Post-apocalyptic survival game designed in Germany gets players to hunt for rooibos

12 February 2024 - 13:09
By TimesLIVE
Rooibos has made it into a virtual reality survival game called 'Enshrouded'.
Image: Supplied Rooibos has made it into a virtual reality survival game called 'Enshrouded'.

South Africa's iconic rooibos plant features as one of the resources players must find to survive in a virtual game realm designed by a German-based gaming developer.

The action-packed survival game Enshrouded was launched by Keen Games via early access for Windows PC users on January 24, and the developer said it has attracted more than a million users.

An illustration of what the rooibos shrub looks like in 'Enshrouded'.
Image: Supplied An illustration of what the rooibos shrub looks like in 'Enshrouded'.

Players awake as the Flameborn, the last hope of an ancient civilisation. Set against them is the Shroud, a creeping blight that absorbs and mutates all life it encounters.

To push back the Shroud and bring life back to the kingdom, the Flameborn must master powerful weapons, spells and armour while fighting merciless creatures.

Players can use their creativity to build bases and epic homes to the most minute detail while unlocking unique items and crafting mythical weapons.

To survive, resources such as wood, stone, metal, leather cloth and other rare materials are collected by either looting chests, crates and containers or harvesting trees and rare plants such as rooibos.

While difficult to come by in the game, the rooibos shrub is obtainable in the “Nomad Highlands region" and looks like it would in spring when it is in full bloom and covered in tiny yellow flowers. Users can craft its seed to create a plantation or make a cup of tea.

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the Rooibos Council, said they’re thrilled new audiences are encountering the plant in the virtual world.

“The inclusion of rooibos in Enshrouded has come as a complete surprise and is sure to drive rooibos’ visibility and reach new demographics. Gaming has gone from a niche hobby to one of the biggest markets in the entertainment industry with more than 3-billion gamers worldwide," she said.

“Incorporating authentic products such as rooibos into a game often contributes to a more immersive gaming experience, particularly where real-world items are integral to the gameplay and are contextually relevant."

The South African brew makes up about 10% of the tea Germans drink.

Last year, almost 10,000 tonnes of rooibos were exported to more than 40 overseas markets with Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK making up the top five importers of the product.

Enshrouded is available on STEAM and GeForce and is set to be released in late 2024 for Windows PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S.