REMEMBRANCE is a quest-style game that tells the story of the inhabitants of the St. Lawrence estuary from the 14th to the early 20th century.
The game is built around a voyage in time, through which gamers can discover places and objects that recount the lifestyles of the members of different cultures and eras. Digital 3D technology helps create a realistic and immersive experience, allowing players to examine the different objects in minute detail.
Expect to have some serious fun!
A Brief History of the Project
This visit to the lives of the peoples of the St. Lawrence estuary was inspired by the 3D digital reproduction (available in French only) of the scale model of the village of Sainte-Blandine done by IDHP (Images Drone Haute Précision) for the Corporation patrimoniale de Sainte-Blandine and the Société rimouskoise du patrimoine (SRP), in 2018.
The digitized village sparked the idea of creating a serious game in which players could travel through Sainte-Blandine and learn about different aspects of village life, the occupations of its inhabitants, and the interiors of its heritage buildings. When the development team learned that one of the village’s founding families was of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry, its members chose to create a serious game of time travel that allows its players to voyage from pre-colonial times to the modern era.
REMEMBRANCE is designed for students taking secondary-school-level Social Sciences courses. However, we believe that its content could intrigue anyone with an interest in history.
As they travel through the centuries, players can learn more about the game’s historical content by viewing 10 different videos and visiting 10 spheres (360° views), in each of which they can collect 10 objects and learn about their uses in the daily lives of that era’s inhabitants. They also collect one page of history in each of the spheres, completing the chapters of the Remembrance book. These pages of history help players better understand the context in which they find themselves.
History and the Limitations of the Game
The game begins in the 21st century, in the village of Sainte-Blandine, to the south of Rimouski. The grandchildren of Mr. Brisson, the carpenter, are visiting their grandfather at his home. A cutscene transports us to a video demonstrating how to play the game using the tools at our disposal.
It should be noted that no archives or images exist to document the ways of life of Indigenous peoples between the 14th and 16th centuries, prior to European contact. In order to depict this period of history as faithfully as possible and fill in certain gaps in the visual field, the game’s illustrations include elements imagined by its writer and illustrator.
The game’s texts and illustrations draw heavily from historical, archeological, and ethnological sources and studies. It should also be noted here that most textual sources from the early colonial period were produced by Europeans, generally explorers, missionaries, or administrators, and are largely subjective in nature; they are told from the perspective of these new arrivals who sought to legitimize their occupation of the territory at the expense of Indigenous peoples in the area. To ensure the validity of the history presented, the game’s texts and visuals were submitted to an evaluation committee.
The game covers the eastern portion of the Lower St. Lawrence region, crossing the river towards Tadoussac. The immersive spheres are natural or built environments that we visited and digitally replicated in 3D. Each location was remodelled to present a given era. Designers took inspiration from sources and studies, filling in gaps with their imagination as needed.
Natural locations were selected because they were visited and inhabited by First Nations peoples for millennia, well before Europeans arrived on the continent.
As for built locations, three heritage buildings were selected to recreate the universe that we hoped to depict. Grandfather Brisson’s office was created based on the digital model of two rooms in the Maison Louis-Bertrand in L’Isle-Verte. The general store is inspired by the L’Anse-à-Beaufils general store. The longhouse was created based on the one located at the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations of Wendake.
Objects that players collect illustrate different eras’ usages and cultures. They often serve as reminders of the era’s traditions and ingenuity. When these objects were not accessible in their complete form, we used replicas, or objects from other regions or eras. These objects were selected from personal or museum collections, and the studies consulted to document them are listed in their descriptions. As for the Remembrance book pages, this information is referenced in the footnotes.
The characters presented in the introduction exist in real life. Normand Brisson is the son of Claude Brisson, who created the scale model of the village of Sainte-Blandine in 1981, with help from his two brothers. Brisson’s two grandchildren, Laura and William, are played by two high schoolers from Rimouski.
Names of and Respect for Indigenous Peoples
The names used to designate different Indigenous people in the St. Lawrence estuary have changed dramatically over the centuries. Many nations have reappropriated their ethonyms over the years. These most recent changes are reflected in the game.
By no means did we wish to show a lack of respect towards First Nations by using outdated names or references with pejorative connotations. The presence of names from other eras or of foreign origins in the game’s texts or voice-overs serves only to preserve the authors’ copyrights. These texts are part of history and were written in this way. Their inclusion does not imply that the game’s creators agree with the occasionally disparaging or colonialist tone used by the authors of that era.
The author of the history book pages and videos is a supporter of the vocabulary used by Serge Bouchard when writing or speaking about his Indigenous friends and brothers in his book The Laughing People. To paraphrase Bouchard, we won’t necessarily change the world by changing our words. Our intentions in describing or depicting the human beings presented in REMEMBRANCE were free of any contempt.