The Worst Part Of 'Far Cry New Dawn' Is Its Silent Protagonist

far cry new dawn father
(Photo: Ubisoft)

With Far Cry 5, Ubisoft decided to go with a voiceless protagonist in an attempt to make the game's main character more customizable for the player, or at least that was presumably its angle. You could choose their gender, their appearance, their clothes, but this seemingly came at the expense of the character being voiced, though these two things can exist together. Whatever the reason Ubisoft decided to do this, it was criticized for it as it was easily one of the worst parts of Far Cry 5. But yet, today, it released Far Cry New Dawn, a standalone sequel, with a voiceless protagonist. And again, it's a glaringly terrible design decision

I wrote the following about the decision to once again go with a voiceless protagonist in my review of the game:

"Like Far Cry 5, New Dawn features a silent protagonist that feels clashingly out of place. It hurts immersion, it hurts the narrative, and undercuts all emotional resonance as you run around as a characterless and colorless empty vessel. There's not even branching dialogue or decisions to define your character to subsidize this either. It's a puzzling design choice that I hope doesn't stick with future installments."

As you can see, I'm not entirely against the idea of voiceless protagonists. But if you're going to have a voiceless protagonist in game that is considerably story-driven, you need to subsidize with other features. In other words, if you're going to have a silent protagonist, at least add something that lets the player in their head define who that character is. Letting them design how they look -- in very rudimentary fashion -- isn't enough, especially in a first-person game where you hardly ever see the protagonist to begin with.

In Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, I not only established a connection with the protagonist, but the character's relationship with other characters and the world around them had more weight. In Far Cry 5 and New Dawn, the protagonist has no identity and further no emotion or motivation to really relate to. I don't care what happens to the character because the only way I can subscribe meaning or an identity to them is by what clothes they wear.

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Lastly, it creates for some awkward cut-scenes, especially when it's a one-on-one between another character and the protagonist. Sure, this isn't as big of an issue when you have crazy villains who dominate the cut-scene anyway, but when you're having more personal interactions with other residents of Hope County, it feels very out of place.

Far Cry protagonists have never been the star of the show, and that should never change. But Ubisoft has taken it too far with silent protagonists, and I hope it doesn't stick for Far Cry 6.