Zut Alors! Montreal First Real City Infected In ReRoll

By Alice O'Connor on March 28th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Vite vite, ma petite

Should society be toppled by some terrible plague, I’d probably neck a few pints of gin then dance to pop music across the rooftops until I inevitably tumbled down. But you, you may have other plans. You know where you’d go in your neighbourhood, where you’d raid for supplies, and where you’d hide. The astonishingly ambitious online action-RPG ReRoll hopes to tap into that knowledge by scanning the real world with drones to make its own. And has now actually started.

The first city to submit to cyberfication is Canada’s fair Montreal, which is only fitting as that’s where Pixyul co-founders Julien Cuny and Louis-Pierre Pharand worked on Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry games at Ubisoft. Come, see Ville-Marie beset with a mutant plague in a new-ish trailer.

25 square kilometres of downtown Montreal will make up ReRoll’s first ‘Brick,’ a chunk of the world to test the tech then deliver to backers in mid-2015. Yes, of course it’s crowdfunding, selling bundles of characters and items. Pixyul’s happy to start there as, as well as being home, it includes places of survival interest from hospitals and police stations to apartment blocks and parks. Sometimes a nice afternoon in the park is the perfect escape from a mutant nightmare.

Pixyul hopes to deploy fancy drones to the furthest corners of the earth, using photogrammetry (hey, it’s that word again) to bring everything from mountains to Mile End into the game world. In this cruel facsimile of home, players will eek out an existence through the usual crafting, farming, hunting, and murdering survival-type activities. It’ll only be a top-down affair so it’s less ambitious a task than it could be but gosh, there’s still so much to scan. The world is really quite big.

But look, here’s how Montreal turned from francophone fairytale to hellhole:

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27 Comments »

  1. frightlever says:

    They plan to map large chunks of the world, but we’ve no idea what the game will look like, right?

    No, telling me to look out a window is an unacceptable answer.

    • GameCat says:

      I don’t know if this game will be good, but these drone scans are fascinating (and kinda creepy somehow).

    • RobinOttens says:

      I imagine it’s gonna look hella blurry and low res up close if they’re planning to do all their photogrammetry with flying drone cameras. In any case they’re gonna have a whole lot of work retouching and cleaning up 25 square kilometers of generated 3d models.

      Making a workable and good looking 3d model out of photos of a rock or small waterfall is one thing. Doing the same for an entire city and then having it look good enough for a modern third person or first person game, that’s on a whole other level.

      Those aerial shots in that trailer look neat though.

      • uh20 says:

        the best way to counter these problems is to convert the low rez images into game textures, and then add the correct color to them to make them look like what they are, this gets more and more tricky as you would need to discern a crowded street as sidewalk and pavement, traffic pieces? the list of items that need to be recongnised for a good looking montreal goes on and on.

    • DThor says:

      Yeah, I was a little confused about the lack of a game play trailer. So, fecal matter actually hasn’t collided with cooling apparatus just yet – are we just sitting down to a heaping plate of poutine in anticipation of said event? I absolutely agree that the world is big. Really big. I mean, you might think it’s a long way down the street to Schwartz’s, but…

      I applaud their ambitious zeal. I wonder how far their R&D got them?

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    Dunbine says:

    Canadian in-joke –
    At least it won’t take much effort to knock down Montreal’s bridges, quarantining the whole island.

    (Montreal has some pretty significant infrastructure issues, perhaps most prominently featuring its bridges).

    • podkayne says:

      I have made that joke to friends a million times. I also have far too detailed plans on how to flood metro access from Longueuil.

    • Darth Jimmi says:

      They won’t have much trouble re-creating a post-apocalyptic/chaotic environment, since the streets of Montreal already looks like the city’s been blown up or whatever.

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    yhancik says:

    Zut alors? More like: tabernacle!

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    But they can’t drone-scane inside the buildings, so is the fact that it’s a hospital in real life actually going to be any use to anyone? It’s just another pleasantly-decorated brick wall in the game, and if you can go inside, then the internal layout won’t be authentic, rendering the whole thing a bit moot.

  5. Peter says:

    I really hope they get around to doing Edinburgh at some point. This city would be perfect in a survival sim, a completely different environment compared to the American tower blocks or suburban perfection we are used to. Bring on surviving the Apocalypse in Edinburgh Castle.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Edinburgh_Castle_from_the_North.JPG

    • Simon_Scott says:

      They’re waiting til the trams are up and running.

      • Groove says:

        So the game won’t be out until after the apocalypse then?

        I miss Edinburgh. The city centre really is fascinating, for the geometry alone or for any number of other reasons.

  6. Simon_Scott says:

    Really don’t see what the point is beyond that first five minutes of hunting down your home or place of work – I can’t see how it connects meaningfully to the game.

    • dorn says:

      The point is mostly just scale. By scanning real world stuff they can create a massive game world cheaply.

  7. Simon_Scott says:

    Also, “foreign workers introduce pathogen” is a bit awkward and unnecessary, isn’t it? Much rather the infection got going from virus mutation at a battery-farm or similar.

    • dsch says:

      Presumably the backstory involves the outbreak starting elsewhere.

  8. Lemming says:

    ‘the shit has hit the fan’ seemed tonally so out of place at the end of that trailer.

    • dsch says:

      It would explain how the virus spread so quickly. Seriously unhygienic, that.

  9. Chuckleluck says:

    I’m still heavily skeptical about this. Even if they do somehow map large swaths of the world, a game that does not make.

    On a side note, I’d love a game that lets you play what is show in the video – that is, a regular old RPG with no connection to zombies, and then an update of some sort that causes an outbreak. You’d have to legitimately deal with societal (or at least, game community) breakdown, instead of the made up promise in DayZ etc. that “everything was once in order”.

  10. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    “Zut Alors!” is simply wrong to type in a title when you talk about Montreal. We’re from Québec and even though we speak french, we have nothing to do with Europe’s french language. French in Québec is very different and we’re not like them at all. We have our own expression and accent. It’s a different dialect.

    Just thought of clarifying things.

    P.S: change your title to “Ah crisse, Montreal First Real City Infected In ReRoll”. French people from Québec will like that title better as zut alors ..well i don’t give a flying crap about french people in Europe.

    Also, Montreal is already a hellhole if you didn’t notice the traffic and construction sites plaguing the city

  11. SillyWizard says:

    Okay so…are French-Canadians really this prone to rioting? It’s hard to believe that Day One of an emergency would lead to a total collapse of civilization.

    Generally people are okay to wait things out unless they get hungry or have had a long-term build-up of frustration.

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      Wisq says:

      It’s also hard to believe that authorities would move so incredibly quickly.

      Quarantining an entire part of a city is only something I would expect to see if they already knew about the virus, what it can do, and how important it was to respond quickly, not to mention already had response plans and teams standing by on alert.

  12. The Dark One says:

    To be fair, the Mile End is pretty close to Mount Royal.