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Far Cry 5: Let's Discuss the Endings
SPOILERS exist beyond this point. If you have not finished the campaign in Far Cry 5, do not continue, and abandon hope, ye who read here.
I assume you've beaten the game
Let's discuss the Resist ending. I find it hard to classify either ending as good or bad, since they are both good and bad, but we'll talk about the Resist ending, which is the one that Ubisoft appears to have driven the player toward the entire time.
There's also a little bit of Spock in both endings, in the context of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. Do you sacrifice a few to save many? Or is everyone equal?
But first! Let's briefly go over the Walk Away ending, which would appear to be the Bad ending.
Please note that the intent of this article is not to state how good, bad, unfulfilling, anticlimactic, or whatever other feelings we may have toward the endings, but simply from a story standpoint.
Walk Away ending
You and the police walk away
Joseph repeats his offer from the beginning of the game, giving you the chance to walk away, no questions asked. If you choose this option, you will get into the truck with the Sheriff and the two deputies, and begin driving away.
As you do, the Sheriff mentions you're going to Missoula (which we can surmise is the next county over) to call in the National Guard. He then turns on the radio, a familiar song comes on, your screen turns red before quickly fading to black and rolling the credits.
The big question is: why are they now just calling in the National Guard? Why wasn't the National Guard called earlier? Why was Joseph and his family allowed to do what they've done to Hope Country with zero repercussions?
Secondly, if you paid attention to Jacob's story and his kidnapping scenes, you'll know that Only You was the trigger song that Jacob used to condition you.
So, what happens in this ending? In a best-case scenario, the Sheriff manages to stop the car and everyone gets out, and they wind up calming you down somehow. In the worst-case scenario, you kill the Sheriff and the two deputies in your brainwashed state. Thanks, Jacob.
Regardless of the outcome in this ending, you could argue that you've sacrificed the few (your companions). Now, let's move on.
You've rejected Joseph's offer. Now what?
After rejecting Joseph's kind offer, he calmly tells you how his brother was wrong, and that it's not wrath that you've succumbed to, but pride. He then goes off, quoting from Revelations in the bible, about how the lamb has broken the sixth seal, which triggers an earthquake. He then gets more angrier, knocks over the two barrels of bliss, you faint (because that's what you've done this entire game), and wake up for combat.
We'll briefly go over the fight, but let's just say it's silly and basically a drug infused nightmare that makes no sense. You need to revive your three friends. To do this, you need to shoot them since they're enemies (because of course), and then revive them. You repeat this process three times. Then you do it four more times. Then five more times for good measure, for a total of 12, all while shooting Joseph so that he can temporarily disappear into a cloud of green bliss.
After you've revived all twelve of your friends, you then get into one final confrontation with Joseph, and he himself goes down extremely quickly. The next cutscene then takes over, and this is where things get interesting.
Joseph is speaking calmly while kneeling on the ground, talking of the seven seals and seven trumpets, while the Sheriff slowly approaches him from behind, guns drawn. To your left and right, birds are flying away from the background. He's then handcuffed and speaks about the "wrath of god upon the earth".
Then boom. The screen suddenly goes white, and you cover your eyes with your hands to shield against the brightness. You lower your hand to see a gigantic cloud behind the mountains. Joseph tells you that it's finished, and starts singing Amazing Grace. Shrapnel comes flying at you, and a huge wave of dust and dirt comes crashing over the water toward you.
You hurry to the vehicle
You need to get to Dutch's bunker, quick! Remember that place, truly where it all began?
The world is dark and lit on fire. Everything is burning. The trees, the animals, vehicles, the entire county is burning. You have a small amount of time to get to the bunker, while needing to dodge falling trees, flaming deer, and vehicles coming your way.
As you veer off-road and make your way to Dutch's island, a tree falls. The screen goes black; audio cuts out. You momentarily to wake up to see nothing but burning trees in an eerily orange forest, before you pass out, only to wake up again to being dragged through a hallway. And then, again, you pass out. As you drift in and out, all you can hear is the sound of fire burning, and someone whistling Amazing Grace.
Attention. Attention. This is the emergency broadcast system
Take shelter immediately. Take shelter immediately. This is not a drill. Repeat: this is not a drill.
Something terrible has happened
You awake to a message by the emergency broadcast system, advising shelter. You look down, Dutch is on the floor. Dead.
You know what this means? It means the politicians have been silenced. It means the corporations have been erased. It means the world has been cleansed by god's righteous fury.
But most of all...
It means I was right.— Joseph Seed
You're tied to a chair
You have no choice but to listen to The Father.
He tells you how The Collapse has finally come, that the world is over, and how he waited so long for it to finally arrive.
According to Joseph, god whispered to him at some point, informing him that the world was going to end, that The Collapse would bring about the destruction of mankind. He took precautions, informed his family, prepared them for what was to come.
He then proceeds to tell you that you are his only family left, that he is the father to you -- his child -- and you'll both march toward Eden's Gate in this new world. He then lean backs in his chair, stares at you, you get very temporary control, and then credits roll.
So, what does this mean? Let's discuss.
Theory 1: Joseph is a good guy, and god spoke to him
As this is the ending that the events of the game drove you toward, you'd expect it to be the good ending. But is it? A nuclear bomb goes off, devastating the county (and arguably the rest of Montana, not to mention all the border states). The mass killing of millions of people cannot possibly be good.
So, this leads us to believe that maybe, just maybe, Joseph is a good guy. He truly believed the world was about to end, and was right, and truly was trying to save people, as god did speak to him to inform him of what was coming.
Perhaps he went about it the wrong way -- kidnapping, coercion, drugs and murder -- but his intentions were true, and he wanted to save as many people as he could in his four bunkers (John, Jacob, Faith, and Joseph arguably has a bunker somewhere, perhaps buried on his island).
Joseph's also a smart man, so perhaps kidnapping, coercion and drugs were what was needed to get people to his side. Those who have proclaimed the end of the world are always looked down upon, insulted, never to be believed, so the same could be said for Joseph and his prophecy.
Arguably, murder would not be a good way to get people to join your cause and listen to your tall tale, but maybe murdering people was also a benevolent act by Joseph. Why suffer and incur all the poisoning and health issues of nuclear fallout, when he can simply kill you and relieve you of future suffering?
Theory 2: War was about to come, and Joseph was preparing
At various points in the game, you can hear a news report being broadcast. This will mostly occur in a vehicle, but the odd radio in an outpost or store will broadcast the same message as well. It's linked in the above video, but I've also transcribed it.
The department of Homeland Security has issued an intermediate alert. Affected regions include New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and San Francisco. Montana isn't expected to be affected, but it's always possible.
Keep alert, people. Stock up on food and water, just in case.
Peace talks in the Middle East have broken down again, with the latest in a series of bombings killing two and injuring eleven. Among the injured are several U.S. reporters who were on hand for the talks. No word yet from the White House on these terrible losses.
Russia has been attacked. Bombs hit Moscow this morning. No final word on casualties, but experts are saying the numbers are in the millions. If there was any hope for peace, it's gone now.
Perhaps a nuclear event was coming along, even before you arrived in Montana. The news says peace talks broke down again, which would lead us to believe the world was trying to avoid a major event like a nuclear bomb. Having "U.S. reporters who were on hand for the talks" would indicate a major discussion, perhaps an eleventh hour discussion ('eleventh hour' meaning last minute, which was quoted in one of the variations of the bible).
As those talks finally broke down, someone attacked Russia with a bomb. Was it the U.S.? There's no information throughout the game that would allude to the U.S. attacking Russia, or any other country. Did Russia think it was the U.S., and retaliate with the nuke? Or was it the same country that nuked the U.S. as it was the one who nuked Russia? Were they two (or more) different countries altogether? We can't say.
This theory would give credence to why there are so many prepper stashes and bunkers sprinkled throughout Montana. People knew something was coming -- not if, but when -- and were preparing appropriately. Joseph was no exception.
He recruited his brothers, and Faith, to help guide people into their bunkers. Just like the first theory, the way they went about this was less than ideal, but the intention was still good.
A flip side to the prepper stashes is that they were placed by the Whitetails, or maybe friends of the Whitetails, to aid people in their fight against the Seeds, which is referenced in many notes throughout the game.
Theory 3: Nothing actually happened, and it was all fueled by Bliss
The third theory is that, after confronting Joseph and resisting his offer, the following events never actually happen.
This theory is supported by what Joseph does after decrying your choice: he knocks over and spills the two containers of bliss. This causes you to kneel, like you're going to faint, which leads into the final confrontation, with bliss everywhere.
This would explain why you need to shoot your friends to revive them, as that's not how that works. It explains why your friends suddenly appear in a green cloud of bliss smoke, and why Joseph is surrounded by it.
At the end of the fight, when Joseph is cuffed, he is the only one who doesn't look back at the cloud. Might this mean he knows it's a hallucination that's not really happening? You and your friends are susceptible to the bliss and could all be hallucinating, where Joseph is either immune to it, or knows its effects and therefore isn't believing what's happening.
It explains why he's so calm for the entire sequence, why he's humming Amazing Grace while the two deputies are going crazy in the car.
When you come to that tree that knocks you out before you get dragged away? Maybe that didn't happen either. Perhaps that was also a hallucination, which explains why you were knocked unconscious, but nothing happened to Joseph, and you're both safe in the bunker.
And maybe you were knocked out from the start, as soon as he tipped over those barrels of bliss, and you didn't wake up again until you were already in the bunker.
Theory 4: Joseph had a nuke and a friend
The fourth and final theory is nowhere near as detailed, but let's assume that everything is really happening, and there is no drug-induced frenzy going on.
Perhaps Joseph and his cult had somehow acquired a nuclear weapon, and he had a friend waiting in the wings.
We could argue that Joseph had this nuclear bomb armed and ready to go, set up at a launcher somewhere in the mountains, but just outside of Hope County, so that we wouldn't be able to see or access it, and that he had a friend who always had his finger ready to go, almost as a failsafe.
One argument would be that Amazing Grace was the code to signal the launch of the nuke, which was set off as he started. We'd have to think, though: where would this friend be stationed that he could not only see Joseph, but also be able to trigger this morning, and also out of harm's way so as not to kill himself?
We know that Joseph is topless, so maybe he has a wire taped to him on his bottom half. On his torso, perhaps? Maybe his leg. It wouldn't be too much of a reach to suggest this wire would be an audio device of some sort, that allowed Joseph's friend to listen in and be ready. Perhaps when he said that god's wrath was coming down, he was referring to this unnamed friend. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that, just because the cult exists in this particular county in Montana, that he has connections and followers who live elsewhere in the state, perhaps elsewhere in the country, and even in other countries.
Theory: What happened to your friends
Now, what happened to your friends, to the Sheriff and Deputies Hudson and Pratt?
In the Walk Away ending, we have two ideas.
- The sheriff pulled the car over when the song came in, to try to talk you out of your rage that was triggered by Jacob's conditioning. If this were to happen, then whatever future outcome will never be known. Did they talk you out of it? Did they continue to Missoula to call in the National Guard afterwards?
- You kill the sheriff and the two deputies, and then either return to Joseph as one of his flock, you die while out in the world, or you kill yourself
In the Resist ending, we have a couple of options as well.
- When the tree falls on the car, rendering you all unconscious (whether true or a hallucination), Joseph rescues you from the vehicle because he sees you as your son, and leaves the other three to die in the inferno that is now Montana
- Joseph chooses to rescue you, but then immediately kills the other three to spare them the suffering that they'd be bound to endure
- Joseph rescues all of you, but your friends are in another room in the bunker and are unconscious. Perhaps he plans on killing them later, or maybe he wants to convert them
In closing: we'll never know and it's all for naught
Unless Far Cry 6 (or another named game that's off-series, like Primal) happens to follow the events of this game, or is alluded to in documents, logs or broadcasts from the next game, we'll never know what happened.
We'll never know if Joseph was an evil man with good intentions.
We'll never know if you and your friends truly walked away and what happened after Only You started playing.
We'll never know if the whole ending was a drug-induced hallucination that never actually happened.
What happened? Did we sacrifice the few to save the many (walked away and let Joseph be in peace) or did we sacrifice the many while also not saving anyone?
And the worst part of this whole thing?
It was all for nothing.
No matter the outcome -- whether you resisted and fought or gave up and walk away -- it all led to nothing. Everything you did in Montana, every person you saved, every outpost you returned to the folks of the county, every comic book and cigarette lighter you picked up, it all meant nothing.
If you resist and fight Joseph, the county and state is destroyed. If you walk away, you leave Joseph in peace.
The entirety of your actions has amounted to diddly squat.
And that, my friend, is the greatest injustice in Far Cry 5.
Comments or theories of your own?
Sound off in the comments section. I'd love to hear what you think. There is so much open to interpretation that theories abound, from the benign and mundane to the crazy and wtf-inducing.
Who is your favorite Seed?
© 2018 James Paterson