When Far Cry New Dawn was unveiled last month, it was an open question of how involved Joseph Seed would be in the story. We knew that Far Cry 5's charismatic antagonist, referred to as "The Father," survived the apocalypse, but apart from a cryptic hint at the end of the debut trailer, there was little to go on.
Well, following some extended time with Far Cry New Dawn, we now have a better idea of what the Father is up to these days. It seems that he will indeed have a part to play in Far Cry New Dawn's story, though it will be very different from his role in Far Cry 5. Spoilers follow if you want to avoid further details.
According to Far Cry New Dawn narrative designer Olivia Alexander, Seed was greatly changed by the nuclear apocalypse he helped to bring about. At some point he left his bunker and revived his cult, but with a new objective.
Alexander explains, "The cult is now called New Eden, and they've rejected everything from the past world. They've rejected mechanized weapons, they've rejected technology, they're rejected their behavior from Far Cry 5. They're no longer an antagonist force to the party, they're more of a neutral party. They keep to themselves, they work from the land, they have their own sort of fellowship, and that is informed by how how the Father changed from the collapse. But I think for that really in-depth journey, I'll have to leave that to the player to discover."
These revelations mark a new turn for a character that has been controversial at times. When Far Cry 5 was released this time last year, many commentators talked about how Seed and his cult obliquely referenced the politics of Donald Trump's America, but emphatically avoided being "political."
"For a group of violent, gun-festishizing secessionists, they’re a remarkably apolitical lot,” the AV Club's William Hughes wrote of Seed's cult at the time. "These brainwashed, mantra-spewing monsters feel less like an original creation and more like the result of a focus group on easily digestible evil, a concerted effort on someone's part to committee-up some baddies that folks on either side of the political spectrum could happily murder by the hundreds."
Far Cry 5 wasn't willing to take any particular position (despite numerous references to things like Trump's alleged Pee Tape), which led to it twisting itself into knots as it tried to say something while simultaneously saying nothing at all. It all culminated in an ending that left Mike scratching his head.
With Seed's fate being left unresolved following Far Cry 5, the door was left open for a final confrontation. But in the official reveal trailer last month, a chastened Seed is shown saying, "I led us into the new world. I thought it would be glorious. I was wrong."
When he appears for the first time in Far Cry New Dawn, it's in a feverish vision, almost as if he's actually ascended to godhood. Travel to a familiar island, and the screen suddenly warps into a purple haze, with Seed narrating his motivations in the background. He's a supernatural figure here, rising above the more down-to-earth war for resources between Prosperity and the Highwaymen. With this scene, Ubisoft Montreal seemingly wants you to know that Joseph Seed truly is beyond politics now.
One thing's for sure: Joseph Seed proved bigger than Far Cry 5, and there's a good chance he'll end up doing the same for New Dawn, no matter what his role ends up being. Cool as New Dawn's villainous twins and sniper granny might be, everyone still wants to know what's up with Joseph Seed. I suspect that Far Cry New Dawn will have some answers, but that it won't bring us any closer to understanding him. And that's because, when it comes down to it, there really isn't that much to understand about a character who up until now has stood for basically nothing. Here's hoping the sequel proves me wrong.
Far Cry New Dawn will be out February 15 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Check out our previous coverage here.