You know how some men just want to watch the world burn? Well, Wildfire Worlds creator James Boty might be one of them. The concept of anarchy and mass hysteria clearly fascinates this man, and as a result he’s made this rather cute game with a serious propagation engine running in the background.
The premise is simple and rather dark: you get to hover above this adorable papercraft city complete with tiny little papercraft people all scurrying about doing whatever it is that fills their papercraft days. You’ll see them driving to work in either their own vehicles or on public transport; you’ll see them shopping in stores that they learnt about while passing particular billboards on their way to work. The whole city runs peacefully and like clockwork.
Your job is to break that peace and stability, because deep down you know that you also want to watch the world burn.
It’s all about inciting civil unrest and then letting the propagation programming take its course. So you might drop an activist into the midst of the city to begin spreading descent amongst the population. Eventually, with enough prodding and coaxing, the population will begin protesting. Add more fuel to the powder keg and strike a bigger match, and the protests could explode into violence and total anarchy. Police will begin shooting, buildings will burn, people will die. If you’re wicked meddling is wicked enough, the entire city could crumble and every person could be reduced to a red smear on the pavement.
Assuming you’ve managed to destroy your city doesn’t mean that the game ends. Eventually, nature will take its course: vines will begin growing through the roads, animals will return, trees will flourish. After a while, humans will eventually resettle and begin building a new society. Once that new society is up and running, the only thing left to do is to “f**k that up as well.”
At present, Wildfire Worlds seems more like a toy box than an actual game, but Boty and his tiny team of part-time developers are planning to add all sorts of gaming aspects like goals and achievements.
The entire package is built around this propagation engine. Boty says that there’s a lot that can be added to the game thanks to the engine: “The spread of ideas: inspire literacy and peaceful protest in a war torn society. How may peaceful protesters can you throw at a bunch of rabid soldiers before they feel the twang of guilt and put down their guns? The spread of disease: a few twiddles of the propagation engine and watch the birth of a zombie materialist contagion.”
Should I be concerned that this level of anarchic entertainment appeals to me as much as it does? Probably, but whatever. You can download a tech demo right now – I gave it a whirl last night and while there’s not much to do, it does show you just how charming this aesthetic is.
There’s currently no release date, but Boty anticipates a beta program of sorts. Eventually the game should be heading to PC and iPad.