The Moral of the Story
Far Cry 4 is a story of characters who become so focused on a goal that they become blinded by it. Their drive to achieve their desires causes them to justify questionable actions, leading them down a path which in the end changes both the person and the goal itself. This is a tale about people who place the destination over the journey, caring not about how they arrive, only that they reach the end.
The Story and the Moral
To frame the moral of this story properly, let us introduce four characters from this story. The protagonist, Ajay Ghale, is a young man who has arrived in Kyrat (the fictional nation where the game takes place) to lay his mother’s ashes to rest. His key motivations throughout the game are to discover the truth about his past and family. He is the character we as the player embody throughout the game. The antagonist, Pagan Min, is the dictator and tyrant who rules Kyrat. While his internal motivations are somewhat hard to discern, it is safe to say his goal is to retain control of the country and crush the rebellion movement. Amita and Sabal are both leaders of the insurgency, a group called the Golden Path. Both have differing opinions on which methods will lead to the revolution’s success, but they share a vision of a Kyrat free from the clutches of Pagan Min.
The arrival of Ajay in Kyrat is a unique opportunity for Amita and Sabal. As the son of the previous leader of the Golden Path, Ajay is a rallying cry for the faltering revolution. Most of the game revolves around Ajay carrying out missions for the Golden Path, freeing areas of Kyrat from the control of Pagan Min. However, throughout each mission the player is required to choose the methods of either Sabal or Amita in order to progress further. From both Ajay’s and our perspective, these come across as fairly insignificant choices. They seem to be merely a means to further the story in order to learn more about Ajay’s past. This is one of the most interesting elements of Far Cry 4 as the player is influenced to fall into the same trap as the character in the story. It is fairly noticeable that Amita and Sabal are using Ajay, but we don’t really care. Completing their tasks allows the story to progress and truthfully freeing Kyrat from Pagan Min simply seems like the right thing to do. The combination of these elements causes both Ajay and us to focus on the end result and to pay less attention to how we get there. Sadly, it is not until the completion of the game that this mistake comes back to haunt us.
Amita and Sabal share the vision of a free Kyrat. But they disagree both on how freedom can be achieved and what a free Kyrat should look like if the revolution succeeds. Amita believes in progress, that only by embracing modern methods will the revolution succeed and Kyrat become a strong nation. From her point of view this can only happen if traditional values and religion are thrown aside. As the reverse of this, Sabal believes in traditional values, and in his mind modern concepts are the creation and poison of Pagan Min. Only through embracing the past and placing faith in religion can Kyrat become free. As the player, we are instrumental in enabling Amita or Sabal to achieve their goals at the end of the game. After confronting Pagan Min, we return to the Golden Path to realize we have made a grave mistake. Throughout the game, as we supported one leader or the other we progressed and eventually achieved the goal of freeing Kyrat from Pagan Min. But, through our lack of attention to how this was accomplished, we replaced one tyrant with another. We became so focused on freeing Kyrat and learning about Ajay’s family that we did not notice how the leaders of the Golden Path were becoming little better than the current dictator. Perhaps we did notice but simply did not care because it seemed to be a sideshow in some way, irrelevant to the main story. We share Ajay’s mistake in thinking we controlled the future of Kyrat without considering the ambitions of others.
The most powerful part of Far Cry 4 is that we cannot avoid this fate. The game only allows for two paths, Amita or Sabal. Regardless of which we choose the outcome is the same. Kyrat is free from Pagan Min but a new tyrant takes his place no matter what we do. After confronting Pagan Min and learning the final truth about Ajay’s family the game ends on a note of helplessness and sadness as we are unable to save Kyrat from its fate. There may even be a touch of guilt as we feel responsible for enabling it to happen. The distinct lack of a happy ending for Kyrat reinforces the moral of the story and forces us to pay attention. When the desire to attain a goal comes before the methods we use to achieve it, we may find the outcome is not what we had imagined or intended.
Life and the Moral
It takes very little to adapt the moral of Far Cry 4 to our own lives. Every goal we have, every want or need we strive for can benefit from it. The value of achieving something comes not from the goal itself but from the path we took to get there. The lessons we learned along the way, the people we met, existing relationships that were built up, the sum of it all influences and makes the end result all the more valuable. To reach a result by any means necessary is the inverse of all this. If nothing but the goal matters, then we would take the shortest path to get there, missing out on any skills or lessons which could have been learned along the way. If nothing but the goal matters, we care for no one else but ourselves and our goal. If nothing but the goal matters, we do not care about our relationships with others as we are willing to manipulate and use those around us to get what we want. Obviously, these are generalizations and do not apply to every scenario, but the point remains clear. We must place the how before the what and consider how our actions are shaping not only our end goals but who we are as a person. There is immense value to be gained by applying this moral to our daily lives. Let the tale of Far Cry 4 be a constant reminder to always place journey before destination.