“This War Of Mine” is a game that provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. For the very first time you do not play as an elite soldier, but as a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout. At night you get a chance to scavenge nearby locations for items that will help you stay alive.
“This War Of Mine” skirts these obstacles by dropping the soldier protagonists and instead puts the player in control of a group of civilians trying to survive an urban conflict in a fictional war based on real-life accounts. To capture what war is like from a civilian perspective, developer 11 Bit Studios, based out of Warsaw, Poland, is researching everything from YouTube videos and interviews on Amnesty International to books about the Kosovo War in the late ’90s.
“Everything you can see in the game is a translation of real facts into game mechanics,” Pawel Miechowski, senior writer on This War Of Mine, told Ars Technica during a recent preview demo. “We’re still doing research about real conflicts in Sarajevo, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, all the modern conflicts.”
“My grandmother, she passed away a few years ago, long before I started to think about this project, but I can recall her talking about really similar experiences [to those we’re trying to capture in the game] during the Nazi occupation,” he continued. “That you need to stay with your family, you need to support one another.”
Pawel Miechowski was asked about the possible threat of rape in the game, a serious wartime reality if ever there was one. It’s well documented that Serbian forces used rape as a tactic to inspire ethnic Albanians to flee Kosovo, and sexual violence has been one of the worst weapons used against civilians during war for millennia.
“There are some things that we should cover, but then again the experience is already horrible itself, in terms of on an emotional level, so I’m not sure if we should add such [topics] as rape,” said Miechowski.