In case people haven't yet heard or don't believe that staying home when possible is pretty sensible right now, the UK government have launched a partnership with several video game companies to spread the message into games. Sniper Elite studio Rebellion say they're going to put messages echoing the government's "Stay At Home, Save Lives" instructions onto game menus, and Dirt Rally 2.0 has already raised warning banners on in-game tracks.
"I'm delighted to see the UK's brilliant video games industry stepping up to strongly reinforce this message to gamers across the UK," culture secretary Oliver Dowden said.
"Getting through the crisis will require a collective national effort and every generation has a role to play, everyone's actions right now can have a direct impact upon the lives of others," the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said in Monday's announcement. "Young people spend more time playing video games than the rest of the population (UKIE), which is why in-game messaging represents a creative, targeted, and immediate way to help reinforce the government's Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives message, to gamers."
The DMCS say that Rebellion, who also make Strange Brigade and the Nazi Zombie Army games, will put up messaging on their games' home menus, with links where possible. Rebellion have offered advertising space in their comics too, like the galaxy's greatest comic, 2000 AD. As for Codies, they had already put those Dirt Rally banners up of their own volition and now say yup cool happy to be a part of this.
The DCMS also put out an open call for more partnerships, saying "Any company wishing to support the fight against coronavirus through in-game messaging and other initiatives should contact DCMS on firstname.lastname@example.org."
The messages are a tiny passive thing and I can't imagine they'll convince many but I suppose omnipresent pressure might help persuade some? But also it brings the omnipresent dread into video games, which kinda sucks for people who are staying at home and want a break from this constant terrible feeling. What a time!
Oh, if the DMCS sound familiar, that may be because last year they recommended that some loot boxes should be regulated under gambling laws and that the games industry should held fund research into 'problem gaming'. They're that lot. With the culture and the media.