Above: Map of Rook Islands (Image source)
The archipelago of the Rook Islands, in the open-world Far Cry game series, are thought to be located near the Mariana Trench region of the Pacific Ocean, between Thailand and Papua New Guiney.
After recently completing Far Cry 3 I found exploring the Asian-Pacific archipelago more interesting than actually doing the main story-line. I think Ubisoft may have done this intentionally, as during the story Jason Brody (the protagonist) starts to believe that the hostile Rook Islands are where he should remain, instead of escaping back home to safety. The beauty of the Islands lured me in too, especially the scattered architectural remains.
During the game you encounter several variations of historical ruins: the WW2 bunker and fortification ruins built by the Japanese, 15th century Chinese temple ruins and the native tribe ruins of the Rakyat, however, Citra’s Rakyat temple, above image source, is still mostly intact.
The WW2 bunker ruins are evocative of the period where Japanese soldiers controlled the island, and during the game are either abandoned (sometimes when you explore these ruins you can hear shouting and gunfire as though the ruins are haunted…) or occupied by Vaas’ pirates as bases scattered across the edges of the Islands. (bunker image source)
On the other hand, there are Chinese temple ruins from the Islands’ occupation of a warlord, Zheng He. As it was in WW2, the Islands were controlled by soldiers enslaving the native Rakyat people and forcing them to build shrines in the name of Zheng He. These ruins are quite difficult to find as they are located in the cave systems, however are instantly distinguishable from the rest of the architectural remains on the two islands from their Chinese architectural style (image, author’s own in-game screenshot).
Then there’s the architecture of the natives, the Rakyat people, who believe in their Deities and are set in their tradition and beliefs that Rook Islands are their rightful homelands. The ruins of the island are all that remain, apart from Citra’s temple which is a highly fortified place of worship as well as a testament to the Rakyat culture.
Overall, the layering of each of these three architectural variations, juxtaposing with the contemporary settlements on the Islands, symbolise not only the passage of time but the Islands heritage of ongoing conflict. The game’s architecture give the Rook Islands a vast historical context that links in with the current struggle between the Rakyat and the pirates, as it is not only Jason Brody’s personal struggle to escape but the Rakyat’s ongoing battle to claim back their Islands.
(above, image source)
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