A video game set amid the resistance to Adolf Hitler's war machine and played globally 24/7 will pause for 60 seconds today to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War II's Warsaw Uprising.
Enemy Front, created by Polish game studio CI Games, will halt at 1 p.m. Eastern, coinciding with an annual minute of silent remembrance held in Polish cities.
The Warsaw Uprising was a two-month effort by Polish freedom fighters to evict Nazi invaders, but the hard-fought rebellion suffered from a lack of support by the Soviet Union's nearby Red Army. Thousands of Polish fighters were killed, as were more than 150,000 civilians, many of whom were slaughtered in mass executions such as the Wola massacre.
The action in Enemy Front, a first-person shooter released a month ago, takes place among WWII resistance groups, with the Warsaw Uprising providing a major focus.
During the game's freeze today, players will be directed to ItWasntAGame.com to learn more about the uprising. They will also be encouraged to share that knowledge on social media. The site will stream a two-minute film that shows footage of modern Warsaw's automobile and pedestrian traffic coming to a standstill as sirens wail and the residents remember the sacrifices of the past. McCann Worldgroup in Poland devised the campaign.
"We hope that through this event, we can help the world understand the importance of that fateful day in Warsaw and why it is important to honor the memory of all those who fell in combat, helping us to achieve freedom," explains CI Games CEO Marek Tyminski.
Some might criticize the maker of a violent video game for tying a promotion to an event with such deep significance. I find it refreshing, even brave, to give players historical context, reminding them of the title's basis in history, when there was no reset button, and the stakes of the "game" were life and death.