. This campaign may just earn her a Nobel prize…
Hurk: he's late, and lost, for the invasion of Iraq of 2003;
Liza Snow (Jason's former girlfriend), is a volunteer nurse in the Red Cross corps present in the region;
Bhadra: is present in the region. She left Kyrat, escorted by kyrati braves, wondering the world in pilgrimage for enlightenment;
Reuben Oluwagembi: is currently covering the development of the weird situation in Namal
Horsemanship: quads, cars and the rare jetski will be found in Namal, but horse and camel riding will be the most reliable way of travel, because of the mountainous regions and scarce gas (at least early and mid game);
Non-lethality: as in Metal Gear 5, non lethality will be rewarded. Knocked out foes may (or may not) join the Istqlal cause, through reeducaction;
Logistics and attrition: the fight for Namal between the 3 factions will be a fluid movement in the map. Outposts and water wells may be recaptured by the enemy; your own supply trucks can be ambushed. The pushing towards the enemy center – be it yours or theirs – will occur at all times;
Tunnels: fast travelling will be conditioned to tunnels under Istqlal control;
Uneasy friendships: relations with each of The Three Magi, and the benefits they provide, will be volatile, liable to decisions in gameplay;
Respect for the Desert: like in Far Cry Primal's survival mode, the player must maintain his bodily health, but this time with water. A trip through drier areas will ask for a full canteen close at hand.
Mirages: target acquisition and recognition may vary at extended ranges due to the phenomenon of mirages; thirst will increase its effect;
Over-arching themes: hate and radicalization and their damage; imperial and military intervention, and its consequences.
Plans for DLC:
Attack of the Rocs: addition of aircraft. Hinds, Apaches, Hueys, Yaks, plus Stingers and Flak to bring them down. A new faction: Russians, plus new missions.
Sheherazade Shrugged: addition of mythological creatures and concepts from the region. Djinns will offer very costly rewards, and will whisper hatifs in the player's ears, charming him to possible disaster; marvellous flying carpets; ghouls will loiter graves; rocs (giant eagles) will contend in the mountaintops; the giant serpent Falak may attack from under the sand, swallowing a car whole; flesh-eating, uncanny Nasnas will haunt the desert; the shadhavar, with its singing horn will attract critters to it; the player will have his own personal qareen, to guide him through all this.
Operation Namali Freedom: Total American intervention, spearheaded by the warhawkish National Security Advisor Willis Huntley, turns the game into a new genre: war survival. An onslaught of ground troops, swarms of attack helicopters, a parade of battle tanks, The Day of Judgement by bunker busters and MOABs. Difficulty turned to eleven, forcing the player to use total cunning to survive, as American troops pacify all 3 factions simultaneously.
Plan for (obligatory) spinoff game:
Far Cry Negotium Crucis*****: the game takes place in the Crusades. The hamlet of Namal is thrown into uproar when both a Christian army and a Muslim army arrive there, having been incredibly lost through the Holy Land wilderness. The player is a Muslim officer, who must balance both the survival of his troops and himself, and the erosion of upper command sanity. The crusaders aren't in a better shape. Only weariness and piety stop both sides from commiting a suicidal clash of arms to end it all.
Mechanics and overarching themes and motifs still to decide.
My own thoughts: this pipe dream is both a welcome and unique visit to the Middle East and a provocation on very recent events and themes. If Ubisoft were to take us to Iraq, it would be a marvellous journey; their characterization of local, exotic cultures (eg Kyrat) is delicious and stays with you long after you've finished the game. After playing Far Cry 6, previous representations of this setting (eg Call of Duty Modern Warfare) will bite the dust.
Thank you for getting this far. Cheers from Brasil.
* like the PEG in FC5, some of the Caliphate combatants will be drugged, as to remove their agency under religious fanaticism; this will (hopefully) prevent antireligious accusations against the developer;
** this, and other mocking portrayals of this faction, will gather negative attention by fringes of the far right, like it happened with Wolfenstein 2. The developer should hold fast;
*** later to be revealed as Pagan Min.
**** this sadistic design choice if, of course, an exercise in ludo-narrative consonance: going abroad to rage war because the Internet told you so is disastrous;
***** or Se Vis Pacem, in order to avoid antireligious sentiment;
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