Ubisoft has announced plans to use in-game events in games like Riders Republic and Skull and Bones to raise awareness of the impact climate change has on our planet.
The plans were developed as part of Ubisoft’s participation in Playing for the Planet Alliance’s annual Green Game Jam, which encourages studios to find ways to integrate environmental themes into their games.
In the Rider Republic, for example, Ubisoft intends (opens in new tab) use a “short, intense live event” to promote strategies that reduce the size and frequency of wildfires, as well as make an emotional impact by highlighting their consequences. You will not be notified of the event, Ubisoft said. Instead, one day you’ll launch Riders Republic and “be immediately immersed in the aftermath of wildfires on the outskirts of the map.”
Consequences will include an orange sky and “fire smoke haze throughout the game”, a default gas mask being equipped and a part of the map completely inaccessible as a result of the air being “unbreathable”.
It’s up to you and other players to work together to stop the Redwoods from burning. This will involve identifying “the most fragile and flammable areas of Sequoias National Park” using Photo Mode and then engaging in collaborative activities that will reduce the risk of fire spreading, for example clearing forest paths or protecting trees putting aluminum foil on their trunks.
Skull and Bones, on the other hand – which doesn’t yet have a release date but is expected sometime later this year – will focus on (opens in new tab) the consequences of resource exploitation “showing what happens in the game world and in the real world when demand for shark fins results in shark overfishing”.
As Ubisoft explains, it will be “one of the game’s seasonal live events” that are designed to encourage collaboration and you “will have the option to contribute to the protection of marine wildlife and understand the destructive nature of the shark fin trade. .” Contributing to community challenges, says Ubisofts, will result in rewards unlocking for everyone “depending on the overall level of participation”.
there’s more to see
The Green Game Jam has been going on since 2020 and seems to have grown every year. Starting with mobile games in its first year, it opened for all platforms in 2021 and this year is being described as “the biggest edition” yet, with over 50 studios participating.
Scrolling through this year’s attendee list shows that there are other Ubisoft studios and games participating, though not necessarily with such wide-ranging in-game events.
For Assassin’s Creed Valhalla eg Ubisoft Montreal apparently will add (opens in new tab) “an exclusive Charity Pack that features two unique mount skins”, with all proceeds generated “donated to charities focused on nature conservation”.
Ubisoft San Francisco, in turn, said you intend (opens in new tab) “teach guitar students and guitarists more about their instrument and everything it took to create it” at Rocksmith using a combination of “environmentally themed in-app rewards” and “an interactive curriculum that focuses on the planet with playlists of themed songs and Rocksmith Discover videos and articles”.
Even outside of Ubisoft, Guerilla Games and Sony are getting involved through Horizon Forbidden West with their previously announced (opens in new tab) Project “Forests of Aloy”. Media Molecule’s dreams, however, created a (opens in new tab) “community-oriented game jam focused on sustainable agriculture themes, including sustainable food and agricultural practices” in April this year.
Ubisoft is a prominent presence in the list of participants (opens in new tab) for the Green Game Jam this year and it was in 2021 too. The publisher has also spoken about its Play Green Initiative (opens in new tab) announced in 2021.
However, it has also drawn criticism for its foray into NFTs, despite strong reaction from players and widespread concerns about the negative environmental impact associated with some NFTs.
Ubisoft has claimed (opens in new tab) that its Quartz platform is “the first platform for playable and energy efficient NFTs in AAA games”, but in an interview with IGN (opens in new tab) at the time of the platform’s launch, Nicolas Pouard, vice president of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab, said, “If we see [blockchain technology] Can not go [more energy efficient]if it’s not sustainable, of course, let’s rethink what we’re doing.”