Though it may not directly address an issue like Team Dragon’s asthma treatment game, WickedTeam’s entry into the XNA Game Development competition was certainly the most technically impressive game on display here at Imagine Cup, particularly coming from a team of only three students.

FireFighters: Whatever it Takes is a real time strategy game for Windows designed to raise awareness about forest fire safety. While the educational aspect is important, what’s particularly impressive is the fact that it looks like it was developed by Blizzard, not a group of students.  While FireFighters might not reach as many hearts and minds as Smokey Bear, it looked to be by far the most commercially-viable game at the competition.

The goal of the game is, unsurprisingly, to put out a forest fire using the myriad of tools at your disposal. The player can deploy firefighters, firetrucks, paramedics, retardant-dispersing planes, and even Chuck Norris in an attempt to stop the flames, and purchase upgrades using in-game currency to give them a fighting chance. By the time the game hits the market, the team hopes to have incorporated helicopters and paratrooper-style smokejumpers into the game, which is nothing if not badass. All the while, the player must be finding sources of water, building firebreaks with abandoned bulldozers, and rescuing helpless campers surrounded by the flames.

The game is built on a custom 3D engine, and the graphics are drop-dead gorgeous. The advanced water effects, flame animations, and lighting details are on par with big-budget RTS games like Starcraft, which are developed over several years by hundreds of full-time employees. In fitting with the theme of the competition, the game features an expansive educational section with information about firefighting techniques, historical forest fires, and even realtime updates of ones currently burning.

I highly encourage you to check out their two minute video on the Imagine Cup website, because  unfortunately I can’t embed it. Keep an eye out, because this one may very well be on store shelves soon.

UPDATE: WickedTeam finished third in the XNA category. Have to say I’m surprised they weren’t higher.