What would it be like if you lived in Galilee during Jesus’ ministry?
Recently, games have sought to be faithfully accurate to historical time periods in order to allow gamers to experience history in new and exciting ways. But what if that same approach undertook something different? What if you could experience Biblical history? Specifically Jesus’ ministry? In ONE of 500, you experience life as Jesus Christ begins His ministry on earth and how people are reacting to it. We reached out to the studio working on the game and they graciously answered the question we had. We corresponded with Robin Phillip Zimmerman, part of Game Design & Research at Lightworld Productions. Keep reading to learn more about ONE of 500 and how they’re bringing the Gospel to the gamers, believers and curious skeptics alike.
TRG: What is ONE of 500 about?
Robin: In ONE of 500, the player experiences the story of Jesus of Nazareth first hand. As the fictional character Benjamin, who grew up as a fisherman’s son in Capernaum, the player is immersed in the realistically recreated Galilee around 28 AD. A very unique culture, politically and religiously smouldering conflicts, and the normal everyday life with all the challenges it brings along. Until… rumors start circulating about a Nazarene named Jesus. Witnessing the biblical events of the Gospels while being confronted with life’s biggest questions, the player is challenged to make crucial decisions and position himself in his individual story.
We as Gamers and Christians are eager to develop a 3rd-person story-driven adventure game with fun and emotionally engaging gameplay, leading the player into a moving, personal story with meaningful choices. We’re excited about recreating the world of 1st century Galilee and Jerusalem, with renowned experts relying on the latest scientific knowledge or using methods like photogrammetry to scan actual archaeological findings.
TRG: What are some games that influenced the gameplay in ONE of 500?
Robin: Various games serve as benchmark titles for the elements of ONE of 500.
It combines the episodic Life is Strange approach with the powerful storytelling and moral decision making, as well as the context sensitive interactions of Detroit: Become Human and immersive historical visuals of A Plague Tale: Innocence. The game world is created in Hubs like in Plague Tale to be able to create high polished scenes without needing a team of 500 people. We also have a mindset system for inner reflection and following your own thoughts on the experiences a bit like in Disco Elysium.
“We want to unveil the core of a beautiful message without being pushy, but showing the relevance of biblical perspectives in conflicts that really matter to people.”
TRG: What do you hope for gamers to get out of playing ONE of 500?
Robin: We want to enable players to immersively experience the events, meaning and relevance of the Gospel in its historical and cultural context. The game is about an open discourse about moral, ethics and religion, without being punished by the game logic for choosing one way or the other. It’s about experiencing realistic consequences, while learning about the ancient culture and history, which will give players a greater opportunity to understand bible passages in their actual context. A lot of stuff will be new and surprising, even for Christians, through intensive research by experts in Jewish culture, archaeology and even specific disciplines like textile sciences. We want to unveil the core of a beautiful message without being pushy, but showing the relevance of biblical perspectives in conflicts that really matter to people.
It’s our desire to enable young people find answers to religious, biblical and moral questions or questions about God in a more adequate way. We want to deliver a form suiting their communication to learn and deal with such questions.
TRG: When do you plan on releasing ONE of 500? What platforms are you aiming to release on?
Robin: We are developing it using Unreal Engine 4 - first for PC, while already having a specific plan to release it on consoles as well (as PS, XBOX, Switch). We are also in contact with cloud gaming companies for further possibilities.
The first episode is about to be released in spring 2022, depending on how fast the funding can be accumulated. Right now, we are preparing a Crowdfunding-Campaign via Kickstarter, launching in March/April 2021. In the best-case it gets a huge push in the first 12 hours, therefore it is crucial that as many as possible potential backers subscribe to our E-Mail Newsletter at www.oneof500-game.com! There we will announce the start of the campaign.
The further releases will be episodic, covering the whole Journey of Jesus to His resurrection and beyond.
We’ll continue to keep up to date with ONE of 500 and share further information here. What do you think about ONE of 500? Let us know in the comments below.