This War of Mine is a game about the struggles of surviving during war and the hardships one must face. It is a very real game, meant to make the players empathize with those unlucky people who have to actually live it. The player controls a group of survivors in a makeshift shelter and must manage resources as well as the mood of their characters. One noticeable absence among the survivors that the player must take care of are children. With the upcoming DLC This War of Mine: The Little Ones 11bit plans to rectify that in a subtle but powerful way.
The developers over at 11bit have decided to add their own kids into the game. This isn’t the first time 11bit has done something like this, in fact as said by Pawel Miechowski in the Dev Dairy (which you can check out below),
All characters in This War Of Mine are based on real people…on our friends, our family members.
So while this may be nothing new, for 11bit at least, this does add an extra profound layer of meaning to a game about the horrors of war.
In an interview with Gamasutra , Lead Designer Pawel Miechowski and Design Director Michal Drozdowski talked about the experience. Pawel had this to say about seeing his own kid in the game,
During development, we didn’t necessarily see this as anything extraordinary…But later I saw my daughter in the game – she was a sick and wounded child (in the game) and then I felt the digital world extended beyond itself to reality. I felt like it could be more real than just a digital experience.Developing this game made me think about war more often anyway, and This War of Mine: The Little Ones just strengthened that.
In terms of gameplay, functionally children act the same as adults. They have a mood meter that the player must manage but according to Michal Drozdowski, it acts differently to their adults counterpart.
[Children] have completely different attitude for judging the in-game events. For them it’s a lot more important what’s happening inside the house (the shelter), especially with their relatives or protectors. That changes the balance of the gameplay.
While children cannot die, they can be lost. According to Miechowski, this was done as a way to subtly provoke the feeling of loss without having to spill blood. That the point of the game is to put you in the position of a person that needs to survive and present you with the choices that those people would need to make.