Eco is like Minecraft for environmentalists, and it’s on Kickstarter now

Hug a tree while you saw it in half

Survival sims have gained a bit of a bad reputation. When it’s not something that’s just fundamentally terrible like The Slaughtering Grounds, it’s yet another early access zombie-in-a-forest survival sim like DayZ. Fortunately with games like FarSky, ARK, and Subnautica, there have been some fresh and exciting new experiences in the genre recently, but not quite at the pace I’d have liked.

Thankfully it now looks like Eco by Strange Loop Games wants to come and try some interesting new things as well. The game is currently on Kickstarter asking for $100,000, and in one day has already managed to raise one fifth of that aim with $20.8k at the time of writing.

The idea is simple: it’s like Minecraft, but has finite resources for players to share and an ecosystem of wildlife who will be affected by the players’ decisions. As players start to build and change the world, this ecosystem will change or even be destroyed.

It’s like Al Gore and the WWF decided to make a game about you slowly killing the planet you’re on while also snapping the necks of cute baby pandas, you absolute fucking monster.

On top of that, Eco wants to try and improve the sociability that survival sims have really lacked up to now with a player-run government. Players can communally vote on laws and formulate debates and arguments using the data about just how much they’re screwing up the environment.

These governments will be put to the test by end-of-world scenarios, such as droughts, floods, and meteors turning the planet into a fiery hellscape of death and despair. Or you’ll kill off all the whales you sick fuck.

There are two concerns here for me: question one is whether or not the idea of a whole simulated and realistic ecosystem with interconnecting reliabilities is too much for players of a game of this nature.

My second concern is how a player-run government will work in a genre so notorious for people dicking you over for a tin of beans. It somehow works in Minecraft so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t here, but there is always that propensity for people being absolute asshats.

Either way, Eco looks right up my alley. I love making self-sustainable farms and towns in games like Minecraft and Cities: Skylines, so a whole game about me being a tree-hugging hippy sounds wonderful. I haven’t backed the Kickstarter, and don’t intend to, but this is certainly one for me at least to keep an eye on.

Joe Parlock