Video games can be serious business–people’s lives and livelihoods can depend on them, and they can harm or help people to a huge extent. It’s the latter effect that Ubisoft is most interested in with two of its newly announced projects. The Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and Far Cry publisher has revealed two new games–one titled Rabbids Coding and the other temporarily known as Project Oikos–focused on educating children.
The first is a Rabbids game that aims to teach kids how to code. You’re faced with puzzles based around moving in the right direction and in the right order. You might, for example, need to pick up a Rabbid on one side of the level and drop it off on the other, requiring the correctly ordered instructions for your robot player-character to make the journey. The PC game is simple, but it quickly gets more complex, all the while teaching the basics of coding syntax in a more welcoming way than simply bombarding you with lines of code. Best of all, it’s free, with a release date being announced “soon.”
Project Oikos, meanwhile, is a prototype that’s only been in development for around six months. It’s a two-player co-op title in which each player controls an animal of one of four species: a lilypad, a fish, a worm, or a bird. Together, you need to maintain the populations of each species by reproducing and eating the other species. As well as the obvious themes of ecosystems and food chains, Oikos is also a useful tool to demonstrate how working together and communicating helps make complex problems much easier to solve. Ubisoft said it’s too early to say what form Oikos will take if and when it eventually comes out, but I hope it sees a similar free release as Rabbids Coding, as it could prove to be a great learning tool.
Finally, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece mode is out now, allowing you to take an educational tour around–you guessed it–Ancient Greece. The mode allows you to wander around the game’s locations without fear of interruption from the main game’s enemies, as well as supplying actual in-game guided tours. The mode is available now as a free update on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and is also available to buy separately on PC.