All Rise — an inappropriately joyous game about fighting for the planet

by on 10/02/2024

Dr. Joost Vervoort has added a new post on the ANTICIPLAY project blog dealing with the creation of a new game called All Rise which provides excellent insights into the development process and the environmental themes of the game. Below you will find an excerpt; to read the full blog post go here

For the last year, we have been working with an amazing team on a game called All Rise. All Rise is a game about taking big corporates and others responsible for destroying the planet to court. The game is designed to be a much needed infusion of wild joy, curiosity and playfulness in a world where it can be very hard to fight the fight against climate change and ecological crisis. A lively current of electric energy in a time where ecological and climate depression and anxiety are rampant. We hope to inspire laughter alongside a sense of possibility and empowerment in players while taking the maddening political realities of environmental inaction head on. We hope to inspire people to look at what can be done through curious, creative eyes. In terms of game play and tone, it combines the court focus and absurdity of Phoenix Wright with the worldbuilding and narrative exploration of Disco Elysium or Citizen Sleeper. Deckbuilding mechanics a la Slay the Spire have you going out in the world to find clues, evidence, gossip and conversation tactics for challenging narrative encounters and court battles. And this is important: when people buy the game, they know they’re funding real environmental court cases.

From climate action to game design

Let’s talk about where this game came from, and the unusual team behind the project. About three years ago Dutch activist group Fossielvrij (Fossil Free) was at the head of a nation-wide movement to get the pension fund ABP, one of the biggest pension funds in the world, to take its 15 billion euros out of fossil fuel. Building on the successes of court cases against the Dutch Government and Royal Dutch Shell, Fossielvrij was preparing to take ABP to court. At the time, I joined this campaign because I thought it was a brilliant combination of target (a pension fund for civil servants, including myself as an academic) and method, and likely to be impactful. As it turns out the campaign was wildly successful — even before the court case was fully begun, ABP decided to divest all of its fossil fuel investments.

Get in touch with Joost Vervoort via emailTwitterBluesky or Linkedin if you’d like to know more about All Rise and our next steps!

At the first meeting for the preparation of the court case, I thought — how can game design help this cause? What sprang to mind was a game like Phoenix Wright and the Ace Attorney series — a wild, funny and incredibly successful and classic series of games focusing on the court, like an anime Law & Order — but for climate cases. What if a wildly engaging, funny game like this could be made, and if players would know that buying the game would support actual environmental and climate court cases? I remember bringing up this idea, and how a 16 year old in the meeting immediately jumped up and shouted YES! PHOENIX WRIGHT!

Over the next year, an exceptional team gathered around the project…

To read the full story, head over to the ANTICIPLAY website here.