Screen agencies support WARCO game

14 September, 2011 by Danii Logue

Funding video games is not the usual fare of government agencies such as Screen Australia and Screen NSW. But a first person shooter-style game, which cleverly mixes user-driven storytelling with gameplay by replacing guns with video cameras, has been recently backed by the departments.

WARCO lets players shoot and record what they see ‘through the lens’ – framing shots, panning and zooming, and grabbing powerful images of combatants and civilians caught up in war.


The game is the brainchild of journalist Tony Maniaty and director (and Screen Australia board member) Robert Connelly, and is a partnership between their respective companies Arenamedia and ManiatyMedia, and game developer Defiant Development.

“While directing the feature film Balibo about war correspondents, Tony Maniaty approached me with the idea at the heart of WARCO… from there we hooked up with Morgan Jaffit at Defiant, and prototyped the idea with help from Screen Australia and Screen NSW,” Connelly said via email.

Set in the fictional country of Benouja, playing as war correspondent (warco) Jesse DeMarco, users must record dramatic images of war, save them in-game and then edit the results into a compelling frontline TV news story before beaming the results to global audiences on the web.

“Looking at the first person shooter gaming genre, we saw a terrific opportunity to create a game that built on an established style of game play. Instead of a rifle you had a video camera, instead of needing to replenish bullets, you replenished battery power and tape stock. The difference being that you didn’t kill anyone. ‘Shoot the story, not the enemy’,” Connelly said.

The full game is currently in development.