The first-person shooter video game series "Far Cry" has cast a Christian cult as villains for the first time in over a decade.
Game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment has released the artwork for "Far Cry 5" showing seven characters seated around a table in the style of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.
The Christ-like figure sits at the center in front of an open book, as five other bearded men, a woman, as well as a pair of disembodied hands, surround him.
The men, who appear to be disciples, are holding knives guns and chains, while a box of military grade weapons sits on the floor. In front of the table, a bound man is seated on the floor with the word "sinner" scrawled across his back.
According to the Daily Mail, Ubisoft has been receiving criticism for setting the game in far-flung, exotic locations and pitting the protagonist against people of color. However, the latest edition of the game is set in America, in the fictional Hope County, in Montana.
Video games commonly portray Nazis, robots, aliens, zombies and "foreign" terrorists of color as villains, but white Americans are rarely cast as the enemies. Game developers appear to be trying to level the playing field by pitting gamers against Americans.
The survivalist horror game "Outlast 2" has also cast its villains as a religious cult in Arizona, while first person shooter "Resident Evil 7" has its protagonist fight against a family in the Bayou.
Ed Straker, who has written a blog about "Far Cry" on the website American Thinker, has noted that game's choice of enemies in its past releases has been odd.
"In Far Cry 1, the enemies were mutants. In Far Cry 2, the enemy was an arms dealer. In Far Cry 3, the enemies were mean Polynesian islanders. Yes, mean Polynesian Islanders. In Far Cry 4, the enemy was evil Tibetans. Those evil Tibetans!" he sarcastically wrote.
"Now information is coming out about Far Cry 5. The enemy this time is apparently...evil racist redneck white Americans," he added.
He argued that extremist Christians are about as common as "evil" Tibetans and "evil" Polynesian Islanders.
"It's one thing for Ubisoft to consciously avoid featuring the most obvious villains, the ones we've been at war with for 16 years. But then to ignore the obvious villains and target white people and Christians is really a bizarro-mirror-mirror opposite universe," he went on to say.
The developers have released a series of trailer videos for the game, which is expected to come out sometime before April 2018. According to Polygon, Ubisoft will release a proper announcement trailer for the game on Friday.