Ubisoft is using its games to help make players aware of the impacts of climate change.
That's according to the website Playing for the Planet, an UN-led initiative which seeks to use games to "inspire young people to learn and act in support of the environment".
For instance, for Riders Republic, Ubisoft says it will host a "short and intense" in-game event in Phoenix which will promote "strategies to reduce wildfire frequency and size as well as have an emotional impact on players regarding the consequences of wildfires".
"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," Ubisoft explained.
"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, and part of the map won’t be accessible to players as it will be unbreathable ”due to wildfires close by."
With the whole game “on alert” and a "special reskin" on the Social Hub in-game, players will have to "join forces to prevent Sequoias from burning down".
Similarly, its upcoming pirate adventure, for Skull & Bones, will feature an event that “will address resource exploitation, 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," the publisher said (thanks, NME).
"In Ubisoft’s upcoming AAA title Skull & Bones, players spend a significant amount of time out at sea, in our oceans. As pirates fighting for survival, the ocean is their home, their world.
"Much like our own oceans, this world provides many resources to benefit them on their adventure but also opens the possibility of exploitation."
Ubisoft has said it will attend Gamescom 2022 even though many other publishers have confirmed they are skipping the show this year. A brief message posted to Ubisoft's Twitter revealed the publisher would be present at this August's Cologne-based convention, though did not detail what games might be on offer.
Ubisoft's decision comes after the recent pull-outs from Sony, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard and Take-Two, which have all chosen not to attend. Microsoft has yet to make an announcement - though it's unclear what it might bring.