Ancestors: The Human Odyssey is a new open world survival game in which players journey through the planet’s greatest adventure, human evolution. The game is developed by industry veteran, Patrice Désilets known for period centric games like Prince of Persia and Assassins Creed I and II. Ancestors has an exciting concept and an experienced developer however, Ancestors is more important than just being a good video game.
Despite the massive amount of scientific evidence regarding evolution, humanity’s origins are still heavily mythologized. The version of cavemen people think of look like The Flintstones. So much so, that some grown adults need to be reminded that dinosaurs never co-existed with humans. Now I’m not bashing The Flintsones (It’s a classic) but visions of the “white caveman” are pervasive.
The image of the first man being caucasian persists even in representation of religious characters like Adam and Eve. It was not so long ago that President George W. Bush told the nation that “evolution is only a theory.” To this day, politicians still use terminology like “our rights were endowed to us by our creator.” The myth of creation is such a part of American culture that people don’t take the time to analyze our origins. The more people cling to these counter-factual fantasies the more people ignore our common heritage.
Ancestors (intentionally or not) serves as a counter narrative to the deluge of misinformation regarding the evolution of the human being. Video games are one of the most engaging tools for learning and appeal to a young audience. Even if a kid sleeps through the science class where they summarize human evolution, they will surely pick something up by playing Ancestors.
When we accept our common ancestry as an unambiguous fact, we dispel all of the divisive myths. By remembering where we came from, we can better decide where we want to go as a species.