A Far Cry

The promising yet lacking Indian representation in Far Cry 4.

I was beyond excited to play Far Cry 4. As an Indian, you seldom find something relatable in games targeted to western audiences. But Ajay Ghale’s world promised to be different. Or so I thought.

By the time I reached Banapur, after a rocking ride and a shooting slugfest, I was amazed yet disappointed. While the Kyrat seemed stunning and just so close to home, the game itself was nothing like I had hoped.

Except for some, the game’s protagonist felt more American than South Asian. Ajay couldn’t even pronounce his name correctly (here’s the correct pronunciation Ajay Ghale). Other names like Sharma Salsa, Mumu Chiffon or Riti Nin Riti Kapoor trivialised the cultural significance and the meaning associated with names in the Indian subcontinent.

Moreover, Kyrat seemed tailored to resemble a typical ‘Third World’ country as per western standards – no roads, no infrastructure, civil wars, absolute poverty. A stigma we, Indians and South Asians, have been trying to fight for a long time now. It also fuels the western obsession with the Messiah or a saviour complex, showcasing the indigenous inhabitants as incapable of solving their problems. While I understood the need for such an atmosphere in the game, I couldn’t help but wonder if it could have been portrayed differently. From religion to language, the game tries to cover its lack of knowledge about Indian culture with its own ignorant and half-hearted interpretations.

While Far Cry 4 is much more progressive than a list of other games based around the Indian subcontinent, there still are miles to go. South Asia’s culture is complex, even for us, but a little more sensitivity is all we South Asian players, like me, ask.

By Aniket Singh Chauhan

A pop culture journalist at work and a traveller by heart, I am a writer based in India. I love learning about people and cultures from around the world. Twitter @aniketschauhan

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