'I want it to be disgustingly Canadian': New video game will let you roam Toronto as a raccoon
TORONTO -- Do you feel like you’ve binged every series worth streaming? Has the latest lockdown exhausted all your indoor entertainment options? A video game, which is currently being developed, will let you skirt provincial stay-at-home orders while wandering the streets as a raccoon.
“Raccoons resonate with people. Everyone in the city has a raccoon story,” said Jason Leaver, describing the inspiration behind his work-in-progress game.
The 43-year old Scarborough resident is a filmmaker by trade, best known for an award-winning web series titled “Out With Dad.”
When movie sets shut down in the first wave of the pandemic, Leaver decided to dabble in coding. He’s been honing his debut video game, with a working title of Trash Panda, since February.
“You are going to walk around a neighbourhood that I'm modelling after typical Toronto neighbourhoods,” Leaver told CTV News Toronto.
“It’s garbage night, the raccoon’s favourite night of the week, and you are going to try and knock over as many garbage cans as you can. Sometimes you'll find food in there, so you'll get a chance to eat something. And that is the extent of the game thus far. You’re making a mess, and, and hopefully finding some goodies to eat.”
While the game is currently in its beta testing stages with a pending release date, Leaver says he’s already gotten world-wide feedback following gameplay progress posts on his social media accounts.
“A lot of people have been like ‘shut up and take my money.’ I’d like to add some garbage trucks with retractable claws. I want it to be disgustingly Canadian. So maybe the hero raccoon will have a tux. I've actually been working on a little AI raccoon, so it would be sort of like the your nemesis, maybe you want to race against another raccoon who is also knocking over garbage bins. I’m still new to game development, so maybe I make it free, maybe I make it 99 cents. It’s still a hobby project at this point.”
Canada’s largest city has a storied history with the destructive, yet adorable animals. In 2015 Mayor John Tory declared war on the critters, unveiling raccoon resistant garbage bins to the tune of $31 million dollars.
Earlier this year Toronto residents were warned to avoid raccoons at all costs, following a surge in attacks by the animals, which are known to carry rabies.
Given the city’s love-hate relationship with its unofficial mascot, a key narrative question lingers. Are we rooting for the game’s raccoon to wreak havoc? True to his filmmaking roots, Leaver lets the audience decide.
“I love that old saying how, in every movie, the villain believes they're the hero in their stories. So I mean, you're playing as the protagonist, how you use your powers as a raccoon is up to you.”