Far Cry 6

Ubisoft, Funworks

The Far Cry series allows players to run amok on tropical island paradises and take down camps of enemies in a variety of ways. After finding success in Far Cry 3, 4 and 5, with well-written and popular villains, the games became known for them. For the 6th entry in the franchise, expectations were high, as usual.

With that in mind, much of the marketing for Far Cry 6 was focused around the villainous Antón Castillo - portrayed by iconic actor Giancarlo Esposito - and his authoritative rule on the island of Yara. Early reveals and press releases focused on Castillo: His history, his motivations, and his personality.

Promotional artwork also gave the antagonist more prominence than you might expect - taking center stage in box art, and on billboards and posters.

Further marketing efforts, directed by Funworks, seized upon the antagonist too. Giancarlo Esposito himself was enlisted to star in live action video, in character, across networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. 

The video content produced for each network was tailored to be engaging to the unique audiences of each platform - Snapchat in particular produced strong engagement, with fourth-wall-breaking ads that saw Esposito taunt players, inviting them to challenge him in the game.

While these tongue-in-cheek provocative ads felt at home on a rebellious, youthful platform like Snapchat, the campaign courted controversy, too. Players of Far Cry 6 were sent emails from Esposito's character, in an attempt to goad them into playing the game again.

"I wanted to thank you for giving me free rein in Yara," says the email to lapsed players, with a sneer you can feel in the writing. "Take it easy, and know that Yara is in capable hands."

The emails also contained a more pointed challenge - "Surely you can do better than this?" alongside a selection of the player's stats, such as total kills. The emails prompted a mixed reaction on social media, but also further press from a number of outlets. Publisher Ubisoft have since suggested that the emails have been reduced in intensity, and also sent more discriminately.

In either case, a focus on the villain, as well as on often overlooked platforms like Snapchat, proved valuable in making Far Cry 6 a success.

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