By Joseph Leray
“Riot” is a game by Italian designer and former Valve cinematographer Leonard Menchiari about the power dynamics that take place during social upheavals. The game’s premise and muted, “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery”-inspired pixel art are eye-catching, and Menchiari’s goals are ambitious.
Influenced by demonstrations in his own country, Menchiari hopes to provide a relatively objective exploration how and why riots happen, and how they must be handled. Players can control a mob, but “playing as a cop is also essential,” he says. “My goal is to expose as many aspects as I can of both sides, from both perspectives.”
To make that happen, Menchiari is asking for $15,000 to pay for Menchiari to travel to social demonstrations happening throughout Italy, Greece, and Egypt, as well as to purchase software licenses and pay for basic living expenses while the game is developed and tested.
Neither the game’s trailer nor Indiegogo funding campaign really explain the game’s mechanics, but Menchiari described the basic systems for IndieGames: “The main focus is to be able to manipulate the crowd with very few and simple commands,” he explained. “The purpose is not mainly to beat up and destroy the other faction, but to achieve a goal for each mission, sometimes using the least amount of violence, other times being forced to make brutal decisions.”
While the main thrust of “Riot” will be its hotseat local multiplayer, Menchiari’s team is also planning to create a single-player campaign.
The team has already raised almost $10,000 with more than two weeks to go (and in the midst of a Steam Greenlight campaign) so it’s likely a matter of when — not if — “Riot” will be available on Android, iOS, PC, and Ouya.