Skip to main content

Montreal designer creating video game set in the October Crisis

A small Montreal video game company is developing a new game set during the 1970 October Crisis.

The company has received a boost of support through a Kickstarter campaign and is hoping to become the first local gaming company to focus entirely on storylines from Quebec.

Cauchemars d'Octobre is a first-person point-and-click game set in a working-class Montreal neighbourhood during the crisis when soldiers patrolled the streets searching for Quebec deputy premier Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross, who were kidnapped by the FLQ.

It is a period in Quebec history that game designer Olivier Leclaire finds fascinating.

"I'm attracted to what the average Quebecois was feeling during this time of fear," said Leclaire. "They didn't know if the police would come knock at their door at 2 a.m. the next day to take them away. It was a time of fear, and my goal is to represent this fear through horror symbolism."

In the game, characters are plagued by recurring nightmares, there's a monster, and people start to mysteriously disappear. The player has to investigate.

While the game explores the background of the crisis, Leclair said the kidnappings and Westmount bombings come up but are never shown.

A newsboy holds up a newspaper with a banner headline reporting the invoking of the War Measures Act, in Ottawa, Oct. 16, 1970 the first time Canada had invoked the act in peacetime. The act was put into effect following the kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte by the terrorist FLQ. An author of Quebec's high-school history textbooks casts the federal government as the main villain of the October Crisis 40 years ago, disputes that Pierre Laporte was murdered, and defends the terrorist FLQ whose victims were, he says, mere “collateral damage” in the greater cause of independence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Bregg

The game is Leclaire's second. The first - Whispering Valley - explores the history of Catholicism in Quebec.

"Our Catholic background is not that great," he said. "I wanted to represent what it was to live under the Catholic institutions at the end of the 19th century."

Leclaire surpassed his fundraising goal for "Cauchemars D'Octobre" and hopes to become the first company in Quebec to make games about La Belle Province.

"If you look at Japan, videogames are their number one cultural export, and they express their culture through videogames," he said. "Here in Quebec, we mostly do American games for the American target, and I think it's a missed opportunity not to do games about Quebec."

The game is still several years away from being played in living rooms across the province. Top Stories

Stay Connected