keyboard, controller and headphones

Doctoral project: Playing Animal

How are animal perspectives produced in computer games? And how does it affect the players?

Project information

Project name
Playing Animal: Player experiences of non-human beings and climate emergency futures in video games
Doctoral student
Matilda Davidsson
Jørgen Bruhn
Assistant supervisor
Jason Hawreliak, Brock University, Canada
Aug 2021–Oct 2025
Comparative literature (Department of Film and Literature, Faculty of Arts and Humanities)

More about the project

This project aims to demonstrate how animal narratives in video games are used to decentralise human perspectives. Through a multimodal analysis method, it is investigated how the separate aspects of the game (the modes) are configured to portray non-human perspectives, and thus decentralise the human, in order to create awareness and a sense of care for non-human beings.

Through the unique affordances of the video game medium, issues like loss of habitat, biodiversity, and extinction as well as multispecies connections can be explored. This approach is supplemented by an investigation into the para text of the case study games, using digital research tools for a distant reading analysis of game reviews and other player created content online.

The project is part of the research in the Linnaeus University Centre for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies (IMS) research group.