The man that brought Han Solo, Indiana Jones and countless important men with kidnapped families to life takes a stab at game design, helping game studio Talkie create Ecotopia, a Facebook city building game that’s all about going green.
Along with being many a gamer’s childhood hero, Harrison Ford also acts as the vice chairman of Conservation International, a nonprofit organisation that seeks to protect humanity’s health by protecting and preserving Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity.
It’s in this capacity that Ford got involved with Talkie to help create Ecotopia, a game concept that stemmed both from Talkie’s passion about protecting the environment and a conversation the developer’s chairman Larry Bond had with Harrison Ford following a UN meeting on climate change in Nagoya, Japan. The shared concern over the dangers of diminishing biodiversity led to the creation of a game that is entertaining while having a profound effect on the world.
“I’m excited to be involved with Ecotopia because I see it as a great way to engage millions of people in our fight to protect our planet by taking action online and in our daily lives,” said Ford. “As we work to address the most fundamental issues facing humanity, I think Ecotopia will help get people involved in a way that is fun, educational, and meaningful.”
Ford’s contribution to the development of the game involved coming up with ways that these important issues could be presented in an entertaining and interactive way.
Ecotopia presents players with a completely ruined, dirty, and polluted piece of land that must be developed by completing quests. Players will gather resources through completing quests, which can be used to build their own eco-friendly utopia, connecting with their Facebook friends to share their creations. Every month new villains will be introduced, creating an ongoing storyline that should keep players coming back for more.
More than just an online game, players’ real-world green acts give them points as well.
“We allow players to enter their real world green acts — such as composting — and get in-game credit,” said Chris Swain, CEO and founder of Talkie. “That means if you car pool you get Sustainability Points, Money Savings, and Power Savings that you can spend to get further in the game world. You get a low number of points for doing a real world act, but we give you a big bonus if you also upload a picture of yourself doing it. Then you get the real points if your friends verify that you did it. This is a system we call ‘social proofing.'”
Talkie will be able to track players’ real-world actions in this way, painting a picture of just how much of a difference Ecotopia is making.
Ecotopia launches on Facebook in the coming months. To misquote one of the game’s creators, I’ve got a pretty good feeling about this.
EXCLUSIVE: Harrison Ford Helps Develop Environmental Facebook Game ‘Ecotopia’ [The Hollywood Reporter]