Crab God’s Creative Director on Using Video Games for the Promotion of Real World Environmental Causes & Ocean Conservation

Into the deep blue sea

Chaos Theory Games’ Strategy Roguelike Crab God puts you in control of a colony of adorable crablings. In each run you’ll have to migrate into the ocean depths, fighting off threats on your pilgrimage. Along the way, players will attract a variety of sea creatures to their habitats, fight off a variety of threats, and contribute to real-world environmental causes. We spoke to Chaos Theory Games Executive Creative Director Nico King to find out more.

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Inside the World of Crab God

Twinfinite’s Lewis Rees (LR): Why did you decide on crabs as the stars of your game?

Chaos Theory GamesNico King (NK): “The choice to feature crabs as the stars of Crab God really stemmed from our initial mechanics and setting. We were inspired by god games and strategy games with indirect control elements, and we wanted to create a game set in a coral reef ecosystem. So the initial design was focused on a colony of creatures building a coral reef. Crabs stood out as the obvious choice because they have so much personality and expressive features like their claws and eyes. Plus, they use tools, which really sealed the deal on them being the stars of our cute colony sim. 

It’s funny because there seems to be a wave of crab games emerging recently. We were even included in the SXSW Sydney awards showcase last year and were nominated in the Best Crab category. It feels like crabs are becoming the natural endpoint of evolution in gaming!”

LR: What do you hope players will take away from Crab God?

NK: “We want players to be completely immersed in a beautiful, captivating, and almost alien underwater world. Our goal is to share our passion for the ocean and its ecosystems, and we hope players will fall in love with the Crablings and feel motivated to protect them. We’ve also included a real-world conservation component in the game, allowing players to decide which environmental causes to support. Ultimately, we want players to feel empowered to make a difference and leave with meaningful memories from their time with Crab God.”

Crab God night time temple of the tides
Image Source: Firesquid

LR: How can players raise funds for charitable causes in Crab God?

NK: “The donation system in Crab God is built into the initial purchase price. We have a feature called Eco Rewards that lets players choose specific charitable causes to support. Here’s how it works:

  • Chaos Theory Games and Firesquid commit 10% of our post-platform fee revenue from each sale of Crab God to ocean conservation initiatives.
  • By engaging with in-game activities, players unlock opportunities to choose where the 10% contribution goes. 
  • After receiving monthly revenue reports, we generate impact certificates detailing the specific impacts achieved and the number of players involved, such as kilograms of plastic removed or the number of coral polyps planted. Players receive in-game notifications about these certificates and can see links to where the impact was performed.”

LR: How did the idea to use Crab God to raise funds for environmental causes come about?

NK: “We’ve always aimed to create games that positively impact both players and the world around us. There have been games that support charitable causes in the past, but we wanted to make it as interactive as possible and involve the player in the journey. Given that video games are the biggest entertainment industry in the world, we see enormous potential for our industry to drive positive change. Games are an interactive medium and there is so much room to innovate on real-world integrations like this.”

LR: How did you select the five causes players can contribute to in Crab God?

NK: “All of the causes in Crab God are linked to ocean conservation. We’ve partnered with, a tool that supports a wide range of conservation actions (if you are a developer interested in this space we would encourage checking them out). This integration made it possible for us to make the impact features an interactive component of the game. Without, we wouldn’t have been able to make these features as engaging and impactful.

Players can choose to support the following causes – Saving baby sea turtles, cleaning up ocean plastic, propagating corals, protecting marine habitats, and planting trees.”

LR: Has the reaction from players met your expectations so far?

NK: “The reaction has been fantastic! We launched last week and already have a Very Positive rating on Steam, with heaps of reviews highlighting the Eco Rewards feature. It’s clear that environmental conservation is a cause close to many players’ hearts, and they appreciate being able to support it through a fun and engaging game. 

Watching streamers and content creators play Crab God has been incredibly rewarding, especially seeing how attached they become to the Crablings. It’s amazing to see people fall in love with something we’ve poured so much passion into.”

LR: What else can players do to help the environment?

NK: “Beyond playing the game and engaging with its impact features, we encourage everyone to research and support ocean conservation organizations like PADIThe Reef-World FoundationThe Ocean CleanupCitizens of the Great Barrier ReefMarine Conservation SocietyBlue Marine Foundation, and Sea Changers.

Additionally. we have received a grant from Unity for Humanity which has allowed us to expand the scope of the impact features within the game. We will be releasing some updates over the coming months with more community-focused impact features, so stay tuned for more news!”

LR: A quick fun one, what is your favorite marine animal?

NK: “As a kid, I probably would have said polar bears because they’re big and impressive (I had very sophisticated taste as a child haha). Now, I’d have to say the mantis shrimp – They can snap their claws so fast they create shockwaves to stun their prey, even producing plasma from the speed of their punch. Plus, they have some of the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, allowing them to see ultraviolet, visible, and polarised light.”

Want to get the most out of Crab God? Here are our picks for the best perks and blessings in the game.

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Lewis Rees
Lewis is an author and journalist based in Wales. His first novel, Wander, came out in 2017. Lewis is passionate about games, and has travelled to events worldwide to host and present panels at games conferences. In his spare time he loves reading, writing, and escape rooms.