Ubisoft have announced they are teaming up with the United Nations (UN) organization to promote environmentalist messages in Riders Republic via an in-game event.
As part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Playing For the Planet alliance works with the games industry “to explore how, through their massive reach, they can inspire young people to learn and act in support of the environment.”
The scheme claims to have reached over 130 million gamers, and 80% of those “responding positively,” while in 2020 the group released a toolkit to guide gaming companies on how to “decarbonise” their production. Ubisoft is now the latest of these companies hoping to spread the word through their games.
As reported by Axios, gaming companies pitch their ideas for ecological promoting initiatives at the annual Green Game Jam, with Ubisoft winning. Their proposal was to spread awareness about wildfires by setting the woods alight in extreme sports title Riders Republic.
Dubbed “Phoenix,” players will log in around the end of 2022 or early 2023 finding the sky orange and thick with smoke and embers. Their character will be equipped with a gas mask, but even then some areas will be inaccessible due to unbreathable air.
The social hub will also have new aesthetics while everyone is “on alert,” as the “short and intense live event in which cooperation will be key” challenges players to save the Sequoia trees. They will need to identify the most fragile and flammable areas, possibly with photo mode to show data on how large past wildfires in the area had been, and projecting future ones.
To help reduce the chance and intensity of fires, players then help clean forest paths, scrub, and cut-offs, along with wrapping trunks with aluminum foil. July 21st will also see a tree-planting event.
In a now-deleted webpage, Ubisoft’s upcoming action adventure game Skull and Bones would also have been a candidate, focusing on ocean exploitation. The first “activation” on an unspecified date would have focused on the real world’s overfishing of sharks for their fins, as “players will have the choice to contribute to marine wildlife protection and comprehend the destructive nature of the shark fin trade.”
Along with players unlocking rewards for participating, Ubisoft stated they had “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.”
Playing For the Planet has also seen Sony planting trees in exchange for players earning Trophies in Horizon Forbidden West. Even so, some may feel using a video game to promote environmental campaigns would be counterproductive, on the grounds that using something powered by electricity that would ultimately contribute to pollution until so-called green energy sources are more widely used.
A total of 60% Playing For the Planet members are stated to have committed to becoming net zero or carbon negative by 2030. How they are expected to achieve this wasn’t stated, as the developer or publisher would likely be reliant on their own countries’ national grids for any-and-all computer use development, marketing, and more.
Even Ubisoft admitted in their Environmental Commitment – 2022 Update news post that while their carbon footprint per employee fell 14% between 2020 and 2021 “this reduction was mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lower marketing expenses.”
“As circumstances were extraordinary, we cannot consider these achievements to be permanent, and it is essential that we move forward with our decarbonization initiatives to meet our overall goals.”
Do you think the proposed campaigns would help spread awareness of climate change and other environmental issues? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.