HandyGames Presents Endling – Environmental Awareness in Contemporary Indie Games

GIEBELSTADT, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–How environmental awareness is hitting the gaming industry

As World Environment Day approaches, we are reminded – once again – of how badly we treat our planet. But it looks like some things are changing. Slowly. Sustainability education has also become a topic of interest among environmentally conscious game developers, and understanding the impact of these games is increasingly important.

Video games are fun! Well, if you take away those seemingly endless and repetitive boss fights in this one game. Frustrating. Other than that, they’re fun.

Currently, video games have become a big part of audiovisual culture. With their increasingly sophisticated graphics and technologies (like the computing power of an ordinary smartphone), they have proven to be a narrative tool capable of raising awareness and inspiring us to transform our reality. However, the world of video games has the advantage of being interactive. Players make decisions that affect the situations in which they are involved. If you had the chance to save the world, wouldn’t you?

Are you serious about this?

Serious games are games that have a purpose other than entertainment. But what exactly are serious games? They can tap into our needs for human motivation to rethink our behavior. A good example would be the game “Through the Darkest of Times” from German indie game developer Paintbucket Games. This is a strategy game that allows you to embody a group of resistance fighters in Berlin at the time of the Nazi regime. Not really a fun game topic, but very important to educate the player about historical events and the impact it still has on modern society. An important lesson to learn, now more than ever as history tends to repeat itself.

Environmental games are a subgenre of serious games that also challenge players to manipulate game elements to alter and impact their environment or playing conditions. Central to their design, mechanics and aesthetics , they promote environmental awareness through gameplay. They rely on the player’s curiosity, ingenuity, instinct, and thirst for knowledge as the primary motivation for the game.

As gaming has become an accepted form of media consumption, like cinema in its early days, diversity of themes is becoming more and more common. Gone are the days when gamers were seen only as a risk of becoming a mass murderer. Well, there’s always that fist-headed ex-politician popping out from under a rock to blame video games. Why not music for a change? Oh, wait…

Serious games are games whose primary purpose goes beyond entertainment. They are used to promote learning and inspire more mindful behavior. They create strong emotional memories and transform complex concepts into first-hand experiences. And with 2.5 billion players worldwide, there is indeed the potential to bring about significant change.

The UN comes into the game

To educate the public on environmental issues, new and creative methodologies are needed. Thus, during the Climate Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Playing for the Planet Alliance was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme. Members make commitments ranging from integrating green activations into games, reducing their emissions, and supporting the global environmental agenda through initiatives ranging from planting millions of trees to reduction of plastic in their products. Over 25 studios around the world – with a collective playerbase of over 1 billion – have collaborated and committed to implementing green activations in and out of games such as new modes, maps, events themes, scenarios and messages. The direction of the studios is a theme centered on the conservation and restoration of forests and oceans.

“Endling – Extinction is Forever” by Spanish indie developer Herobeat is a great example of a serious game with a strong emphasis on the player’s environmental awareness: imagine that mankind has driven one of the most adaptable creatures in the animal kingdom: fox – to extinction. As the last fox on Earth, the player fights for survival in search of the few remaining food sources in a dying digital world. But they do not seek food for themselves. Their clumsy kits eagerly await their return to the safety of the haven. Until that faithful day, when something or someone wakes up one of the young foxes…

The loss of one of the youngsters is meant to be a heartbreaking and heartbreaking moment for the player. But as long as there is hope, the vixen will try anything to get it back. It’s the players’ job to guide their vulnerable kits safely through the dystopian future of a mined land.

I learned something today.

The central idea behind a serious game is its ability to teach something to its audience by providing players with new knowledge, presenting research findings, or raising awareness about something in a unique way. With Endling, the player encounters elements of environmental change as part of their narrative. No one is safe from extinction – and humanity is to blame. The game has the potential to strengthen and increase certain facets of environmental awareness by visualizing the impact of human activity on ecosystems in a new way. Perhaps due to the game’s ability to visualize otherwise intangible subjects for its players, there is evidence to suggest playing the game impacts environmental consciousness because sustainability and conservatism are central to human sensibilities. .

Playing games is usually an enjoyable activity. You can’t say that Endling is a joy to play – sure, its illustrations are cute and nice to look at, and it has a great soundtrack (featuring, among others, cellist Tina Guo), but that’s not not fun to play. And it’s designed like that. Deliberately. The end of the world as we know it isn’t “fun” either. And that’s what the game is trying to tell you – it lets you take care of your puppies. And the world.

About “Endling – Extinction is Forever”:

“Endling – Extinction is Forever” is an eco-friendly 3D side-scrolling stealth survival adventure from German producer and publisher HandyGames. The game will be released on July 19, 2022 on all major platforms including PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch.

CC0. Free to use. Specimen copy desired.