There is no amount of words that can really express how upsetting its ending is.
Far Cry 5’s ending is so frustratingly bad that I had to write this essay separate from my review of Far Cry 5 because there’s just so much wrong with it and so much to dissect that it would make my review of the game unnecessarily long.
Let’s start at the point where you have finished killed all three of Joseph’s lieutenants.
It should be obvious that there is going to be spoilers for Far Cry 5 here, so if you haven’t played it yet, now would be a good time to before you proceed with this essay.
Done? Good, then let’s begin.
Joseph’s sudden character change.
During the game, once you have killed a lieutenant, Joseph would appear to remorse for his fallen family member and how a seal has been opened (referencing Revelations in the bible).
Now when you’ve killed all three of Joseph’s family (John, Jacob and Faith), you witness a surprisingly drastic change in Joseph’s character/persona:
He’s shown crying, completely distraught that his family has been killed by you.
Now I’m not sure how to say this any other way, but he looks really pathetic.
Throughout the whole game, he is shown to be this untouchable bad guy who is confident in his every move, even when one of his family members have fallen.
For him to suddenly be reduced to that state just doesn’t feel right for his character type at all. It just comes out of nowhere to the player as there is no buildup that he has this kind of emotional vulnerability.
This was just a bit too much for me and whoever was writing this should have reconsidered this scene entirely. Yes, we all know Joseph is just a man and another villain to kill, but for christ’s sake, his lieutenants died with far more pride and dignity than him at this moment.
It would have made been far more believable if Joseph behaved aggressively and probably even vow vengeance against the protagonist. Maybe an even better scenario is where he remains composed and say this is all a part of “God’s plans” to solidify the fact that the guy is indeed a delusional sociopath.
But I guess they couldn’t do that because they had to make the story less linear by adding in an arbitrary “Choice To Make” at the end of the game as they did with the last two Far Cry games. This is something I’m still very critical of and it just really upsets me that this nonsense is in Far Cry 5 as well.
Choosing an ending.
Far Cry 5 has three endings, one being the supposed “Good” ending. So with that being the case, you’re offered a choice at the climax of the game where you get either the good ending or the bad ending.
Now let me just a say is that I hate these throwaway “Pick A Choice” endings in games. We all know only one ending is actually canon so it makes the illusion of choice simply that: An illusion, and a bad one at that.
I hated it in Far Cry 3. I hated it in Far Cry 4. And I definitely hate it in Far Cry 5.
When I was given my first chance at the choice, I went with “Walking Away” because it made the most sense with the hand you were dealt with.
Your colleagues have guns aimed at their heads by the NPCs of Hope County, who are clearly being mind controlled, and Joseph Seed has given you the option to leave. In a realistic scenario, this would obviously be the right choice because clearly Joseph can just shoot you and your colleagues on sight and be done with it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
If you chose to leave Joseph alone and leave with your team, you go with them into a car and drive away, to then which the Sheriff will tell you they’re going to come back with the National Gaurd to defeat Joseph Seed.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be going to happen as the screen becomes red and fade to black when the Sheriff turns on the radio which then plays some of the cult’s music. This means you’ve been probably brainwashed like you were when you killed Eli and now you’re going to do the same to all of your colleagues.
You know, if it wasn’t for that last bit, I would have felt satisfied enough with that ending. But, of course, that isn’t the case. This ending isn’t canon and you’re brought back in the game to make the “right” choice after the credits roll.
But if you ask me, the good ending is just as bad as the bad ending itself, which is hilariously ironic.
The “Good” Ending…?
So after choosing to resist Joseph Seed, he interestingly enough doesn’t shoot your pals on the spot, and instead the game initiates the final fight with him. After you save your friends and put Joseph in his place, it all seems like it’s going well…until a nuke suddenly explodes out of nowhere.
You’ll be forgiven if you thought this was Joseph’s nuke, as we all did at first until it was later confirmed that this was instead a nuke that was denoted as a result of impending war taking place outside of the game’s main story.
If you listened to the radio, you get hints of this as the news broadcasts talk about an imminent nuclear war going on as tensions between countries rise, but as the player, you probably came to the same conclusion that I did that this wasn’t really all that important.
Well turns out it was after all.
Far Cry 5 also runs into the habit of leaving out important details of its lore out of sight of the main story unless you go searching for it, as I mentioned in my review of the game.
There was a writer from Polygon, Russ Frushtick, who said they didn’t notice something like that in the game, but you probably would if you spent extensive time with the game as I did. It’s just that you probably didn’t give it much thought as well.
Now with nuclear fallout approaching, you and your colleagues have to drive away as fast as you can as everything around you has turned into a something that looks straight out of the pit of hell.
The drive sequence ends with you crashing the car, and waking up in a bunker with Joseph Seed having handcuffed you. He doesn’t kill you because you’re all he the family he has left since you’ve killed his. Now you will be alone together in a bunker for a long time, if not maybe for the rest of your lives.
And the screen just fades to black and the credits roll.
Imagine being a woman and you’re trapped in a fallout shelter with a psychopathic cultist who is old enough to be your father. Kinda not want to think about what’s going to happen in that situation considering Joseph now has the upper hand.
Not gonna lie, my expression was pretty much:
EXCUSE ME, WHAT THE F**K WAS THAT?!
Like seriously?! How can any writer in their right mind consider that an ending, if you can even call it that! It actually just raises even more questions and I refuse to refer to it as a good ending!
Far Cry games haven’t been known well for their endings. I’m still critical of Far Cry 3’s ending to this day, and yet, this was even worse than that ending. At least Far Cry 3 gave you some sort of closure, but this gave you nothing at all!
This is nothing more than a giant middle finger to player. And what makes it worse is that the story was progressing really well too, and then this happens.
Imagine going on a rollercoaster ride and then the roller coaster just suddenly stops mid-flight. That’s how Far Cry 5’s ending felt to me.
I’m sorry, but for such a great game, this is a massive injustice to not just to its franchise, but to its players as well.
And no, I’m not going into the secret ending either since it’s pretty irrelevant as it finishes the game in a handful of minutes.
And you know what I hate about this ending as well? If you know about Far Cry New Dawn, it spoils the ending for you entirely as it’s not only a direct sequel to Far Cry 5, but it’s based around the events of Far Cry 5’s ending as it takes place in post-apocalyptic Montana.
Can it be fixed?
Now despite all of this, the question remains: Could this ending be fixed?
Now you’re probably wondering what I would do if I were in the writers’ shoes as a writer myself.
To be honest, I would just keep the game’s ending as simple as possible instead of going for this stupidly grand ending that achieves absolutely nothing story-wise.
However, with that said, I don’t think the game’s ending served no purpose at all. Actually, it would probably be more work to do something like this instead of something simpler.
To me, the ending only serves two purposes:
- Create a dramatic ending that makes the gaming community talk about it, thus leading to a potential increase in game sales.
- Laying down the setting for the next game in the franchise instead of working out something from scratch as they did with Far Cry Blood Dragon and Far Cry Primal.
In other words, the ending of Far Cry 5 was butchered for a profit reason rather than an artistic one.
Call it boring, but the game would have been just fine if Joseph Seed was arrested and hauled away in a police cruiser like the criminal he is. Then you as the protagonist would probably get some kind of promotion or something for the number of cultists you killed like the natural born killer you are.
Really there wasn’t really much to do here. I think Far Cry 5’s ending is more of a victim of the game’s publisher side of things, as it just makes no sense why from an artistic point of view a game would just want to mindbogglingly confuse its players and give no sense of closure to them.
You know I would really like for the Far Cry games to not do these irrational endings anymore, but considering the continuous patterns, I don’t think I’m going to get my wish.
Far Cry 5’s ending is an unnecessary and complicated mess in every sense of the word.
A lesson to learn.
If any writers are reading this, I can’t emphasise how important it is to give your reader or player a sensible climax to your story. It’s even more frustrating as a writer because you see the flaws in a high budget game like this and think “How could anyone seriously approve this and think it’s okay?!”
Don’t do what Far Cry 5 is trying to do by putting in this abrupt change of direction in the game’s narrative. Even if the sequel will answer the questions left unanswered, it is more important to tell a cohesive and self-contained story that is easy to grasp for anyone. The story should progress smoothly and conclude just as such.
Do not, for the love of god, put in a terrible ending at the end of your story and then have the guts to call it a “good ending” in the way Far Cry 5 did. This is not an acceptable way to write a meaningful narrative experience unless you’re genuinely trying to piss off your audience.