War is no stranger to video gaming. We get to play the soldier all the time in nearly every first person shooter made today. 11-bit Studios, however, are taking their game, This War of Mine, along a different path. Their tagline says it all: “In war, not everyone is a soldier.” Based upon interviews and stories of real survivors of war, This War of Mine shows players what it’s like to live as an ordinary citizen surrounded by the horrors of war. As the soldiers outside your doors and walls wage battle, the only thing you have to do is survive by any means necessary.
Told in a 2D, point and click, side-scrolling, black and white manner, This War of Mine is a poignant tale of conscience meets survival. What will you do to live? Could you choose who lives and who dies? Like the real life story of a young girl brought into a war hospital and placed in a bed next to an elderly woman. The doctors only had enough medicine to save one of them and they had to choose between the two. The little girl awoke beside a deceased old lady because the doctors had to made the hard call and decided she had many more years ahead of her. These are the kinds of decisions that are continuously made during times of war and this is what This War of Mine hopes to show players.
Unlike other survival games, in This War of Mine, the day is when you stay indoors as the war rages on outside. When the sun sets, this is when you can venture outside to scavenge for food and supplies. This is when it is safe to move about as the war subsides in the darkness. Here, players will be faced with the decision of who should be sent out to scavenge for supplies, who will rest, and who will stand guard. One wrong move could mean the death of someone in your camp. During the scavenging, players need to keep a watch on the ever moving clock to make sure they are back to camp before sunrise, or they may be caught in the continuing war. Other survivors can be found during the night, but not all of them may be friendly. There is no battle in This War of Mine, only decisions. Decisions that could mean the life or death of you or your companions.
We see war in video games all the time. We get to play the hero. The soldier. We get to pick up the weapons and send a barrage of fire power along the enemy lines. But that isn’t reality. If war like what ravaged Europe in WWII ever touched our land, we wouldn’t be the soldiers. We would be living one day at a time, looking for food, medicine, supplies and a place to sleep. We wouldn’t have unlimited weapons and ammunition to fight the enemy. All we would have is each other. And we would have to live with the decisions we make. This is what 11-bit Studios is hoping to show us. This War of Mine is a true tale of war survival. Do you have what it takes to survive a war outside your own walls?