We’ve all played war games. War games where we are the hero, the soldier thwarting terrorist or overcoming fascist regimes. We’ve seen some horrific scenes within these titles but essentially all of them glorify war. After all you get to play the hero who overcomes impossible odd. Yes there are loses along the way but once the game is finished you feel a sense of accomplishment. This War of Mine, developed by 11 Bit Studios (who brought you Anomaly), intends to change your perception on war and show you the true horrors of conflict.
With the tagline “In war, not everyone is a soldier,” you can surmise that you won’t be on the front lines, laying waste to those ruthless terrorist. As seen in the very moving trailer, This War of Mine focuses on the innocent people trapped in the war zones. You will play one of those innocent people caught in a besieged city.
The Polish studio describe what the game is about and what inspired them to undertake such a harrowing project;
During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, offering players time to craft, trade, upgrade their shelter, feed and cure their people. At night they must scavenge nearby areas in search for food, medicines, weapons and other useful items.
This War of Mine was inspired by real-life events and delivers a message. “This can happen in your city, in your country,” Michal Drozdowski, lead designer, said. “While designing a new game, we came across an article that described how one man survived in a besieged city.
We learned about his hardships and the horror of that experience. We decided to work around this idea and make something real, something that moves people and make them think for a second. It’s about time that games, just like any other art form, start talking about important things.”
This War of Mine hopes to make audiences realise that war is a very real possibility. The setting is unknown and that is intentional. This War of Mine could be set in Warsaw 1944 or Gaza modern day, because for 11 Bit Studios’ Michal Drozdowski war is essentially the same no matter where the conflict is set or the reasons behind it, and the team believe no matter how safe you feel in your own country war is a very real possibility. In a recent interview with Polygon Drozdowski said;
“You always hear that war is never coming, you always live in that feeling…..Until it comes.”
“You don’t believe that your world is going to change,” he continues. “When you read about the Second World War, they had exactly that same feeling: War is not going to happen…..It came anyway.”
11 Bit Studios’ tale is inspired by real events. The hours of research that the studio poured into finding real life accounts from civilians caught in a war zone. The horrors are nothing you could ever really conceive. Some of these events feature in the game. The sick were kicked from shelters for needing too much food only to vomit it back up. Moonshine was pretty much the only currency that could be traded for weapons or, more importantly, medicine.
Drozdowski concluded with, “Sometimes we came across situations that are so hard to imagine that we are even afraid to put it in the game, afraid we might be told by our players that this never happened.”
To add to that sense of reality, that the game could be set anywhere, they asked people off the street to come into the studio, wearing whatever they happened to be that day, and with the help of the Kinect, the studio scanned them to create 3D models to use in the game. This technique was partly due to budget costs but the effect meant that 11 Bit Studios could capture the legs, torso and heads separately to create numerous combinations of people and create a whole population.
Whilst the studio’s message is clear, that this is a game purely about the realities of war and not a political statement, the conflict in the East of Europe clearly has had a telling effect on the team. In Polygon’s interview, when the subject of Russia is approached, the room fell silent. Once again adding fuel to the fire that war, no matter how much we can convince ourselves that it will never happen, could easily fall on our doorstep at any moment.
This War of Mine is coming sometime in 2014 for PC & MAC. Pre-order now exclusively from Games Republic store to receive a 10% discount off your copy, usually $19.99 but with discount only $17.99.