All Rise — a climate courthouse game: meet our new team members!
Dr. Joost Vervoort is an Associate Professor of Transformative Imagination at Utrecht University. His work focuses on where imagined futures, games, and politics, policy and action connect. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @Vervoort_Joost
Last year, for a brief time, I was part of the efforts by Dutch activist group Fossielvrij to take ABP pension fund, one of the world’s biggest pension funds, to court. The pressure of an impending court case, based on previous court wins, was so successful that ABP divested its 15 billion before the case even fully got started. Being part of this inspiring, wildly successful campaign inspired a game idea. There is a highly successful series of playful, funny games about court cases — the Ace Attorney games. This series has sold 9.6 million copies worldwide so far. The Ace Attorney games are irreverent, accessible, simple and clever. Games focusing on climate change are often boring, didactic, and focused on technologies and management rather than politics.
So what if we build a game about climate court cases that’s inspired by the Ace Attorney games — a game that is inspiring, wild, funny, political, accessible and deep? A game that’s larger than life in tone and vibe, but connected to some real life heroic stories of citizens taking on the seemingly unbeatable giants of fossil fuel — and actually winning? And here’s the twist — what if we could use this game to help support and fund actual climate court cases?
The result is a game we’ve decided to call All Rise, as a working title. Given the topic, the game will focus not only on the court cases themselves, but also on campaigning and creating momentum in society to make court cases successful. We’re drawing game mechanics directly from our interviews with activists and campaigners involved in these heroic efforts to pressure the powerful.
Things have really started moving and we’ve now been able to bring together a super cool team of people! Anticiplay PhD researchers Kyle Thompson and Carien Moossdorff have been involved in this project for a while now. Kyle is also a tabletop game designer, as is Lauren McManamon. Kyle and Lauren are developing and testing a tabletop role playing game version which also serves as an inspiration for the video game’s mechanics — read more about it here. Carien is helping to organize the game’s funding, and Mae van Veldhoven, our lead on communications in Anticiplay, is coordinating and organizing the project in terms of process.
We can now announce some exciting additions to the team! Niels Monshouwer recently worked as a producer on the 2022 Sony flagship hit Horizon Forbidden West, as part of the biggest Dutch game studio, Guerrilla Games. He also has previous experience working on indie games such as Tricky Towers. Niels has been with the All Rise team for a while, organizing and planning the game development and funding process, and we are very grateful to have his unique experience and leadership with us on the team!
We are also excited to announce that game narrative legend Meghna Jayanth is helping us with the game’s writing and narrative! Meghna has done narrative design and worldbuilding on indie hits 80 Days and Sable, as well as on Guerrilla’s previous title Horizon Zero Dawn. Meghna is also a leading voice in the game industry on challenging capitalist-colonialist structures in the industry and within games themselves to help create a better and fairer future. Read more about Meghna in this excellent interview. Having Meghna with us is a real gift — excellent writing is so crucial to a game like All Rise.
In addition, we’re welcoming the excellent Enora Efflam Mercier as our lead concept artist! Enora is a concept art lead with 8 years of experience in gaming. Their interest in ecology combines with world-building and creative thinking for video game environments. After having worked on competitive games such as Legends of Runeterra and League of Legends, Enora has returned to their passion for story-based games. As you can probably tell by the incredible art that is the main image of this blog, we’re very grateful Enora has joined the team. We’re so looking forward to seeing the beautiful environments Enora will create for the game to take place in!
And last, but certainly not least, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Curran Gregory, also known as Gigalithic, to the team as our lead character artist! Curran has been a freelance character illustrator for around 8 years. They were a character artist on 2020’s Paradise Killer — and with their unique style of bold characters with bright, energetic colors we’re sure the characters of All Rise will fully come to life under Curran’s paint brush.
All in all: new year, new people and a new phase: looking for funding! Are you interested, or do you know organizations who’d be interested in supporting All Rise? Do reach out to us by mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com!
We’ll be back to report on more updates from All Rise, so stay tuned!
Anticiplay is an NWO Vidi-funded research project that aims to establish a new design paradigm for the gaming sector in collaboration with CreaTures EU. You can find our mission statement here! In short: we’re all about Games For Better Futures and Futures for Better Games. Follow us @anticiplay on Twitter, and feel free to engage us with any questions, games that you think are inspiring, and anything else!