A new Minecraft game launched last week aims to engage young people on flood risk, climate change, farming and biodiversity.

Rivercraft 2, produced by a partnership of the Environment Agency, Microsoft and developer BlockBuilders, follows on from the original game rolled out in April of 2022 and based on the £54.7 million flood risk management scheme in Preston and South Ribble.

The in-game Preston world represented the first use of artificial intelligence to map a region and convert it into an interactive Minecraft map.

Rivercraft 2 is a continuation of this project, now based in generic urban and rural worlds rather than a specific location with the aim of making it applicable to all.

The suite comprises the following three games: 

  • Game 1 – Nature-based solutions, where the player has to use natural methods to reduce flood risk, including by restoring rivers, building ponds and helping beavers to build their dam;  
  • Game 2 – Farming, irrigation and drought, where the player has to find the right balance of water use, leafy crops and cover crops for a successful harvest and to ensure wildlife survives during a drought;  
  • Game 3 – Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and water efficiency in the home, where the player has to construct sustainable urban drainage features to reduce surface water flooding and complete tasks around a typical home to reduce water use. 

John Curtin, Environment Agency chief executive, said the game is an “amazing opportunity” for young people to learn about flooding, the environment and climate resilience in a “really fun and interactive way”.

“We know that climate anxiety is a real issue for young people, so we hope these games not only help to educate but also inspire, by providing them with the skills and knowledge to take action and make a difference,” he said.

“We hope these games drive new interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as introducing the next generation to the brilliant career opportunities we have in the Environment Agency.

“Their creativity and talent are very much needed in our race for climate resilience. We can’t wait to see these games land, excite young people and connect them with their environment in new dynamic ways.”