Ubisoft's Far Cry 5 dropped its first teaser trailer earlier today. In a franchise known for its use of exotic, far-flung locales, #FarCry5's setting of Montana might seem out of place. How is Montana exotic or exciting? When you consider Far Cry's elements of surviving in isolation in the wilderness, however, Montana might just be perfect.
It's easy to forget just how big the United States of America is, but let's put it in perspective.
The USA Is Mostly Massive, Disconnected, Rural Areas
That's the UK overlaid on the US. The entirety of the UK fits within just two states of the Union. If you rotated the UK on its side, most of it would fit within Montana alone.
- Population: 65 million
- Average Population Density: 191 people per square mile
- Population: 1 million
- Average Population Density: 6.5 people per square mile
Montana is big, it's scarcely populated, and despite being a part of the continental US, it's relatively isolated. There's a lot of space, and it rarely makes the news. Watch the Far Cry 5 teaser trailer below.
In a modern American city, it's difficult to be truly stranded. Even if you somehow lost the smartphone that now lives in your pocket, civilization is all around you. If your car breaks down, it's not likely you need to walk more than a block to find a way to contact friends, family, or a tow truck.
Rural America has the potential to be quite different.
Rural towns are lucky if they're even connected via America's highway system, often accessible only via dirt roads far off the beaten path. While road tripping through the American Southwest, losing my cell signal in the middle of the Mojave Desert made the situation clear: If something went wrong, all the advantages of modern technology went out the window.
A phone call won't determine your survival in that situation. Survival depends on your ability to reach the nearest town or gas station on foot. Near a highway, that might only take a few hours or maybe you can hitchhike. When you're off the grid, it could take much longer — assuming you know where you are to begin with.
People regularly stroll into America's National Parks and never come out again. Many of America's smallest rural villages are so far off the beaten path, if some calamity wiped them out, it could take days or weeks for the rest of the country to find out about it.
In my home state of Wisconsin, a village I once visited had a population of less than 1,000 people. Tourism was the only economy they had. They didn't have their own police force, instead relying on a volunteer sheriff and volunteer fire fighters. Visiting your neighbors was best performed via riding an ATV on dirt paths through the forest. A small church tucked away in the woods was the only communal gathering place.
In towns like that, your best form of safety and security is rallying a tight-knit community and hoping everyone has good intentions. If they don't, you better be armed — because there are literally no police to help you. The people of that town were wonderful. In a fictional scenario where something went wrong or you weren't welcome? A town like that one could be home to an American nightmare.
An isolated location with minimal contact with the outside world, where the populace is sparse, heavily armed, and relatively cut off from access to modern infrastructure? A place where it's man vs. wild and your survival is in your own hands. That sounds like Far Cry. That's also rural America. That's Montana.