Harrison Ford’s endorsing the environmentally conscious game Ecotopia premiering on Facebook April 4.
You might be wondering, like I did, why Harrison is backing the Facebook game. As it turns out, game developer Talkie has partnered with Conservation International, a global organization that empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and global biodiversity. Mr. Ford is the Vice Chairman of the Conservation International’s board of directors.
“As a passionate supporter of Conservation International’s work, I am excited that Talkie and CI are collaborating on Ecotopia,” Harrison Ford said in a prepared statement. “This game represents a refreshing new way to engage millions of people in addressing critical environmental issues and finding solutions that work for the wellbeing of humanity.”
Talkie’s press release describes Ecotopia as:
In this eco-friendly heroes-versus-villains Facebook adventure, Ecotopia players begin with a dirty, uninhabitable environment and must generate resources by completing immersive in-game missions. Resources are then used to develop a colorful and exciting sustainable city that players can customize to create their own utopia. Players can also connect with their Facebook friends, sending gifts to each other and visiting neighboring maps to perform helpful actions. In a feature new to social gaming, players will also be heavily rewarded for performing real-world acts of sustainability and incorporating them into their Ecotopia gaming experience.
The idea certainly seems awesome, but we will see what kind of Facebook gamers it attracts — or whether it manages to lure people who may not play silly social games but are interested in social activism or learning a bit more about philanthropy.
At the same time, it seems like a smart move to keep the essence of wildly successful Facebook games intact: the popular city-building game model. While CI’s partnership with Talkie might be too large-scale (and possibly, expensive), it will become an interesting precedent if it is successful.
How well do you think Ecotopia will fare compared to other social games?