What is it about Vaas Montenegro? Far Cry fans can’t get enough of the guy, even though—or perhaps because—he’s a total sociopath. Michael Mando’s Far Cry 3 villain redirected the whole series, as every mainline Far Cry since has been squarely focused on a charming and thoroughly evil villain. The latest game, this year’s Far Cry 6, went so far as to hire one of today’s most celebrated bad guy actors, with Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian’s Giancarlo Esposito playing calm, refined, and utterly corrupt Caribbean dictator Antón Castillo. It all started with Vaas, though, and his waterfront speech about the definition of insanity at the start of Far Cry 3.
Far Cry’s bad guys are so popular that they’re stepping into the spotlight with a series of DLC for Far Cry 6. Joseph Seed from Far Cry 5 and Pagan Min from Far Cry 4 will each be playable in their own DLC in the future, but it all starts, as it should, with Vaas. Vaas: Insanity is the first piece of Far Cry 6 DLC to revisit the franchise’s rogues gallery; it stars a playable version of the popular villain, and will be available tomorrow, Nov. 16.
We haven’t played the DLC yet, but we know that it’ll sound pretty good. That’s because the score for Vaas: Insanity—as well as the other two upcoming pieces of Far Cry 6 DLC—was made by composter Will Bates. You might’ve heard Bates’ work before in TV shows like Sweetbitter and The Magicians, movies like Imperium and Mike Cahill and Brit Marling’s Another Earth, or a few of Alex Gibney’s celebrated documentaries. His original scores will be released as soundtracks alongside each DLC package, starting with this week’s Vaas: Insanity. And Paste is giving you an exclusive preview of his work.
Vaas made such an impression on Far Cry players because there’s something uniquely unsettling about him. He’s smart, charismatic, but unpredictable and completely unhinged, making him and his actions a mystery. Bates’ piece “Birthright” taps into Vaas’ central creepiness, evoking an atmosphere that might make the older of y’all think of a more subdued, less ‘80s take on the opening theme to Unsolved Mysteries.
For Bates, this particular villain was the best place to start with Far Cry. “Scoring for Vaas was the perfect way for me to get into the Far Cry universe,” he says. “A character who is constantly showing us ‘the definition of insanity.’ He’s unpredictable, unstable and just asking for bold musical choices. The score to Far Cry 3 served as inspiration for some of the choices in instrumentation, but taken to a more extreme and twisted place for this DLC”
That inspiration from Far Cry 3 can be heard specifically in “Birthright.” As Bates tells us, the track “has a nod to the Far Cry 3 theme, using the recognizable choral elements but giving it a more frenetic and twisted edge. Vaas is no longer in control.”
Check out “Birthright” below, and if you like what you hear, you’ll be able to listen to Bates’ full soundtrack for Vaas: Insanity starting on Nov. 16.