With Far Cry 6 launching later this week, what a great time to dredge up old arguments and declare once more that Far Cry 2 was the best one. Also dredging up old thoughts, Far Cry 2 creative director Clint Hocking has confirmed an old fan theory: the man we hunt in FC2, the Jackal, is indeed meant to be the fella we played in the first Far Cry. So despite the wildly different tone and seemingly unconnected plot, it really was a sequel after all.
Far Cry 2, made by Ubisoft rather than series creators Crytek, seemed quite separate. While the first game saw a fella tumble into a sci-fi plot on a tropical island with mutated monkey monsters, the follow-up focused on civil war in a nonspecific African country. We're sent to assassinate The Jackal, an arms dealer who's been supplying both sides, until it all goes wrong. No murdermonkeys at all. It seemed a spiritual sequel at most. But, apparently the two are connected.
"Jack Carver in the original Far Cry was this shifty, smuggler, gun runner kind of crook," Clint Hocking explained to the Ian Games Network. "The idea was [the Jackal] is just him, 10 years later or something, after he's seen whatever he saw on this island [during the events of Far Cry]. Maybe it was drug induced, maybe it's post-traumatic stress disorder, or maybe it's real. But the idea is, a decade later, he has levelled up his smuggling game, and he's gotten embroiled in this conflict."
Some fans had long suspected this. At one point, Ubisoft clearly had considered making him be Jack, given that filenames for some of the Jackal's art assets include "jackcarver". Jack and the Jackal had similar backgrounds, too. But without official confirmation, it was only a theory.
I mean, video games are not real, and canon and lore are the most boring ways to see stories, so you can believe whatever you want about anyone. That's fine. Don't let anyone try to stop you. But perhaps you'll enjoy thinking about Far Cry 2 in this light. It's nice to think about stories in different ways. Not that I remembered a single detail about Far Cry's plot beyond the mutants, nor had any emotional investment in Jack Carver. But hey!
Reinstalling Far Cry 2 to capture that wee video of meeting the Jackal did make me want to start a new playthrough. I'm trying to remember how long it takes before I can unlock my favourite weapons, the bolt-action rifle and breech-loaded grenade launcher, and really start enjoying it. Hmm. Maybe. Though some NPCs are a bit bouncy on my modern PC:
Far Cry 2 is still the best Far Cry. Before Ubisoft had the bright idea that open-world games should be flooded with map markers to clear, Far Cry 2 was a hostile immersive sim sandbox where the best-laid plans could be upended by a careless spark or rusting gun. Yeah, maybe enemy checkpoints respawned too quickly, but it sure made the world feel a horrible place where even getting to your destination took effort. I like that. I've written more before about my fondness for FC2, and Marsh Davies declared it the best in the series back in 2014 too.