End Of Days: Thoughts On Far Cry 5’s Endings

Concluding a video game can come with an array of emotions. There’s a sense of completion and satisfaction when you finally get to the point of seeing how the journey ends. You can be filled with a pang of longing and a bit of sorrow that there’s nothing more to do, except say goodbye. Or you can feel shock and anger over a conclusion you did not expect, a pay off that can feel like a colossal waste of time. Endings, especially in video games, can provoke a strong reaction from players. Far Cry 5’s two endings have made such an impression that I’m still unsure how I’m supposed to feel.

[Credit: Ubisoft]
Far Cry 5’s story about a rookie deputy sheriff who is suddenly shouldering the responsibility to take down a doomsday cult known as Eden’s Gate, led by the psychopathic Joseph Seed and his family, appears to be your rudimentary “hero saves the day” type of game. But when you play it through to the end, it becomes something no one really expects. A word of warning, the following will have spoilers about the endings to Far Cry 5. Read at your own discretion.

The game has two possible endings, the good and bad, and one hidden Easter Egg ending at the very beginning of the game, which I did not know about until I read further impressions about the conclusions to Far Cry 5. Since I was playing the game as a co-op campaign with my friend, she wanted to do the “bad ending” she didn’t take originally when she first played it solo.

At the end of the game, our deputy sheriff comes face-to-face with Joseph Seed after having taken down his equally psychotic family members and liberating all the regions under the cult’s control in Hope County. When you meet him in “the place where it all began,” which is the church from the start of the game, you discover that all the important NPCs you have helped and befriended throughout the game are under Seed’s control, courtesy of a trippy drug known as Bliss, and have re-captured all of your law enforcement friends, who you have also painstakingly spent a majority of the game looking for and freeing from the clutches of Eden’s Gate. You are given two options by Joseph Seed—leave Hope County with only the people you came with or continue resisting and fighting against him. Naturally, my friend chose the option that’s considered the “bad choice,” which is to walk away from Joseph Seed, doing as he requested but leaving your other friends to a doomed and Blissed out fate.

The NPCs under Joseph Seed’s control. [Credit: Ubisoft]
As you and your colleagues drive away from a pretty traumatizing and torturous time in Hope County, Sheriff Earl Whitehorse, behind the wheel of the car, begins to hatch out a plan to call in reinforcements to go back and take down Joseph Seed and his remaining followers. The ending doesn’t seem all that bad, other than retreating, until Sheriff Whitehorse flips on the radio and the song “Only You” starts playing. If you played the game, “Only You” becomes the song Jacob Seed uses to brainwash and condition your deputy sheriff to kill on command every time they hear the song. Sheriff Whitehorse looks over to your deputy sheriff asking you what’s wrong, as the screen begins to go red and your character starts to act a little funny before the screen fades to black and the credits roll with “Only You” continuing to eerily play in the background.

The face of a man who has no idea what’s coming. [Credit: Ubisoft]
After the credits have finished rolling, and because my friend is the one hosting the campaign, we are given the option to go back to the final moments of the game to pick the other ending we didn’t do, which is the “good ending.” Unlike the surrender ending, the resist ending gives you the much expected final boss fight against Joseph Seed. What’s unusual about this final fight is you have to first snap the main NPCs from their Bliss ridden state by shooting them and then reviving the fallen character before they completely die off. I’m not exactly sure if the NPC characters you’re liberating will actually die if you don’t revive them in time, but I’m guessing they might based on how the entirety of the game plays. Once you free everyone from Seed’s mind control and they have joined you to fight by your side, then defeating him is ridiculously easy.

With Seed beaten and in handcuffs where he belongs, you’d think you would be celebrating, right? Think again. Just when you’re about ready to take Seed in for booking, a huge nuclear explosion happens in the distance and complete panic ensues. Seed may have had a hand in this explosion, it’s never really explained how he’s able to do that, but your character along with all your law enforcement buddies and a detained Joseph Seed pile into vehicles to get away from the growing fire and destruction the blast has caused. You presume the game will end where everyone gets out of Hope County and Seed is brought to justice, but another twist occurs. The vehicle you’re in crashes and kills everyone in the car, except your deputy sheriff and Joseph Seed. Your character is fading in and out of consciousness and you watch as Joseph Seed picks you up and carries you someplace. When your deputy sheriff finally regains full consciousness, you discover you’re in Dutch’s underground bunker, one of many characters who helps you in the game, with Joseph Seed and a presumably murdered Dutch lying on the ground next to you. Your character is sitting in a chair fully tied up with no escape from the man who orchestrated the end of days he has been preaching and obsessing over. Your deputy sheriff is forced to listen to Seed’s crazy babble of laying low until it becomes safe enough to emerge from the bunker. Seed proclaims the two of you are family now, after you have taken out all of his, and you will both bring about the new world and walk into Eden’s Gate together, his creepy and frightening smile being the last thing you see before the credits roll.

The two endings are a lot to process after having witnessed both. In hindsight, neither ending is particularly good. Your deputy sheriff and the other characters are screwed no matter what. In the “bad ending,” I half expected it to be a trap. Is Joseph Seed really going to just let your playable character and your colleagues walk away without them attacking you? I was pretty much ready for a fight, but it is exactly as he said. You get to leave and he doesn’t stop you. Hope County and all the residents in it are, and pardon my language, seriously fucked but you get to leave that crazy hell hole with your people. It’ll all be okay, right? No, absolutely not. After Joseph Seed’s brother Jacob Seed does quite the number on your psyche before you put a bullet in the lunatic, enough damage has been done where it’s impossible not to do what you’re conditioned to do, which is “kill, kill, sacrifice.” The implications of the “bad ending” is pretty obvious—your deputy sheriff murders everyone in the car with you after you get triggered by the “Only You” song. I will never look at that song the same way ever again and I always liked that tune too.

The “good ending” is the biggest doozy of them all and the most disturbing. You think everything with the Seed clan is all over, the head of Eden’s Gate completely beaten and brought down once and for all. Instead, Seed has always been steps ahead of everyone and manages to pull a nuclear bomb someplace out of his ass. It bothers me that it’s never really explained, although, plenty of articles, like this one from Polygon, have reported that if you pay attention to the radio talking heads as you go through the game, it hints at what’s coming from the very start. Then there’s the whole bunker scene with Joseph Seed. What bothered me the most is how this ending has its own messed up interpretation, if you play as a female character which me and my friend have.

Listening to Joseph Seed wax twisted poetic about the world being born anew, stepping into the light and deeming you his family now, knowing what this murdering, sinister psycho is capable of, the insinuations are pretty huge if you’re a female character in this game. Not only will you be broken and brainwashed to eventual submission to be one of Joseph Seed’s Eden’s Gate followers, but you’ll be unwillingly Seed’s Eve to his Adam. The way I interpreted his line, “And when this world is ready to be borne anew, we will step into the light,” I couldn’t help but think he means to force your female deputy sheriff into helping him repopulate the world and raising children brainwashed off of his Eden’s Gate ideology. Months or years of torture with sexual abuse thrown into the mix with a madman? Not the fate or ending I had in mind for my poor female deputy sheriff. If it were up to me, she would have escaped, found the nearest gun or weapon available, and put herself out of her own misery. Death is better than being stuck in a room with that wacko. Obviously, if you played the deputy as a male you get none of that. At most the fate of a male deputy sheriff with Joseph Seed is he’ll be brainwashed and an obedient follower as Seed’s child to his Father. For a female character, it’s just completely devastating and gets under your skin in the worst way possible.

Together…forever? If that mug doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. [Credit: Ubisoft]
Having finished Far Cry 5, I have mixed feelings. It’s difficult for me to say if I really enjoyed playing this game. The gameplay is fun, but the story is underwhelming. It does start off as if this narrative will have something meaningful to say about politics, religious fanaticism, and cults, only for those topics to remain firmly surface level, never diving deeper into any of these themes. I will say that the endings took me completely by surprise and the developers and writers for Far Cry 5 succeeded in pulling the rug right out from under unsuspecting players. Not since Spec Ops: The Line has a video game ended in ways I never imagined it would. Far Cry 5 leans heavily into the idea of there being no happy resolutions, only grim realities where the hero doesn’t always save the day. Sometimes, even villains are the ones who emerge victorious with a chance to die another day. And with the announcement of Far Cry New Dawn coming out later this year, a sequel that picks up years after the events in Far Cry 5, it seems the nuclear holocaust ending is canon in Far Cry 5. There’s also speculation that you’ll find out the fate of your deputy sheriff in New Dawn based on a mission in that game.

My time with Far Cry 5 has been memorable to say the least. Has this game made me interested in picking up the other titles in the Far Cry series. Not really. I will say Far Cry 5 will go down as a game that has endings you’ll never soon forget.

Have you played Far Cry 5? What are your thoughts on the endings?

9 thoughts on “End Of Days: Thoughts On Far Cry 5’s Endings

  1. I was left a little cold by the whole Far Cry 5 experience. I’ve been playing the series a long time now. They made a few interesting tweaks to the typical Far Cry formula, but I just don’t find the same joy in things I used to love (like outposts used to be so cool, but a handful of games later I feel like I’ve played every version of them in every way). I did love teaming up with the animal partners though. That was sweet.

    I haven’t really thought some of the themes they’ve gone for in previous games have worked too well, so my expectations for the story weren’t too high. I only knew about the apocalyptic ending I guess. That was the one I got. I never even looked up the other haha. I usually would, but maybe I was so indifferent, I was like screw it. I did think it was a pretty bold ending. I also read it slightly different than you. I didn’t think Seed was responsible for the Nuclear bomb. I thought his cult was just predicting Nuclear War and therefore ended up being right. I thought it was a result of warring countries. It has been a while since I played it so I’d have to go back and look to see what made me think that, but I believe it was what the radio broadcasts inferred? Not sure. Not that it fixes the ending or anything though! It’s still sends kind of a brutal message to the player. It basically punishes you and tries to make you feel like you did something wrong, despite the fact that you were trying to stop a cult that was doing awful stuff. And I hadn’t thought of the implications of using a female character like you did until reading it which makes it much worse.

    I also find it kind of crazy they are following that ending up with the new game. While I think the games are generally supposed to be in the same universe, they are usually just completely different stories. These will actually be connected. I’ll probably rent the game, but my passion for this series has waned over time.

    Anyway, I liked reading your thoughts on the endings. I didn’t care much for it either and hadn’t even known how different the other ending was until I read this.

    1. Thanks for reading! Admittedly, I didn’t pay too much attention to the radio talk. Mostly because the friend I was playing with wasn’t one to stop anywhere for too long. She much preferred to keep things moving along, while me, I probably would have played every radio or read every note we encountered, haha! This explains why when the nuclear explosion happened in the “good ending” it seemed really out of left field for me. All I could think about was, “How the hell did Seed managed that? WHAT????!!!”

      After spending some time thinking about Far Cry 5, it does seem like the game wants to punish your character no matter what you did. Kind of the whole, “no good deed goes unpunished”. The endings really were unforgiving in every way possible, which is why I’m reluctant to say I loved how the whole thing ends, no matter which path you chose. But I’d probably lean more towards the ending where my deputy sheriff just kills everyone in the car after being triggered by “Only You.” The other ending still gives me the willies just thinking about what awaits my deputy sheriff.

      I never played any of the other Far Cry games prior to Far Cry 5, but I did know all the other games were their own standalone stories. To have Far Cry 5 and New Dawn be the first two games to be directly linked to each other is an interesting departure from how they approached their series. I wonder why they decided to make a sequel to Far Cry 5. Nothing about Far Cry 5 made me think it needed a sequel. As messed up as the endings were, it felt pretty complete on its own.

      I think the only way I’ll be playing New Dawn is if my friend who I played Far Cry 5 with gets me the game as a birthday gift again and there’s a co-op feature to do the story campaign together, like Far Cry 5. Otherwise, what I already experienced of the series is plenty for me.

  2. Reblogged this on Around The Bonfire and commented:
    An interesting game that is both almost a tourism simulator of the mid west United States with some gorgeous looking scenery and environments. In contrast the people and characters are a mixed bunch of types. That being said a very divisive but memorable ending with the detonation. Was it all a way set up the spin off game? Perhaps but a detailed take on the end from Far Cry 5

  3. I fell into the trap of presuming the epic final struggle would lead to the traditional heroes ending. The detonation certainly spun me around and the closing moments were a very interesting final closure experience with my deputy and Joseph. Arguably, it does feel like a set up for the spin off game but whether this was the intention all along 🤷🏼‍♂️ just a shame all the DLC was centred around alt. Experiences instead of following it up.

    1. I suppose once you play video games that tend to have happy or at least more hopeful kind of endings, you’d expect a game to do what’s traditional. I thought the same thing and I was blown away by how Far Cry 5 upends everything you expect from an ending. It definitely stands out and it’s a gutsy move to make from a story standpoint. I did think the game’s graphics of Montana or a fictional town in Montana was quite beautiful to explore in. The gameplay was enjoyable. But other than that, the overall story was a letdown. Now that you mention it, I do wonder if the developers of Far Cry 5 had always planned to make a spin off game in the form of New Dawn or was it just something they decided at the last second when it was time to consider the next installment in their series. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

    1. Yeah, the ending while as bold as it was still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Reading some of the plot developments in New Dawn that’s tied to Far Cry 5 has me even more skeptical about ever playing their sequel. Fun gameplay isn’t enough for me to want to play it if the story is just very meh.

  4. Interesting thoughts on Far Cry 5’s ending. I kinda wished that Pratt, Whitehorse, and Hudson had an Easter egg of some sort. Or, maybe let them survived. I didn’t like how Pratt’s story arc went. However, after saving Hudson and Sheriff and had a glimpse of their backstories, I felt somekind of connection, an emotional one.

    1. What about Pratt’s story arc didn’t you like? I have to admit, I think I preferred Hudson and Whitehorse over Pratt. By the time we got to Pratt I found him largely annoying, even though he has been through a traumatizing ordeal like the rest of the NPCs.

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