A FRENCH video game is offering players the chance to become a virtual employee of steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal battling to keep a factory open.
The Kill Mittal game is loosely inspired by French workers' unsuccessful struggle against owner Lakshmi Mittal to prevent the closure of two furnaces at his steel plant based in the north eastern town of Florange.
After coming to power in 2012, French Prime Minister François Hollande had initially pledged to save jobs at the factory following the planned closures. However, Mr Hollande was eventually forced to back down because of the costs of reviving it, agreeing instead to another deal aimed at preventing staff layoffs by re-positioning workers.
French unions had initially reacted angrily to the closures by placing a gravestone marked ‘Betrayal’ next to the factory, although this was later removed, with the Socialist mayor saying: “We have the wrong adversary.” The struggle had become associated with the dismantling of France’s industrial sector, of which thousands of jobs have been lost over the last decade.
During the game, available for free on PC and Mac, players can attack police by throwing beams and cars although it does not feature any blood. Indian billionaire Mittal is also featured as a giant robot, and workers are expected to progress by rebelling against the virtual security forces.
Speaking to The Telegraph, independent video game maker Alexandre Grilletta said he was moved to create the software because he found the story “inspirational”.
“It was a good subject, like a fable or something. I had to decide on a theme, a hero and an evil boss, and I had just seen workers fighting for their jobs on TV and it was a really good subject, especially as they came from the same region I come from.“
Grilletta said that the game was not created to criticise the president, adding that: “I don't want to paint the French government in a bad light.”
The game’s opening sequence begins with: “2030, Mittal has taken hold of, and closed, the majority of steel factories worldwide, tossing out thousands of steelworkers.
“For these men tired of unfulfilled promises and repeated closures, when all mediation has failed, there is just one solution: Kill Mittal.”