Windsor

'It's fairly accurate': Video game shows predicted look of Gordie Howe bridge

'Detroit: Become Human,' a video game set two decades in the future, features an imagined depiction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which has yet to be built.

'People are looking forward to the future'

Set in the future, 'Detroit: Become Human' features the Gordie Howe bridge, which has yet to be built. (Quantic Dream)

If you've played Detroit: Become Human, developed by Paris-based Quantic Dream, then you might have caught a glimpse of the Windsor skyline from Detroit. 

It includes a conceptualization of the Gordie Howe International Bridge — situated opposite to the Ambassador Bridge — in the background in the game's later levels.

Though the Gordie Howe bridge has yet to be built, it appears to be a largely faithful representation of what the bridge is expected to look like once it's completed.

"It's fairly accurate," said Mark Butler, Director of Communications for Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA).

"Generally, the description of the bridge as a cable-stayed and the size of it ... is a fair representation." 

Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority spokesperson Mark Butler says he's pleased to see people are looking forward to the new Gordie Howe bridge. (Melissa Nakhavoly/CBC)

Butler said bridge progress is still in the planning stages, and the developers of the game did not have any interaction with the organization.

"I think they've taken a bit of an artistic license, if you will."

Despite the bridge's accuracies, Butler said the game didn't capture the full details of the bridge — like how the WDBA plans on lighting the bridge.

'Postcard material'

Butler said doesn't approve of the violent nature of the game, but he's pleased to see people are looking forward to the new Gordie Howe bridge.

"People are looking forward to the future. [It's] literally changing the landscape of Windsor and Detroit. It's going to be monumental," he said.

'Detroit: Become Human' features the Ambassador Bridge opposite to the Gordie Howe International Bridge. (Quantic Dream)

Developing a game like Detroit: Become Human, takes years, according to Cal Wasylowich, professor and coordinator at the animation program at St. Clair College.

He, along with another animation professor, created a mock version of the Gordie Howe bridge — based off of renderings available online — as part of a virtual reality experience project in partnership with the college.

Planning is key

Wasylowich says the planning stage is crucial, especially when developing a video game of this quality and complexity.

"If you don't plan it, then, in my own personal opinion, the games don't usually work out. Planning is kind of key to keep everything on track, so you don't get derailed," said Wasylowich.

He added that it would take significant work to change any details when the game is in its production stage.

A render of the Gordie Howe International Bridge. (Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority)

Wasylowich said it's "neat" to see a video game set in his hometown.

"You don't see too many video games based off of Detroit and or Windsor ... It's usually Los Angeles or something like that," he said, adding video games have come a long way and that people should pay attention to "the imagination and creative process it takes to bring any one of these games to life."

Once completed, Butler said the Gordie Howe bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, measuring 2.5 kilometres in length.

With an expected lifespan of 100 years, the Gordie Howe International Bridge is set to enter service by the end of 2024.

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