Enter the Wildeverse – the company transforming the conservation narrative
This month Internet of Elephants have launched their new interactive game Wildeverse.
Based on individual animals living in the wild today, and the people working to protect them, Wildeverse is an immersive, narrative-based game that allows you to turn your home into a living, breathing jungle. Through an incredible life-size AR (augmented reality) experience, you can track orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas and gibbons and learn about these characters’ habits, habitat and conservation.
All the characters you interact with are real, the storylines are authentic, and what’s at stake is the future of our natural world—no pressure. This adds another exciting realistic dimension to the gameplay, especially once the audience understands just how much research and time was spent on developing Wildeverse.
‘The truth and the facts actually hold a lot of storytelling value’ says Gautam Shah, the Founder of Internet of Elephants. ‘It’s very important to us that we create an engaging story that’s based on reality for integrity.’
Inspiration for the game came from the jungles of Borneo and the Republic of Congo. The team spent time there learning from conservationists about their work in the field. Collaborating with partners such as the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project and the Borneo Nature Foundation, they were able to harness the likeness of both humans and animals into a virtual reality.
With the original intention to be played outside, the team worked harder than ever to modify the gameplay for an audience now confined due to Covid-19. They’ve done a fantastic job and the game is a brilliant distraction to the stir craziness we’re all feeling. Your room transforms into the sights and sounds of the jungle, and you’re challenged to complete wildlife tracking and conservation missions. These range from finding leftover food traces and footprints to seeking out threats to the natural habitat of the four species.
The game is suitable for all ages and isn’t only for those with a background in conservation. ‘We want to debunk this myth that science can only end up in scientific journals. We want these stories to be told through an alternative method.’ IoE’s Wildlife Data Analyst, Rafael Mares explained.
Rafael talked about the importance of the storytelling narrative in the game and how this could help attract a wider audience to both understand and take action for the pressures facing wildlife and nature. ‘We no longer need to convince people there’s a problem, it’s now about everyone from whatever industry they’re in to think about creative ways to come up with solutions.’
Right now, the game is based solely on apes but Shah explained that he has high hopes for the next chapters of the Wildeverse universe. In the future, the game creators plan to expand to Wildeverse to the Amazon, Savanna, and Arctic, displaying the importance and successes of conservation all over the world. ‘Its critical people are not only presented with the doom and gloom. There are incredible success stories of wildlife, people and habitat – everyone needs to hear these as well.’
Internet of Elephants is a social enterprise based in Kenya and the United States. They are a collaboration of technologists, conservationists, educators, game designers, and strategists working together towards a stronger connection between people and wild animals.