With Far Cry 6 now available, we chat to the game’s Narrative Director to learn more about Giancarlo Esposito’s terrifying villain.

Despite fans still reeling from the events of Far Cry 5 back in 2018, Ubisoft is at it again with Far Cry 6. This time, prepare to take a trip to the Cuban-inspired Yara – a tropical paradise frozen in time that is ready for revolution against a ruthless dictator.

There’s also a sausage dog who can wheel around handy parts for you. Classic Far Cry.

Much of the game’s promotion centres around Hollywood star Giancarlo Esposito. Makes sense considering the dude has provided countless classic performances like Breaking Bad’s Gus Fring and The Mandalorian’s Moff Gideon.

For Far Cry 6, Esposito plays the ruthless dictator in question Antón Castillo, who is hoping to restore his nation back to its former glory. Only catch is that he’s willing to do so by any means necessary. Just take a look the clip below to see how scary this guy can be.

Speaking with Far Cry 6’s Narrative Director, Navid Khavari, while the development team went through an extensive casting process, Giancarlo was always quite high on the list for actors to play Antón.

“[Giancarlo] had an amazing pedigree of playing iconic antagonists and it wasn’t long before I began writing with his voice in my head, Khavari admits. “When we finally had a sit down together, we knew he understood the character implicitly, particularly Antón’s relationship with his son. His performance elevates the narrative in the best way possible.”

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In fact, that initial meeting made headlines after it was revealed that Giancarlo was so prepared to take on the role that he even brought along some props for the discussion. But what exactly did he bring, we hear you ask?

“Along with notes on the script, he walked in with the best suit I’ve ever seen and a cigar at the ready” reveals Khavari. “He didn’t want to repeat what he’s done in the past, and he played Antón as someone who could switch from charismatic and charming one minute to absolutely terrifying the next. Most importantly, he wanted to focus on Antón’s relationship with Diego to really make you empathize with him as a father, not just a dictator.”

“The lightbulb moment was really when we started questioning what it would be like to sit in the living room of a dictator, away from the cameras and public,” Khavari says about creating the depth behind Castillo’s character. “How would they really explain their actions? Would they charm you into thinking what they’re saying makes sense? From there, we began to ask about the idea of family being in the room. We landed on Antón having a son, which felt very unique and interesting to explore. So, it really comes down to it feeling as organic as possible, what unique hook the character brings to the table and what they’re trying to say.”

But Far Cry 6 isn’t solely focused on its villain. Much of your time in Yara will actually be removed from the dangerous ploys of Castillo, so with that in mind the latest entry in the incredibly popular shooter series is trying to break new ground by having its playable character, Dani Rojas, take more of a leading role.

According to Khavari the reason behind this decision was simple. “I think primarily because this is the story of a modern revolution through the eyes of a guerrilla. To have that type of investment in the conflict and to have a connection to their motivations, it became critical for Dani to have a clear voice and grounding within Yara. We wanted to explore the idea of: “when does Dani’s revolution begin?” “When does it end?” “What do they believe?” To do that we needed Dani to speak up and have their opinion of the conflict. Dani is really the vehicle for the player to experience a guerrilla revolution.”

But fear not, though Far Cry 6 deals with some pretty serious topics, fans of the series can still expect plenty of zany antics that the series has been known for. How else do you explain a crocodile sidekick, a cock-fighting mini-game and branded Budgy Smugglers that you can buy in real life. The way Khavari sees it, this delicate balancing act is core to the DNA of Far Cry – a series known for tackling mature themes while still exploring levity and chaos. “For us, it was about creating as wide of a narrative wrapper as possible, rooting as much as we can in character and story, he goes on to explain.” Whether it’s Juan Cortez developing the idea of extremely powerful DIY Resolver Supremo backpacks while reading comic books during a previous revolution, or the complexity of Clara’s goals trying to unify so many disparate groups against Antón Castillo – it all needed to feel like it was part of the same world.”

You’ll be able to see for yourself how well the team has achieved that balancing act by picking up the game for yourself. It’s available via Amazon for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, XBO and PC.

For more on this topic, follow the Gaming Observer.