Experiences people actually went through.
We’ve seen plenty of zombie apocalypses and various other cataclysms, but rarely do games make us consider the real-world events that can cause a society to erupt into total anarchy. Taking inspiration from “One Year in Hell” and other stories like it, 11 Bit Studios crafted a PC game about surviving and depending on others to help you. And because of it’s randomized nature, each player will come out of it with a different story to tell.
While the actual cause of the SHTF world in This War of Mine remains obscure, each player begins the game with three survivors who have recently taken shelter in a house that’s seen better times. During the day, each person must be instructed to perform various tasks, such as exploring the house for materials, building useful tools, or just eating to survive. For example, it can be risky to eat any raw meat you find, but if you construct a small stove you can cook it and get a more satisfying and filling meal out of it.
When darkness falls, the residents can each be assigned to sleep, guard the home, or run out to scavenge. Your choices will determine if your group even survives the night. If someone is sent out to scavenge the gameplay is similar to the day, though run-ins with other survivors ensure that your scavenger may not make it back alive. Producer Marek Ziemak entered the home of an old couple, and just to demonstrate, he turned to punching the husband, causing them to run into the basement while he stole all their stuff.
I, on the other hand, foolishly started rummaging through a home occupied by a man with a gun, and he shot down my guy quickly. The following day, the other two men in the house were severely depressed by the loss, not to mention one of them was injured from a break-in that occurred on that fateful night. Along with persistent characteristics that determine each survivor’s usefulness, they develop temporary issues, such as hunger, sadness, and injury. Depression was particularly vexing, causing my two survivors to lose the will to even feed themselves.
It’ll be interesting to see where 11 Bit Studios takes This War of Mine. Compared to other survival games, where the player usually controls his own avatar, controlling three (or more) survivors, each with unique personality traits and abilities, a more dynamic narrative can emerge from in-game days of continuous play. I barely lasted six days with my fumbling around, but careful players could potentially live through years in this game's special brand of Hell.