Olivia Alexander, Greg Bryk Dish on Hope County 17 Years Later in Far Cry: New Dawn

Far Cry: New Dawn returns to Hope County seventeen years after the events at the end of Far Cry 5. A lot can change in that amount of time and this is a very different Hope County than we remember. Familiar characters will return in some different roles while a new threat interferes with the effort to rebuild. Hardcore Gamer was able to sit down with Greg Bryk, the actor who portrays Joseph Seed who seems far less evil and threatening than the Father, and scriptwriter and narrative designer Olivia Alexander who helped create the vibrant world of Hope County. Be warned that Far Cry 5 spoilers are unavoidable in discussing New Dawn, so even though we try to minimize them, bookmark this page and go finish Far Cry 5 if you care about that sort of thing.

[Hardcore Gamer] To start things off, let’s discuss what roles you two each play in bringing your characters in Hope County to life?

[Greg Bryk] I will be playing the role of The Father, Joseph Seed again in this game who was created for Far Cry 5. He comes back in New Dawn after the apocalypse having created New Eden where they have abandoned technology to go back to the earth and human connection and a more primal existence. Unfortunately their paradise is threatened by forces around them.

[Olivia Alexander] I am a script writer, I was responsible for characterizing the twins and a number of other characters such as guns for hire and the Little F—– (Editor’s Note: This word is spelled and pronounced differently in the final release version of Far Cry: New Dawn) mission. Those sorts of things.

Olivia Alexander

The Far Cry villains are always a major point of interest and this is a first, having dual antagonists instead of just one. What can you tell us about the twins?

[Olivia Alexander] The twins are the coleaders of one of the factions in the game, the Highwaymen, and they are the main antagonists. They are sort of this marauding band of land pirates, they are loud, they are colorful and sort of like peacocks. Their philosophy is to live for today. They are here for a good time, not a long time, so let’s get as much as we can and if other people have to suffer for that to happen that’s just the way it is. They look after their own people. They are sort of an indomitable force in their own philosophy and they are here to bleed Hope County dry and if no one stops them that is exactly what they will.

So really kind, likable people.

[Greg Bryk] Conscientious, really.

[Olivia Alexander] Yeah, and they’re both really smart and calculating in how they go about it. It’s really a wonderful challenge for the player to go up against them. We really wanted to do the two villains since historically in Far Cry it’s always been a one on one, the player versus the villain like the Father who is taking up the screen so in this we wanted to have two orbiting forces against the player as a united force, increasing the challenge thematically.

[Greg Bryk] They’re dynamite. I spent some time seeing the characters in action and they’re tremendous. They have amazing chemistry with each other and this forceful energy. They are smart and dynamic and they are going to be tremendous villains.

This one is for Greg, can you contrast the differences in portraying Joseph Seed in Far Cry 5 compared to bringing him back seventeen years later for New Dawn?

[Greg Bryk] At the end of Far Cry 5 we left the Father a broken man. My brothers and Faith have been killed and the world around me was destroyed. I thought it was interesting how we rebuilt that character after a catastrophic event and after such a catastrophic emotional event. The Father emerged from the bunker and was able to create a world that was the ideal world he had, no technology and a very tight knit and loving community. He created that in the new world in New Eden but heaven and hell stand side by side often. For me to create this character after he had to put himself back together was based on how when we get older our philosophy and priorities can change. How we assume responsibility can change and it was interesting to do that with the Father. I love the character, I think he is a tremendously well-written character in Far Cry 5 and with new opportunities in New Dawn, so I was thrilled to revisit the character.

The Father was one of the more compelling aspects of Far Cry 5. The idea of a doomsday cult causing problems in Montana is a lot closer to home than Far Cry traditionally is, but when you look at things like Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate, the threat seems a lot more plausible, at least parts of it.

[Greg Bryk] The danger is that it’s recognizable, you know what I mean. It’s less of a super villain and more of someone who could actually exist, these people walk among us. That added the danger of being more real.

[Olivia Alexander] To add to that in Far Cry: New Dawn that kind of mentality spreads out into three different factions. The cult itself and its own philosophy has evolved into the new world since they have their main philosophy that people were attracted to before the world ended and the same thing with the Highwaymen with their own philosophy. They all attracted different sorts of people and if you wanted to you could break each one down to fanatics. Maybe not so much the survivors.

What’s the cult like now in the new world? Actually, what are all the different factions like?

[Olivia Alexander] The way that I like to break it down is the survivors are living for the past and they are trying to rebuild America in the new world back to how it was, which will probably never happen and if it does it won’t likely be in their lifetime. The Highwaymen are living for today, they don’t really care about the past and they sure as heck don’t care about the future. They’re here for what is enjoyable right now. New Eden is actually living for the future. They want to build a world that is far removed from what the world was like when the bombs fell so that it never happens again. Their focus is on longevity, even if they do dress like cavemen that is the way they are thinking.

Gotcha, three different factions with very diverse viewpoints, kind of a trichotomy of existence.

[Olivia Alexander] That’s a very good word

I’m not sure if it’s actually a real word or not.

[Greg and Olivia in unison] It is now. (laughs)

Okay so within that trichotomy there are several different conflicts going on. It’s 17 years after Far Cry 5 and the world is a bit of a mess with each of these three groups wanting different things and having different methods to achieve them. Are their going to be multiple branching paths the player can take to achieve different endings?

[Olivia Alexander] Without giving anything away, an individual player’s style of gameplay and where they choose to explore the world and what they do will make the experience very different for everybody. Who they choose to bring into the community will change how people talk to each other. For example, if you a certain gun for hire and a certain specialist they will say things to each other that you wouldn’t otherwise hear if they weren’t in the same place. There are some crucial choices that happen in the game and they form a lot of who the player character is and what they believe is right and well, I’m bordering on giving something away so let’s just say there are choices that define the character.

[Greg Bryk] I think that’s one of the things that Far Cry does so well is that there is a self authorship to the experience. You’re guided and you don’t have an infinite number of choices but there’s enough of them where you really create your own narrative. The story becomes personal, it becomes your journey. Every hero’s journey has an element of chaos and emerging and you create that narrative.

I remember choices mattering in Far Cry 4, where you have two people you’re working with but at critical points you have to choose the course of action laid out by one of them, making it impossible to find a clean resolution that pleases everyone such as choosing to provide necessary help now at the expense of obtaining intel that could potentially save more lives later but either way it makes the choice since someone is going to be upset and there is no clear correct choice. It sounds like there might be this type of decision making tension in New Dawn.

[Greg Bryk] Heavy is the head that wears the crown. When you make decisions there will always be someone who is disappointed, but you have to follow your own conviction and do what you think is right and make the best decision you can.

[Olivia Alexander] A very good example of that in game is with Carmina. Carmina has never known anything except for this world and the way she sees the cult is they may be some odd ducks but relatively harmless and keep to themselves. Her parents on the other hand see them the exact opposite. There is the potential of being neighbors with someone either your parents or you yourself have such a complicated and violent history with.

Something like nuclear bombs going off in your backyard could soften the hearts of a fanatical cult I suppose.

[Greg Bryk] The nice thing is that the baptism of fire gives you a clean slate and nature comes back with wild abandon and you have this sense where there is no history and when there is no history you can create the future freely.

Carmina has that different perspective where this is just what the world is since that’s all she’s known so she doesn’t see the cult the way the other survivors see them or people who have played Far Cry 5 see them who remember them as not being too far removed from the Highwaymen.

[Greg Bryk] History has no echo when the past has been erased.

[Olivia Alexander] The echo only lasts as long as the people who were there.

It will be kind of weird to not see the Father and the cult as the main enemy since Far Cry 5 is still fresh enough in my gaming history. As a player, seeing Joseph Seed and the cult as not being an immediate threat will take some getting used to.

[Olivia Alexander] They are more of a strong but neutral presence in the game. Their role is significant but they are not the antagonist. The Highwaymen fill that role very well.

[Greg Bryk] They do but they are also very compelling the same way most outlaw groups are. Like how people are drawn to biker gangs and pirates, it’s the lawlessness and wanting to live in the immediacy. Being confined to having to care about the future or behaving can make the idea of now now now seem attractive. They fly that outlaw flag.

I do see their overall appearance as having a neon Mad Max vibe to it. We have discussed the twins and we all know Joseph Seed. Can you tell us about any other new characters we might be meeting or any familiar faces returning?

[Olivia Alexander] Far Cry 5 players will recognize some familiar faces. You’ll have some tough as nails characters from Hope County kicking around. Not everyone did make i, though. Grace Armstrong is still around being innovative. Pastor Jerome is a gun for hire now, his role as community leader has evolved. Someone I am particularly excited for is a character called Nana, she is a former extreme tourism guide. She is at that wonderful age where she just doesn’t give a crap anymore and does whatever she wants and makes for a very nice traveling companion. As you gathered the Father will be in the game, moving the story along.

As a scriptwriter, are there any really cool non-spoilery parts of the story you can share with us?

[Olivia Alexander] I’ll stick to what you might experience in the demo today. You arrive in Hope County as the captain of security for a man named Thomas Rush who arrived from the west coast and is trying to rebuild pockets of civilization. When you arrive, before you are able to get to Hope County your train is decimated by the Highwaymen and the only survivors are you and Thomas and Thomas has been taken. A crucial part of the story progression at this point is getting Thomas Rush out of captivity and back to Prosperity where we can start doing some good since he has experience and expertise in getting communities off the ground so you’re going to have to go head to head with the Highwaymen. You can also get a glimpse into how the Highwaymen function and why they do what they do in a mission with a character called Little F—– and also you can see what has happened to the cult and how they have grown and what happened to their foundation, both in terms of mysticism and practicality. You can go to their bunker and see in a practical way and mystical way what drove the Father and his followers to turn over this new leaf.

For both of you, what is something you are each excited about and looking forward to players getting to experience in Far Cry: New Dawn?

[Greg Bryk] My scope of the game is strictly with the Father. This is all been exploratory and I’m still getting a lot of new information about the world around me but I think there is a great and complicated relationship between the Father and the player in Far Cry 5 and to have people revisit the character and continue that relationship and have that first moment after so much had happened in Far Cry 5 when they meet the Father face to face in this game is the moment I am looking forward to and seeing how people react to it and what the response is on social media. A lot of people hate the father and a lot of people love the father so how people react to that first moment in seeing the Father again.

I can see that. The Father is one of my love to hate characters for some of the reasons I mentioned earlier. He’s a fictional character but there is definitely some realism to him based on real world cults and that militia that took over an outpost a few years ago. I saw the basis for him from historical events and that makes him more terrifying than some of the other Far Cry villains because on the surface he may seem more charismatic and benign but while it was an extreme example in Far Cry 5 that scenario is not outside of the realm of possibilities.

[Olivia Alexander] Something I am really excited for, personally, is Nana. I am excited for people to find her and hang out with Nana.

Just seeing picture in the presentation makes me want to find her and see what is going on with Nana.

[Olivia Alexander] She is unique. She’s got some touchstones people might recognize but she is a unique character. Another thing I am really excited for is for people to see the dynamic the twins have, both with each other and the world around them. They are very much a product of the world around them and they are both dedicated to their own beliefs and taking care of their own people. I am very excited for people to take a look at their story and their motivations and how their story is conductive to the threat of New Dawn.

I’m looking forward to watching them play out. It seems like having the two of them will bring a whole new dynamic to Far Cry: New Dawn.

[Olivia Alexander] It’s very familial. As you see there are many themes of family in Far Cry: New Dawn and they are no exception to that. New Dawn is a direct sequel from Far Cry 5 but it’s a very different Hope County than what players will remember. There are certain geographic ghosts and structures that have been irreversibly changed that serve as markers from the old world but things are very different. The map is the same that it is the same geographical setting but 17 years and the global fallout really changes the landscape. This isn’t pleasant but one of the side effects is everything dies and there isn’t much life for five to seven years, but New Dawn is very much about rebirth and recovering.