Far Cry 2 Has A Dumb Ending

At the end of Far Cry 2, the Jackal, the arms dealer who equipped both sides of the civil war that tore apart the fictitious central African nation you’ve been murdering your way through, turns out to be working on a plan to evacuate the entire civilian population of the nation and then trap the militia and mercenaries inside to kill each other to a man. The player character helps this plan at the very end, presumably including the part where both the Jackal and the player character kill themselves at the end, because the Jackal seems to think that war is a literal infectious disease and that you can’t just decide to stop fighting wars, you have to actually die or else other people might become infected by war-fighting just by proximity to you.

There’s so many dumb things in this plan. The idea that you can evacuate the entire population of a nation except for the combatants, when combatants make up maybe 20% of the population at an absolute extreme level of hyper-mobilization (5-10% is way more likely even for a civil war where logistics are relatively easy). The idea that war is an infectious disease and that the people who fight it have to literally die instead of retiring. The idea that the two opposed factions will keep fighting until all of them, every last one, are dead, when they’re already starting to come to a truce and are thus presumably both close to exhausted, which will not change even after the existing leadership of the two sides is totally annihilated.

There’s also the part where all your buddies turn on you for vague reasons. I can imagine a perfectly good reason: At the end of Act 1, one of the two factions (it changes based on your playthrough and makes no difference) has the other on the brink of total defeat and are trying to consolidate their rule by killing a ton of people, including all the mercenaries who kept the war going. You have a choice to either help your mercenary buddies defend the bar where you’ve been hanging out together for the whole act, or help a bunch of civilians escape the country. I chose the latter. The buddies who showed up to fight me were mostly the Act 1 buddies, with only one exception. That one exception tried to talk the Act 1 buddies out of starting a fight with me, although he does side with them when this inevitably failed. So the Act 1 buddies try to kill me because I abandoned them to try and save the civilians, and my one Act 2 buddy joins them because he’d already cut a deal with them to flee the country, probably because the Act 1 buddies showed up first and put a gun to his head.

They don’t actually say that, though. Act 2 Buddy (mine was Xianyong Bai) says his escape plan is still on, then the lead Act 1 Buddy (mine was Marty Alencar) comes out and says the deal was to leave me on my own and wants Act 2 Buddy to shoot, Act 2 Buddy tries to defuse the situation, and Act 1 Buddy starts shooting. Act 2 Buddy sides with Act 1 Buddy. My understanding is this plays out pretty much the same regardless of who you try to help at the end of Act 1, so it’s only coincidence that any of my buddies have any reason to dislike me. An equally supported but much stupider interpretation would be that the buddies have been infected by the war virus that the Jackal thinks exists and are killing people at random. It comes across like someone thought it would be cool to have your buddies turn on you in the game’s finale, but apparently didn’t follow that thought far enough to write some dialogue where they actually say why they’re doing it.

I wonder if there were originally supposed to be multiple endings? Towards the end, you have several missions where you’re assigned to kill a high-ranking member of the UFLL/APR by another high-ranking member of the UFLL/APR as they struggle for control of their respective factions, but can instead decide to kill the person who assigned the mission. By the end, you’ve whittled each faction down to exactly one named character, who are meeting at a jungle bivouac to discuss a unified government. Part of the Jackal’s plan is to kill them both in order to throw the factions back into chaos (this part, at least, makes sense – after the total massacre of the leadership of both factions, the remaining troops will scramble to re-establish a chain-of-command, and given the militia-and-mercenaries-duct-taped-together nature of the armies, it probably won’t be straightforward or bloodless). Another part of the Jackal’s plan is to collect the diamonds to bribe the border guards, which is where you fight your buddies. So it’s straightforward to have three endings: One where you go to the Bivouac and join the new government, killing your buddies and the Jackal to eliminate anyone who can destabilize the new regime, one where you go to your buddies and plan an escape together, killing the faction leaders and the Jackal so you can cut your way out of the country, and the game’s existing ending where you help the Jackal with his stupid plan. This still would’ve had the problem that the “good” ending is the stupidest one, but at least I could’ve helped my buddies flee the country instead. Honestly, it would’ve been much more in keeping with the game’s themes if the ending was to realize that we can’t do anything in this country except make things worse, so probably we should just leave.

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