As of today, one of the most defining moments of the Great War has become a playable scenario in the hyper realistic shooter Verdun.
It is not one of the great offensive charges or desperate last stands, but an interactive depiction of one of the heroic truces that spontaneously occurred on the Western Front during the Christmas of 1914. The DLC sees players lay down their rifles and call off their artillery strikes, and instead lets them throw snowballs, play football, sing carols and forget about hitting the prone key for a while.
It’s available for a donation of either $2.99, $7.99 or $12.99, with the entirety of the proceeds going to War Child.
As you may have guessed from the charity’s name being a combination of words no one ever wants to see, War Child is a charity which helps children affected by war. The children in question include those from a plethora of countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the charity providing places where these children can escape the daily horrors of the conflicts.
“We think the gaming industry is fantastic for a lot of the work we’re doing because gaming transports people into other worlds,” said Wayne Emanuel, a development manger at War Child, “and we want players to help children living in very different worlds by changing their virtual experiences via things like Armistice. We see valuable opportunities in reaching gamers with the real impact of war through a lot of games that talk about war. Help mobilise a new audience to rally behind some of the things we work on.”
Blackmill Games, the developers of Verdun, were not the only creative team to rally to the cry of War Child, with the developers of World of Tanks, Democracy 3 and 1979 Revolution: Black Friday including an armistice themed DLC for their games.
This isn’t the first time War Child have reached out to games developers for help, with This War of Mine alone raising $50,000 last year for the charity. The plan, according to Emanuel, is to gain more traction and partnerships every year, with the charity hoping to do “bigger partnerships with the existing studios but also work with bigger studios as well”.
“Being able to prove that this concept works this year is really important. Next year we’ll see what happens in terms of reaching out to new studios – we’d love to get more studios involved. We’d love to get EA or Activision or whoever else. The idea is to go bigger.”
War Child claimed it helped 126,000 children in 2015, and hopes to increase that number to 260,000 by 2019. If throwing snowballs at a digital representation of the Central Powers can help achieve that, then count me in.