And just like that, Pagan Min has arrived. But after his undeniably chilling introduction to the world, we can’t help wondering: Who exactly is this disarmingly charming psychopath? Or, perhaps a better question: Is the villain of Far Cry 4 actually crazy at all? And is he even a villain, for that matter?
We still have much to learn about Pagan Min ahead of Far Cry 4’s worldwide release on November 18, but we were able to pry free some intriguing insights into the charismatic character. Before we reveal a bit more about the man behind the pink suits and bleached hair, check out this video in which Far Cry 4’s main character, Ajay Ghale, meets Min upon his return to Kyrat, the country of his birth.
Quite the reunion, indeed. But while Ajay might not fully recall Pagan Min, that doesn’t stop the man from being positively giddy about their meeting. “Pagan Min gets a genuine feeling of glee when he sees you,” says Executive Producer Dan Hay. “Like, Yes, you’re here! We’re going to have so much fun! You and I, we’re going to f–k shit up. It’s going to be amazing!”
As the video shows, there’s a strong connection between the two. Pagan Min immediately recognizes Ajay. He knows Ajay’s family. And he’s even organized a party for Ajay. “That’s not what you would expect from a first contact with an antagonist,” says Technical Director Cedric Decelle. “Usually it’s a kill and survive situation. But he’s super happy to see you – while around you there’s cars on fire and people dying.”
Of course, nothing about Pagan Min is predictable. The self-appointed ruler of Kyrat escaped from his underworld roots, took on a new identity, and set his sights on the nearby failed state of Kyrat. He quickly aligned himself with the Royalists – but after a few months of bloodshed and betrayals, the young Min seized the throne for himself and began a reign of terror against all who opposed him. He built his Royal Army with a mix of loyal militia from China and Kyrati locals, then proceeded to rule with an utter lack of respect for the deep-seated traditions and culture of Kyrat.
A few decades later, Pagan Min remains as unpredictable and quirky as it gets. He loves flash. He’s got a flair for fashion. He’s equally at ease in his signature pink suits as he is covered in the crimson spatters of someone else’s blood. He’s enamored with Bollywood. “He’s a super-interesting character,” Decelle promises.
So Cool He’s Hot
Naturally, comparisons to Far Cry 3’s scene-stealing Vaas will emerge. But aside from appearing on the box art of their respective games, the two characters couldn’t be any more different. Whereas Vaas had an animalistic ferocity and predatory nature, Pagan Min has an effortless charm. “It’s this weird, uncomfortable refined elegance,” says Narrative Director Mark Thompson. “The things that he’s doing and the subjects that he’s talking about contrast with the style that he does it in.”
After all, it takes a special kind of lunatic to stab someone in the neck with a pen while dressed as a dapper gentelman, only to complain about getting blood on his shoes – never mind the fact that his face is covered in gore. And it takes a powerful man to pull this off while surrounded by soldiers who don’t so much as flinch as their comrade falls – but jump at the smallest gesture from Min.
“You know that he’s a train wreck. You know that inside he’s broken. But he’s charming. He’s elegant. You can take him home for dinner and your parents will love him for some reason.”
“And then when he looks at Ajay and makes eye contact and he tells you that he’d recognize those eyes anywhere, it’s one of those moments where the hairs on the back of your neck raise up,” Thompson says. “You’re like, Holy f–king sh–t. How does this guy know me? What’s he going to do with my eyes? Why don’t the guys with these guns stop him doing whatever he’s doing? He must powerful and he must be important.”
And therein lies one of the biggest differences between Vaas and Pagan Min. Whereas Vaas is a hothead – a man of quick action and quicker reactions – Min is too cool for school. “If you take him back to the root of being on the schoolyard, he’s not the bully,” Hay says. “He’s more like that friend everybody has that they know is bad for them and that they know is going to end up in jail.”
Yep. Everyone knows “that guy” – the one who somehow rallies his pals on a Friday night to go out and steal a car. The one who can convince his friends to come along on this ill-conceived ride, even though everyone knows it’s a terrible idea. “You know that he’s a train wreck. You know that inside he’s broken,” Hay says. “But he’s charming. He’s elegant. You can take him home for dinner and your parents will love him for some reason.”
Come Out And Play
Pagan Min is a character with depth. And like anyone who has a lot going on beneath the surface, he provokes in others an urgent need to scratch that itch – to scrape at the skin to see what lies beneath. But be warned: Pagan is self-aware. He knows he’s charming… and, more important, he knows that he’s charming you. He knows how you might perceive him. And he knows how to play with those perceptions.
But that’s what makes Pagan Min so seductive. “When you’re in Vaas’ company, you have a 99 percent chance that it’s going to end poorly,” Hay says. “With Pagan Min, he genuinely wants to play. So you know that he can kill you like that. But you’ve got a pretty good chance of maybe being the plaything long enough to survive and get out and then do your own thing. The question is: What does that say about you?”
Without giving anything away, Thompson hints at who Pagan Min might’ve been before we first meet him. “He could have been the hero of another Far Cry game,” Thompson suggests. “You would play his campaign to take over Kyrat. The point where you meet him [in Far Cry 4], it’s years after he’s won. He’s gained the victory he wants to. And he’s kind of lost faith in what he did. He’s almost a little bit bored of what that victory brought him.” In other words, there’s a ton of nuance to Pagan Min’s character. “He’s not just flash and extravagance,” Thompson adds.
Likewise, the relationship between Ajay and Pagan Min is also substantive. Pagan has a connection to Ajay that will be fully explored in the game, which means Ajay won’t just see the crazy side of Min. “You as a player would like him to be your friend in some cases,” Decelle says. “He’s a really complex and complete character.”