Riot: Civil Unrest – Launches this Month

“Rioting is the voice of the unheard” as Martin Luther King Jr said during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It can be argued that, while it is the voice of the unheard, it can be interpreted as an act of civil disobedience and disrespect. Some are birthed from otherwise peaceful demonstrations, becoming a poor representative of the original cost. Researchers have viewed riots as an example of the faults in government power and law enforcement. Others have seen the counter-strategy to riots as a means to secure law and order, and in some cases, create better public opinion between law enforcement officials and the general public. There have been many video games that have approached the notions of law enforcement or fighting government injustice. Today, Evolve PR has announced that Merge Creations Ltd is launching RIOT: Civil Unrest in February for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Having played the game at PAX EAST 2017, this announcement comes with great surprise and anticipation.

RIOT: Civil Unrest will task players with observing and participating in these contentious conflicts, giving players the opportunity to choose between the rioters and the riot police. The main game will be spread across four campaigns and over 30 different individual scenarios, all based on real-life riots that have occurred in multiple countries. From Oakland California to Caracas, Venezuela, each mission is expected to be drastically different from the next. Accompanying the gameplay of RIOT: Civil Unrest is the incredibly sharp pixelated presentation, which is striking when seen in motion. The details of each character in the game and the orientation of the level will provide a fascinating hybrid between feeling like a video game and feeling like an accurate recollection of historical events.

Riot: Civil Unrest

When I played Riot: Civil Unrest at PAX EAST 2017, I was struck by how dynamic the game looked and felt. The lighting effects, in particular, gave me the impression I was watching this riot unfold through a television. The gameplay became a sort of ” Tug-Of-War” witch strategy I implemented being overcome by the opposition. In my demo, I had played as both sides, beginning with the law enforcement first. I employed water cannons, personnel, and armored vehicles, all with small instances of success. The opposition kept trying to circumvent and flank any forces I deployed. I used everything, including tear gas and batons. Eventually, after approximately ten minutes of using a variety of tactics, I successfully subdued the riot and won the round. The second time, I was tasked with occupying a certain area as a rioter, and I organized large swaths of people into those zones, throwing various debris at the opposition. I resited the water hoses and occupied the zones long enough to win the round. When I was at the Merge Games booth that year, I remarked that it felt like a true “Tug-Of-War” style of strategic gameplay. I later learned that mission design involves a sense of fluidity and formlessness. A passive, peaceful demonstration can lead to success and positive public opinion, or lead to further hostilities. An aggressive approach may get your message across but lead to disdain from the public. It is entirely up to the player what to employ and how to execute it.

RIOT: Civil Unrest’s attention to detail and authenticity comes from its one-man developer, Leonard Menchiari and his real-life experiences. In 2011, Leonard attended the NO-TAV protests in Northern Italy. The protests were in response to the proposed construction of a high-speed train between Turin, Italy and Lyons, France, a protest that has been consistent for the past 23 years. The public feels that the train is unnecessary and that the train’s sole purpose would be for the profiting of private companies in an era of increasing globalization. While there, he witnessed the action of law enforcement and protestors, seeing the two sides clash and conflict with one another.  In the development of Riot: Civil Unrest,  Leonard programmed each character to have their own A.I, creating choices and reacting instantaneously to the world around them. It is with this design choice that Leonard hopes the players not only gains a fantastic gaming experience but a thought-provoking one that encourages players to consider the world around them.

Riot: Civil Unrest will be launching in early February for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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