Crafting a Compelling Gaming Experience from Real-World Events in 1979 Revolution: Black Friday

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1979 Revolution: Black Friday is an interactive drama set against the turbulent backdrop of Middle Eastern politics, specifically the Iranian Revolution. And, yes, you’d be completely correct in thinking that this isn’t a typical premise for a videogame. The time and place – Tehran in the 70s – and the formidable complexity of the subject matter contribute to making 1979 Revolution: Black Friday one of those real rarities in modern mainstream gaming i.e. a unique experience.

But 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is much more than just an unusual setting and theme. The game’s developer, iNK Stories, which was co-founded by Rockstar Games alumni Navid Khonsari, has taken the real-world events of the Iranian Revolution and successfully crafted a hugely enjoyable story-driven adventure around them. It’s no accident the game has a long list of awards to its name, with a prestigious BAFTA nomination amongst its accolades.

The real-life stories and experiences that helped make the game

Khonsari was living in Iran during the revolution and, while he was only young at the time, his experience of the escalating turmoil and subsequent changes it brought to the country had such an impact it ultimately inspired him to create 1979 Revolution: Black Friday some three decades later. Khonsari’s own experience of events is just one of many that iNK Stories drew from to create as accurate a portrayal of the revolution as possible.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday Screenshot

During development, the team interviewed people from a wide-range of backgrounds, and with varying political and religious beliefs. As well as talking with Iranians who lived through the revolution and could share their own first-hand experiences, iNK Stories consulted academics and experts to ensure the game stayed firmly grounded in fact. The exhaustive approach to research is evident throughout 1979 Revolution: Black Friday – locations, photographs, graffiti, video and audio recordings… everything depicted within the game’s world is informed by archival assets.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday Screenshot

The process of collating such an extensive collection of research material also helped iNK Stories shape the game’s protagonist, Reza Shirazi. Having gathered so many original images, making Reza a photojournalist seemed an ideal way to make those assets a featured part of the game. At key moments in the story, players use Reza’s camera to capture certain events. These images can be compared to actual photographs taken by Michel Setboun, a French photojournalist who documented both sides of the revolution.

Shape your journey through the revolution

While it’s real events and the testimonies of real people that have helped iNK Stories create 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, it’s ultimately up to you, the player, and the critical choices you make through the branching storyline to shape your own experience and the role you choose to play in the revolution.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday Screenshot

However, thanks to Mixer integration, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday on Xbox One is the most interactive version available and the only version where you can share the weight of responsibility – streamers can broadcast the game and let their audience vote on all narrative choices. It’s a fantastic feature that adds even more drama. You choose together. You face the consequences together.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday is available now from the Microsoft Store. It’s also part of Xbox Summer Spotlight, so if you pick it up before September 10 you’ll earn extra Microsoft Rewards points.