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The baddies of Far Cry earn a special place in our hearts, and President Antón Castillo is played by none other than Giancarlo Esposito. In fact, the actor was so invested in the world of Far Cry 6 that, when the team met him for the first time, he had props for the character.
Antón rules over Yara with an iron fist. The fictional island experienced a boom in the 1960s which generated unprecedented wealth for its population. However, since the cash flows dried up, Yara has been "frozen in time" like a "living postcard," explained narrative director Navid Khavari. Dejected and downtrodden, Yarans fell in love with the promises that the young and ambitious Antón offered them and their families, but they didn't see his dark side until it was too late. "With Antón, what he's saying is, 'I'm going to build paradise, but paradise isn't for everyone,'" explained Khavari when Far Cry 6 was announced. "For him, it's this idea that paradise comes at a cost, and he will enslave those who are against him to work as forced labour to get what he wants."
The environments of Yara are absolutely gorgeous, and I would definitely hop on a plane to visit the country if it existed IRL and we weren't in the middle of a pandemic. Still, this gameplay preview is scratching that itch for a tropical getaway. Check it out below.
When we got the chance to chat to the narrative director this week, he told us that the Emmy Award nominated actor was always one of the frontrunners to portray this callous and complex character. "You have actors' voices in your head, people that start to come through into the character, and Giancarlo was right there," explained Khavari. So, when it was confirmed that Esposito would play Antón, the team flew to New York to commune over how this character could develop across the course of the game, and Khavari "couldn't have been happier" with what happened next.
"He showed up with all of these notes on the script, questions for us, and he really wanted to hone in on the aspect of Antón as a father," said Khavari. Historically speaking, being a dictator isn't an especially secure or extended career path, and Antón knows that. So, he's training his young son Diego - played by Anthony Gonzalez - to follow in his footsteps when that time comes. That relationship will be "nuanced and mature" and even drew from Esposito's own experiences of fatherhood.
"The conversation went for four straight hours where we were looking at scripts, and he even had some props!" said the narrative director. "We had a really great time. And it was the start of this really beautiful collaboration that translated right to performance capture ... he was really ready to embrace being part of the Far Cry legacy." What did he bring with him that day to help him embody Antón? A cigar and a ball - the latter to symbolise the grenade that he hands Diego in the announcement trailer for Far Cry 6.
Khavari said he was floored by the amount of research that the actor poured into this role, and it's sure to have an effect on the way that players engage with Antón outside of his role as the antagonist. "Every character has a heartbeat, you just need to find that heartbeat," he explained, and talked about how the character's philosophy and upbringing rationalises the terrible things that he does. Far Cry stories are seen through the eyes of the hero, but this game will diverge from this formula, and allow the player to peek at Antón and Diego when they are simply a father and son rather than a dictator and heir apparent. "People act differently when they're in their own private space, and it's something that's going to help Antón feel present and visceral in the minds of players," concluded Khavari.
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