As part of Green Game Jam 2022, Ubisoft is set to be one of several studios spearheading efforts to promote the fight against climate change with special in-game events.
Green Game Jam was started in 2020 by Playing for the Planet, a UN-led initiative that strives to "inspire young people to learn and act in support of the environment" by collaborating with the gaming industry.
In addition to the sales of a tree-themed in-game charity item for the Brawlhalla World Tree Initiative and an exclusive Charity Pack within Assassin's Creed Valhalla, two other Ubisoft titles will soon debut some dramatic "activations" to players.
Riders Republic, Ubisoft's arcade-y extreme sports sandbox released this past October, will invite players to join forces to prevent Sequoia National Park from burning down in-game unannounced.
"We will be promoting strategies to reduce wildfire frequency and size as well as have an emotional impact on players regarding the consequences of wildfires," Ubisoft gameplay director Boris Maniora wrote. "The live event won’t be announced to players proactively. Instead, they will be immersed immediately in the consequences of wildfires on the outskirts of the map when booting the game."
Some specific details shared about the Riders Republic event were:
- The sky will be orange and there will be "fire smoke" fog throughout the entire game because of wildfires.
- Players will be equipped with a gas mask by default.
- Part of the map won’t be accessible to players as it will be “unbreathable” due to wildfires close by.
- The whole game will be "on alert" with a special reskin on the Social Hub in-game.
The Riders Republic event, which secured the Media's Choice Award for Green Game Jam 2022, is said to be taking place later this year or early 2023.
Another in-game climate change event that Ubisoft has been working on is for Skull and Bones, the studio's long-anticipated pirate adventure title.
"Our first activation will address resource exploitation," Ubisoft Singapore senior gameplay programmer Wong Yi wrote, "showing what happens in the game world and the real world when the demand for sharks’ fins results in the overfishing of sharks. Players will have the choice to contribute to marine wildlife protection and comprehend the destructive nature of the shark fin trade.
"Like our current societal challenges, changes need to be collaborative, raise awareness and encourage others to learn of and consider additional ecological causes that need attention."
This in-game activation is said to be categorized as one of the seasonal live events in Skull and Bones. As players contribute to the community challenges, rewards will be unlocked for all players depending on the overall level of participation.
Additionally, Yi announced Ubisoft's plans to partner with marine conservation NGOs "to show players that their in-game actions can have a meaningful impact on the oceans that have inspired their game world."
"We hope that this further instills in our players greater motivation to take part in real-world community challenges that reward humanity."