Riot’s story began with Leonard Menchiari who experienced the rioting first-hand in Italy during the NoTav protests, (the NoTav protests opposed the building of a high-speed railway from Turin in Italy, to Lyon in France). Protestors were opposed to the destruction of the landscape, the potential pollution and the overall cost of this project. Leonard spoke with both protestors and police, discovering what drove people to take a stand and how officers empathized (and in some cases agreed), with protestors but had to maintain order and safety. Leonard decided to use his background in filmmaking and love of video games to tell these stories through an interactive experience and Riot: Civil Unrest was born.
We’re all incredibly proud of all the work that has gone into Riot and we’re particularly proud of the jaw-dropping pixel-art. One of the major challenges we faced was to make the crowd look genuine; many games that feature crowds have a lot of identical characters repeated over and over again. We wanted to create a genuine crowd of unique individuals. To achieve this, the team came up with a clever algorithm which chose from the vast range of trousers, tops and accessory options to create a 100% unique crowd of people. Not only do our crowds look genuine but their movement is excellent too. Using clever AI, our developers made it so that instead of moving as blocks they move in a far more fluid way. Individuals use space as real people would, filling gaps as they appear and resisting movement when it is blocked. They can swarm around an objective or flee from danger.
Sound is another area that had an incredible amount of work put into it. Our sound designer, Michele Postpischi, (who lives near the NoTav valley), went to impressive lengths to capture the realism and chaos Riot wanted to convey. Michele would travel to abandoned and disused buildings and record the sounds of things being broken, such as a pane of glass being struck with a piece of 2×4.
By their very nature, riots are an emotive subject. That is why we try to be extremely careful in our portrayal of these stories. We are aware that people’s opinions will differ, so we decided to take a neutral and non-political stance. Although we set up each of Riot’s scenarios, we always advise the user to research these subjects themselves and encourage them to form their own opinion. Riot has four main campaigns to play through and understand; NoTav (Italy), Indignados (Spain), the Arab Spring (Egypt) and Keratea (Greece). We’ve also included over thirty single scenarios which include the Oakland shooting riots, as well as the Paris and London riots.
I along with my team genuinely hope you enjoy the experience Riot: Civil Unrest has to offer, we’ve worked on this for some time and are absolutely amazed at the level of love shown for this title. If I were to leave you with one tip it would be to consider your strategy wisely. Aggressive tactics may yield results early on but may harm you in the long run; if you’re aggressive, aggression may be expected from you next time, making success more difficult to achieve. Or public opinion could turn on you, giving your opponents a heightened sense of alertness.
Riot: Civil Unrest is available now on Xbox One on the Microsoft Store. Click here for purchase details.