With video game technology advancing in leaps and bounds as each new decade passes, we’ve seen vast open worlds created for the purposes of virtual exploration. The average Minecraft world, for example, is even larger than Neptune.
There have also been games designed to recreate real world locations in a virtual setting, such as Sucker Punch’s upcoming superhero sandbox inFAMOUS: Second Son, which is set in Seattle. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is well known for basing its fictional cities on real locations, and Manhattan has been used as a location (under its real name or a pseudonym) for so many different games that even gamers who have never been to New York would probably know their way around it.
Pixyul’s ambitious open-world game ReRoll is set to take things to the next level by laser-scanning all the land mass on Earth and rebuilding it in a post-apocalyptic RPG setting. Once complete, players should theoretically be able to explore a transformed version of their home town, or of any other location. Ex-Ubisoft developer and Pixyul co-founder Louis-Pierre Pharand has explained to VG24/7 exactly what the plans are for ReRoll:
“ReRoll will be the first game using the entire planet. Our planet, the one we will recreate, we see it as a platform not only for ReRoll but for future games.
“The goal is to reproduce accurately at scale the planet. Photogrammetry; using images from the drone scanning, or other sources, will be the main technique for the urban areas.
“We will not do this for the entire planet, [as there’s] no point in scanning the oceans, they represent 71% of the planet surface, same for some forest, deserts, Arctic and Antarctica, to give some examples. We will recreate those accurately at scale using procedural methods. They are already a lot of these resources out there.”
Two thoughts spring immediately to mind upon reading the details about this project. The first is that this is probably how the machines in The Matrix eventually managed to create a virtual version of the planet to keep humans subdued, and that Pixyul is therefore probably going to be instrumental in the downfall of our species. The second is that the idea’s just crazy enough to work.
The whole planet will not be available immediately upon the initial release of ReRoll; instead, the developers will build the world “brick by brick” as they navigate the legislation in each country they visit. Sending drones, even civilian drones, to take photos of the land below could understandably make some governments uncomfortable.
Once the game is released, players will take on the role of a survivor in the immediate aftermath of an apocalyptic event, learning the skills needed to stay alive as society collapses around them. It’s not exactly the most original story idea for an RPG but it should work well as a trial for Pixyul’s real world sandbox. Pharand also elaborated a little on the nature of the gameplay:
“It is not a post-apocalyptic setting like we are used to. It just happened; the shit just hit the fan! Society is collapsing one region at a time. The threats are other humans, we will see the dark side of humanity, also mutated humans and animals will be always lurking. The players main goal is broken down in three main gameplay pillars: Explore, fight, craft. You need to develop skills, like in reality to use weapons, to craft… There will be no shortage of things to do.
“The planet will offer so many possibilities. To be honest we still need to figure some of the rules and restrictions. But we believe that people will want to live like nomads and travel all across the globe or settle down and try to rebuild a life. In all cases, you will have to survive. Survive the elements and the multiple threats. You are not alone out there.”
Right now it seems like the most bold, interesting and challenging ideas in the video game industry are coming from indie developers, and ReRoll is no exception. Pixyul is keen to build up a community of gamers who are interested in ReRoll and to raise money to continue the work through crowd-funding (though the developers prefer to refer to their supports as Gamer Angels because, “We didn’t like the word ‘crowd.'”
If you’re interested in finding out more about ReRoll and how to support the game, head over to the official site.