'Save Lives Instead Of Taking Them': Fortnite And The Red Cross Form Unlikely Partnership

It's a game of cartoonish violence and wild fighting, but now it's helping teach young people about important human rights issues.

Fortnite, one of the most popular video games in the world, has added a new playing mode in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The 'Liferun' mode sees players eschew the game's regular fighting and violence, and instead embark on the type of missions that Red Cross workers carry out in dangerous conflict zones.

The game mode challenges players to race dune buggies to distribute important civilian aid, heal the injured, defuse land mines, and rebuild infrastructure such as schools.

The ICRC said the game mode was aimed at teaching gamers to "save lives instead of taking them".

"Video games have been mainstream entertainment and social platforms for a long time, and we know that many gamers are also current, past or future soldiers, army officers, armed group members, CEOs of companies, lawyers and political leaders," said the ICRC's Jennifer Hauseman.

"We need to talk to them in a smart and engaging way to explain that civilians suffer greatly in conflict."

The playing mode was launched at a gaming conference in Texas on Monday, with three of Fortnite's most popular players -- including Australian gamer Lachlan Power -- on hand to demonstrate and support the initiative.

"In video games, wars don't always have limits. But did you know that real wars do?" the ICRC said on its website.

"There are rules protecting non-participants, prisoners and the wounded. These rules are set out in international humanitarian law. Yes, even wars have limits."

The ICRC website promoting the Fortnite collaboration shows how the game's modes compare to actual activities carried out by the Red Cross, including rebuilding critical infrastructure and delivering aid packages to vulnerable communities.

For those wanting to play the game, the Fortnite code is 1992-1013-9260.