Less than a week after the end of the World Cup, Steam user Steph has built an add-on for Civilization that attempts to capture the entire global phenomenon:
There have been dozens of FIFA branded video games. Dozens. Yet every one of these titles ignore the all-powerful FIFA in their gameplay. They don't showcase the scandal, the copious wealth, the controversial remarks. They're just about soccer. And that's not enough. That's not FIFA.
What I bring is the opportunity to dive head first into the most drama-filled element of the World Cup: the bidding war to host the tournament.
Steph's "FIFA World Cup Host Resolution" add-on for Sid Meier's Civilization V puts every civilization in a given game in a race to build the most infrastructure. The winner of the race is awarded the World Cup, but has to continue to finance and complete massive amounts of new construction prior to the Cup. Helpfully, the mod includes ultra-cheap, highly exploitable migrant worker units to help you do so:
The Migrant Worker is half the price of the regular worker and can only be bought. With additional movement, they are willing to work long hours without food or water. You hold their passports and salaries so they'll never stray– if they run too far from your territory and the heat doesn't kill them, there are literally countless afflictions and human rights abuses that will! They are the foundation on which your brand new stadiums rest on – or at least their bodies will be. But don't worry when they perish, with 1.4 million units to choose from, it's a never ending supply of cheap labour!
The add-on is, of course, an acid commentary on the legally dubious practices countries engage in for the rights to host the World Cup, and more specifically on the abject conditions in Qatar for the migrant workers who are helping to prepare that country for the 2022 World Cup. So, though you never get to control Lionel Messi, this add-on for Civilization V may be the most accurate soccer simulation every produced. Sepp Blatter would be proud.
Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.
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