In most war games, players are out for blood. But a soon-to-be-released game from 11 Bit Studios turns that shoot 'em up convention on its head.
In This War of Mine, survival is the only goal. By day, your group of civilians hides from snipers. By night, you sneak out for building supplies and medicine, or contrive ways to capture rainwater for drinking.
The game, which will be available on mobile, Mac, PC, and Linux, is about the difficult moral choices people make every day in the face of violence-induced scarcity. "Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them in order to prevail," says the press release, "there are no good or bad decisions during war."
To calibrate the options available to their players, game designers studied accounts from Syria and Sarajevo. They also talked with an American soldier who had been in Fallujah.
"While designing a new game," lead designer Michal Drozdowski explained in a blog post, he and his team read a viral online account called "One Year in Hell," written by a Bosnian about his life in the early 1990s. "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 makes them think for a second. It's about time that games, just like any other art form, start talking about important things."