Ubisoft is making some big changes to the Riders Republic map in an effort to raise awareness about wildfires (thanks Axios). Riders Republic director Boris Maniora quietly posted the announcement on Playing for the Planet’s website and outlined what players can expect during the “short” cooperative event, dubbed Phoenix. Playing for the Planet is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program that works with various sectors of the games industry to promote positive action in support of the environment, and the Phoenix project teaches players not just actions that can prevent wildfires, but ways of identifying areas under the greatest threat.
The Riders Republic Phoenix event will launch sometime near the end of 2022, but in an effort to increase the urgency of the situation, Ubisoft won’t announce a specific start date.
“[Players] will be immersed immediately in the consequences of wildfires on the outskirts of the map when booting the game,” Maniora said.
Those consequences include Ubisoft blocking a large portion of the Riders Republic map, making everyone spawn with gas masks initially, and adding an orange sky and smoke effects. The game’s Social Hub will get a makeover during the event, and players need to join a task force to help keep the fire from spreading.
Doing that involves figuring out which areas of Sequoias National Park face the most significant threat, using photo mode. Phoenix overlays real-life data from previous fires in the region and projections of future fires to help with decision making. From there, player groups will work to clear scrub and pathways or protect trees by wrapping their trunks in tin foil.
We still consider Riders Republic one of the best sports games on PC, though outside adding BMX tricks in April, the biking adventure has been fairly quiet since it launched in late 2021.