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This War of Mine mobile photo
This War of Mine mobile

This War of Mine now available on Android and iOS tablets

Take this war with you
Jul 15
// Darren Nakamura
Released late last year for PC, This War of Mine provided a thoughtful perspective on war in a video game. Rather than focusing on the glory of battle and how cool it feels to land a headshot on a bad dude, it looks at the l...
The War of Mine photo
The War of Mine

This War of Mine DLC exists solely to help the kids

Doing good through games
Mar 10
// Brett Makedonski
This War of Mine takes a look at a part of conflict that videogames rarely explore: that of those who aren't fighting for a side, but just fighting to survive. It's a harrowing experience, one of the heaviest of 2014 to...

This War of Mine is a harrowing journey of survival

Oct 30 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]283152:56165:0[/embed] This War of Mine (Android, iOS, PC [previewed])Developer: 11 bit studiosPublisher: 11 bit studiosRelease Date: November 14, 2014 (PC) After a war breaks out in an unnamed country, the citizens of a city caught in the crossfire are left scattered and isolated from the outside world. With the collapse of society and law, survivors must fend for themselves while avoiding the raging conflict to live another day. But as the war grows increasingly hostile, desperation and despair become more apparent, and with the remnants of society out to get you or in need of help, you'll have to decide how far you and your allies are willing to go in order to survive. It's rare for a game to show this side of war, specifically the human cost of war. In other titles, the survivors would be background characters seen for only a brief moment, while the big and well-armed soldier you'd likely be playing as would make a small comment about them to show some humanity before going to mow down dozens of enemy soldiers. This is one aspect of war that the developers wanted to see more of, and having an experience from the side of powerless shows the unseen torment and misery absent from most other war games. "My brother, who's also the CEO [of 11 bit studios] brought me an article called 'One year in hell', and it's an interview with a guy who survived a siege of a city in Bosnia during the Yugoslavian wars in the early '90s -- and the end line of the interview is that 'when war breaks out, you are not prepared for it, and in war there are no good or bad guys, you have to do certain things in order to survive,'" said Pawel Miechowski, senior writer on This War of Mine. "We were so moved by this interview, that everyone on the team agreed that it would be great for our next game -- and it certainly evolved from a game to more of an experience." In order to survive in the war-torn city, you'll have to work together with your band of characters as they scavenge, build, defend, and support one another through the conflict. Your survival begins in an abandoned three-story shelter, and using the skills and know-how of your allies, you must keep it safe and stable enough for what's to come. At the beginning, you're given a random set of survivors with varying specialties and backgrounds. I started off with Pavle, a former football player; Bruno, a cook who knows how to handle resources; and Marko, a street hustler who can get in and out of scavenging missions quickly. During the day, your group must keep busy and manage the various areas of the shelter. Using supplies and resources found from scavenging, you have to decide what resources your allies need. Should they have a furnace to keep them warm? Or perhaps they need beds installed to sleep comfortably. What you choose to build is up to you, but putting off important necessities, such as a stove for cooking or a workbench to build weapons and support items, could lead to tragedy later on. During the night, other players can raid your shelter, and if you aren't prepared, bandits could take everything -- even the lives of your group. With constant threats around during the day, you'll have to wait for nightfall to venture on supply runs. Choosing the right person for the job, you can send them out to scout and scavenge the nearby ruins, meet traders, or find new allies. In most cases, you'll find abandoned homes littered with valuables and items used for crafting, but you'll encounter other people on occasions who have taken up residence in certain areas. And these folk are just like you. They're not bandits or marauders, just regular people protecting what's theirs from outsiders. Of course, what they have could help your crew out, and you have to decide if sneaking in and taking their stuff or stealing it by force is a better option than just simple trading. The tension is palpable, and with the unpredictability of the environment, one moment can change the fate of the survivors. For the first half hour, my characters were in relatively decent shape. They had food, medicine, and scavenged enough supplies to build stoves, radios, and workshops in the shelter. While they certainly weren't comfortable, they had food and shelter -- which was enough. But during a scavenge run with Pavle, things took a turn for the worst. After killing another scavenger in self-defense, he returned to the shelter a changed man. He became depressed, sick, and even began to openly consider suicide. Each character has their own biography, sort of like private diaries, and this recent event affected him greatly. This also affected the other survivors, as they were clearly disturbed by what he had done, and began to openly question his actions. "What you do has an influence on [the characters'] emotions," said Miechowski. "If you do something that goes against their beliefs or attitudes, they may get sad, depressed, or even suffer a nervous breakdown. We have an immense emotional layer." This War of Mine managed to really impress me with its way of illustrating moral ambiguity. As civilians caught up in a war they have no part of, they're left to scrounge and eek out a living in a hostile environment, all the while trying to preserve what dignity they have left. And with others needing to do the same, you're confronted with situations that call for tough choices, and often times you have to make a decision that will haunt you long after. With my group in dire straights, and in need of medicine, I sent the depressed David out to scavenge a seemingly abandoned home. Once he got there, he found out it was not abandoned; it was the home of an elderly couple. Their house was chock full of supplies, and with no defenses, I could have made out like a bandit. But I didn't. I felt terrible for the couple, who were frightened and asked me for mercy. While I felt I made the right decision, I soon paid for my good intentions by seeing my group's morale and health further deteriorate. It all came to a head when my shelter was raided during a supply run, and with only an ill Bruno and a depressed Pavle to guard it, they were easily picked off. The most tragic part about this event was that Marko had just come back from his best supply run yet, finding enough medicine, food, and guns to last for the days ahead. "The best thing I believe is that you are the moral judge," said Miechowski, "and because you're the storyteller, and your deeds create the consequences, the game expects you to live with your decisions." I don't regret leaving the elderly couple in peace, even if they possibly had medicine and food for my group, but I do wish I made better choices leading up to that defining event. It's moments like this, which are randomly occurring, that made This War of Mine feel unique and evocative. Morality during war is such an interesting subject for games to tackle, and it's incredibly refreshing to see a game that focuses on the survival of your allies as the meat of the experience, and not the shooting. I found a lot to like with This War of Mine. I was surprised to see how quickly I became attached to the characters, which made it difficult to see them go out so awfully. With its release next month, I feel that a lot of people yearning for a different kind of war game should sit up and take notice. We seldom get a war experience that's haunting and gut-wrenching as this.
This War of Mine photo
War through the eyes of the powerless
War, what is it good for? For starters, it makes for easy entertainment in fiction. With the rise of war games over the last two decades, it's common to see these experiences as nothing but an over-the-top spectacle to show o...

SteamWorld Dig photo
SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig will have a cross-buy discount in Europe, but not in North America

Nintendo of America is apparently to blame
Aug 27
// Chris Carter
SteamWorld Dig is hitting the Wii U on August 28th, and if you happen to live in the EU, AUS, or NZ regions, you'll get a 25% off discount for owning the 3DS version. But wait -- why isn't this cross-buy discount availab...

Wii U photo
Wii U

Steamworld Dig is better on the Wii U

Best of both worlds
Aug 25
// Caitlin Cooke
This isn’t the first rodeo for SteamWorld Dig -- the cute mining adventure game first arrived last year on the 3DS eshop, followed by a Steam release. Now it’s making a comeback to the Wii U this week on August 28...

Fight back against filthy human invaders in Anomaly Defenders

You play as the aliens this time
May 30
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Anomaly Defenders is now available through Steam and Games Republic for $9.99. This time the tower defense/offense/whatever sees you playing as the aliens, defending their homeworld from humans looking for revenge. This also...

Struggling to survive in This War of Mine

Apr 16 // Caitlin Cooke
I started out with three characters stationed in an abandoned, war-torn house. Each person brought a different strength to the table from their previous life -- i.e., the journalist was good with people and the firefighter fared better in combat. During the day, I had my characters cook food, build beds, and craft weapons to prepare for what the night would potentially bring.  Occasionally, traders would come to offer various goods but often wanted much more in return -- there was no such thing as an "easy" trade. I also had to be cognizant of how much time I was putting into trading -- a day timer loomed above my characters, their walking and crafting speed dropping the more worn down they became. Every night I had to decide who kept guard, who went out to scavenge at night, and who was lucky enough to catch some sleep. The decisions were easy at first, with the obvious thought that I'd pair everyone up to the task that matched their skill, but I found quickly that there is no "easy" part of war. Sleep deprivation, hunger, sickness, and serious wounds slowly brought my characters down, making it harder for them to do anything useful. At night I sent my scavenger off to collect resources from various buildings -- I could choose which structures to sneak into, but it was a gamble in terms of what (or who) I'd find. Stealth was a necessity, as people did not take kindly to me sneaking into their base and stealing their stuff. One night I had returned from a successful night of scavenging only to find that a troupe of bandits had sacked my own base and severely wounded one of my people. By the end of the of the sixth day my characters were all but dead. My journalist, despite the fact that she was sleeping most nights, had developed a sickness and hunger that probably wouldn't keep her alive much longer. My scavenger was defenseless since we had no materials to craft weapons, and the fireman had been beaten to a pulp during that random ambush. They gave me verbal cues letting me know that they wouldn't survive another day, and knowing that I had already failed them I put down the controller.  This War of Mine was an interesting commentary, despite its depressing and difficult nature. The mechanics were a tad difficult to grasp at first, but once I got the hang of it I felt much more comfortable. I'm looking forward to seeing how it evolves before it's released this year.
PAX photo
Stayin' alive has never been so hard
In a sea full of bright, action-packed games at PAX it was a surprise to see such a serious greyscale game like This War of Mine, an 11 bit studios title about life during war. Rather than placing the focus on combat as most ...

Anomaly photo

Anomaly trilogy to close with Anomaly Defenders

Third game features alien perspective
Apr 03
// Conrad Zimmerman
I loved the first two Anomaly games for how they turned traditional tower defense mechanics on their head to make something fun and different. I'm not so sure about the announcement of the series' final installment, rev...
11 bit studios photo
11 bit studios

Survive a war-torn city as a civilian in This War of Mine

From 11 bit studios
Mar 13
// Jordan Devore
Last we checked in with Anomaly maker 11 bit studios, The Witcher developers Maciej Szcześnik and Marek Ziemak had joined the company but weren't able to say what they were working on quite yet. One of the games in deve...
11 bit photo
11 bit

The Witcher 3 developers leave for 11 bit studios

Nice moves
Feb 06
// Jordan Devore
Two notable developers of The Witcher franchise, lead gameplay designer Maciej Szcześnik and gameplay producer Marek Ziemak, have left CD Projekt RED for 11 bit studios. Based out of Warsaw, Poland, the company is best k...

All of the 11 bit studios soundtracks are free today

Take them all
Jan 31
// Dale North
If you're like me and love to listen to game music, you'll be pleased to hear that 11 bit studios has released the soundtracks from all of its games for free. All of them, from the Anomaly franchise to Sleepwalker's Journey, composed by the talented Piotr Musial (Bulletstorm, The Witcher), are free for the taking today. What are you doing? Go!

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