Games are officially the new rock and roll as, two decades on from the iconic HELP album, game developers from across the globe are to pool their talents to create HELP: Real War is Not a Game, a unique compilation to raise funds for War Child
It was 20 years ago today… that Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and many more got together to create HELP, the first in a series of award-winning albums, which raised more than £1.5m to fund War Child’s activities to protect children in the war-torn Balkans.
Now, two decades on, a star-studded line-up of game developers have announced their intention to follow in those musicians’ footsteps by uniting in a unique ‘studio game jam’ designed to help fund War Child’s ongoing activities in conflict-affected countries.
A traditional game jam is a gathering of game developers for the planning, design and creation of one or more games within a fixed time span. Game jams usually take place in a single location and last for a fixed period… normally between 24 and 72 hours. The HELP game jam will largely stick to those principles, but instead of having a fixed home it will take place in a variety of locations across the world and the teams involved will be allowed a total of six days to bring their creation from concept to completion, based on a brief provided by War Child.
The result of all of this international collaboration will be brought together as HELP: Real War is Not a Game, a compilation of games which will be made available to the general public to buy as a digital download early next year.
Studios which have already committed to participating include 343 Industries, A Brave Plan, Bossa Studios, Carbon Games, Creative Assembly, Curve Digital, Hardlight, Hinterland, Spilt Milk Studios, Sports Interactive, Team 17 and Torn Banner (who, between them, have sold well in excess of 100m games), with more announcements expected in the coming weeks. Major technology providers including Unreal, Gamemaker and Unity are also backing the project by providing their tools to the teams on a ‘no cost and royalty free’ basis.
“War Child’s work is amazing. It revolves around a simple premise… no child has started a war, so no child should be affected by one,” says Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive and founder of the global games jam committee. “Whether it’s rehabilitating ex child soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo, creating child helplines in Afghanistan, providing safe spaces for Syrian refugee children, or the work in so many other countries – wherever they are they make the world a better place for children forced to live with war. For so many studios to have got involved in this project at such an early stage is really humbling. I hope many more join the cause and get involved in something that will be fun, rewarding and make a huge difference in children’s lives across the world.”
“We’re incredibly excited about the launch of HELP: Real War is Not a Game. It’s been amazing to be part of this initiative which is set to raise vital funds for children whose lives have been torn apart by war,” says Rob Williams, Chief Executive Officer of War Child UK. “In the 20 years since the music industry came together to create the HELP album, we’ve seen new records for the numbers of children affected by conflict. Today, the gaming industry is changing the game, with exactly the kind of creative and collective response required to help War Child change more lives.”
The War Child games committee is Alex Chapman (Sheridans), Ciarán Brennan (Sports Interactive), Elisabeth Little (War Child), Imre Jelle (Bossa), John Clark (SEGA), Miles Jacobson (Sports Interactive), Rupert Loman (Gamer Network) and Stuart Saw (Twitch).
HELP: Real War is Not a Game will be released through Steam and other digital download platforms in late March 2016. For further information, keep an eye on http://www.warchild.org.uk/helpgame and War Child’s UK’s twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
War Child’s HELP campaign is seeking large-scale public support in the form of an online petition. For more information on the HELP campaign go to www.warchild.org.uk/help .