Ubisoft faces criticism after casting a non-Latino actor to play a Latino role of the titular protagonist in its new game, Far Cry 6.
After a huge leak confirmed that Far Cry 6 will be released next year, Ubisoft officially announced the game at its first Ubisoft Forward event. The official reveal of Far Cry 6 was one of the biggest announcements, next to the news that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will let players recruit a cat.
Far Cry 6 is set in a fictional, Cuba-inspired location named “Yara,” where a dictator named Anton Castillo rules with an iron fist. The trailer shows Castillo seemingly about to make his young son throw a grenade into a crowd of angry protesters.
While the trailer could have been something powerful, it’s been marred by criticism over the casting of Giancarlo Esposito. Castillo is undoubtedly meant to be a Latino or Afro-Latino character but Esposito is not a Latino actor.
On his Wikipedia page and as confirmed by Esposito in interviews, the actor has Italian and African-American heritage. The actor himself was born in Denmark. His surname is Spanish-sounding and could lead someone to assume that he is Hispanic or is Afro-Latino.
Esposito is known for taking Latino roles. The third role in his acting career saw him play the part of “Puerto Rican teenager” in 1979 movie Running. The actor, who has starred in Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian, also played a Puerto Rican father in 2007 movie Feel The Noise.
Esposito’s Italian and African-American heritage was drawn upon for his role as FBI agent Mike Giardello in TV series Homicide: Life on the Street. However, many of Esposito’s roles are characters who live in places like Miami, FL. and the state of New Mexico, which each have very large Latinx populations.
The actor’s filmography could have been the reason why Ubisoft felt it was appropriate for Esposito to play the role. This is inexcusable though as a company that did a month of on-the-ground research in Cuba should be expected to know something easily discoverable on an actor’s Wikipedia page.
Esposito’s casting isn’t the only insensitive move that Ubisoft has made with Far Cry 6. Many on social media have also noted that the Far Cry 6 trailer uses a “yellow filter,” a common trope for games and movies set in countries outside of the West. An article by Matador Network explains how these yellow filters are racially discriminatory and play into the stereotypes held by creators about these locations.
The character of Anton Castillo features heavily in the game and is seen on the Far Cry 6 box art, making it unlikely that Ubisoft is going to change anything now. For a company that donated to Black Lives Matter, it is disappointing to see Ubisoft contribute to racial injustice in this way.
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Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:04 PM