Horizon Forbidden West and 5 other games with environmental themes

It’s easy to think that the gaming market is superficial and homogenized, or else dominated by the same types of games that favor flashy visuals or occasional violence to create thrills or generate maximum profits. The fact is, the gaming industry is a surprisingly diverse, ever-expanding landscape that has only grown in the maturity and sincerity with which it deals with topics ranging from racism, mental health issues, of self-identity, and the future of humanity.

Many developers have also, implicitly or explicitly, sought to address the themes of environmental catastrophe and ecological conservation by incorporating them into their respective titles. With Earth Day fast approaching (April 22), it’s worth checking out headlines that have used the medium to make valid claims about humanity, nature, and the relationship between the two.

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Horizon Forbidden West emphasizes the connection between nature and humanity

Sharpshot Bow Horizon Forbidden West

Forbidden Horizon West, the extremely ambitious sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, was a phenomenal success for Sony. It expands on the odd but effective setup of pitting primitive human tribes against technologically advanced mechanical creatures against the backdrop of a broken American border.

Both games bring an emotional maturity to their respective narratives, giving the series as a whole an authentic and weighty feel. Earth, shattered by environmental catastrophe, looms heavily in the background like an all-consuming presence. The idea of ​​a world rendered nearly uninhabitable by human intervention has been explored in titles ranging from Fall for Metro, but Horizon expands on the theme by repositioning its protagonist, Aloy, as integral to the natural world. The two put humanity and nature back into a more symbiotic tandem, reminding viewers that it may be humans’ dependence on technology and disregard for nature that sows the seeds of the potential end. of humanity.

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A New Beginning sends players back in time to avert an environmental disaster

A new start

A new start is a point-and-click adventure video game by Daedalic Entertainment, available on most PCs and iOS devices. Humanity has been forced into underground cave systems following the fallout of an environmental disaster. The game centers on the protagonist Fay’s attempts to travel through time to warn humanity of impending doom and help find a workable solution.

A new start is a relative rarity in the gaming market in the way it takes point-and-click adventure gaming and reuses it as an environment-centric storytelling, and the end result is effective. While it may not quite reach the highest levels of the genre seen by games such as monkey island or sinister fandango, A new start’s message and mature handling of its subject matter make it valuable.

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Eco emphasizes that humans must work with nature to survive

ECO screenshot

City-building sims have always been a favorite among PC gamers, but few offer the depth and real-world consideration that Strange Loop Games’ Eco provides. The central conceit revolves around the cast collaborating with others and with nature itself to build a sustainable society, while trying to avert disaster from an incoming meteor.

Eco is certainly a challenge, and a challenge in depth, but the aim of the game is to make players understand that an ongoing relationship with nature is fundamental to the continued existence of humanity and that every action of a society, of an establishment or even a person performs has an effect on the natural world. Eco may not pull as many punches as other city builders, but it provides an educational and rewarding experience with its honest candor.

Beyond Blue promotes appreciation of the biodiversity of our oceans


While E-Line Media beyond the blue may not have an explicitly environmental message in its promotional materials or in-game, it would be hard not to wallow in the wonders of its aquamarine depths and feel moved by the experience. Taking the form of a single-player narrative adventure that “takes you deep into our the beating blue heart of the planet“, beyond the blue invites potential divers to explore the wonders and depths of the world’s oceans, which we should all do our part to protect. While it may be a bit short and, ironically, a bit superficial to be considered a fully fleshed out masterpiece, beyond the blue fulfills its vocation as an educational tool by allowing audiences of all ages to appreciate the joys of underwater aquatic life.

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Civilization VI: Gathering Storm shifts the series’ focus to the environment

Civilization VI: Storm Gathering

While the Civilization the series is so often preoccupied with how humans manage to overpower their fellow human beings, the A threatening storm Downloadable content for VI civil, developed by Firaxis Games, is more of a reflection on society’s response when the very forces of nature pose a very real existential threat. This threat comes in the form of new environmental effects such as blizzards, storms, and volcanoes that must be overcome for the player’s civilization to survive. A threatening storm also provides its usual nod to the future of science and technology by including a progression from damaging consumable resources to cleaner energy sources and renewables. The implication, of course, is clear: dependence on fossil fuels is a thing of the past.

Plasticity warns against the use of non-biodegradable plastics

Screenshot of the Polish environmental game Plasticity

Plasticity may be a small game, but its effect is remarkably profound. Launched by students in the USC Games program as a warning against addiction to non-biodegradable plastics, the indie title centers on Noa, a young girl who must solve puzzles and find solutions in a plastic-ravaged world. Hauntingly beautiful and remarkably touching, Plasticity is a free Steam gem with an extremely worthwhile purpose. Although he does not fear the potential consequences of a world indifferent to the dangers of an unsustainable environmental model, Plasticity pushes the fundamentally hopeful message that everyone is capable of making a profound difference in their environment.

Sharpshot Bow Horizon Forbidden West

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