'1979' Iran Revolution game envisioned as 'social political' title, with sandbox and strategy elements

1979: The Game is not much of a game yet. "For now, we do not have a demo to show," creator Navid Khonsari told Joystiq, when we inquired about the intriguing, and equally mysterious, project said to depict the Iran Revolution from various perspectives. 1979 made its surprise debut in a broad interview with Khonsari conducted by Russian network RT earlier this month. That debut consisted of little more than a logo (seen above) and some vague, conceptual discussion about the game.

Khonsari confirmed that 1979 is indeed a property of Ink Stories, his multimedia production company, but "we do have a number of partners, which I am not at liberty to mention," he noted. Currently, the game is "in development" -- meaning that the pre-production design is "locked down" -- and the developers are "working with a number of unique game engine prototypes in order to release this game simultaneously on a number of platforms." Khonsari added that this early development phase includes testing out "a number of different designs" for the gameplay.

"I would like to see 1979 as a console game with sandbox elements," he explained, without confirming that a console release would be definite. "In particular, we are creating three unique opening levels that allow the player to choose which way they want to get into Iran to free the hostages [at the US Embassy]." Khonsari added that the game's narrative would draw upon "historical truths of the time" and "will provide three, distinctive sandbox environments."

Khonsari described 1979 as a "social political game" that, in addition to open-world, sandbox environments, could feature "strategy elements with the use of AI combatants." Once in Iran, additional player-controlled characters would be introduced, "allowing you the ability to play a number of different roles," he added of the game's lofty design goals. And he wasn't finished: "The multiplayer aspect is something I am really excited about, but is still in the works." (No kidding.)

As improbable as it may seem for all of these elements to come together into a marketable game (the purposeful ambiguity of who's "good" or "bad" in 1979 sounds novel, but it's also risky), Khonsari is no stranger to seeing challenging and innovative projects through to the end -- he's had his hand in Grand Theft Auto 3, Bully and Alan Wake, to name a few. "We are on course to self-publish," he declared, "but the interest from third parties has been overwhelming, so we are weighing those options."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.