There's no easy way to deal with grief, or to effectively convey loss in a way that feels genuine or tasteful, while still keeping an audience entertained. However, Swedish independent developer Simon Karrlson is aiming to do just that with an upcoming title called A Song for Viggo. This game, which is currently in the last stretch of its Kickstarter campaign, will offer players a realistic look into the aftermath of a terrible tragedy and a parent's worst nightmare.
Players will assume the role of Steve, a father who has accidentally killed his young son, the game's titular character, and must go on living with the consequences of what he's done. The game will also focus on Viggo's mother, Karen, who has fallen into a deep depression following his death, as well as his sister Sarah. The game's first chapter has the player planning Viggo's funeral, which they will have to do alone, as Karen has occupied her time with playing the piano (the game's sole source of background music).
Visually, the entire game is made from papercraft, though it's presented quite differently from the colorful landscapes of Tearaway. A Song for Viggo uses mostly white paper for its character models and in-game objects, something that Karrlson states is a direct contrast to the game's dark subject matter. The game also utilizes practical effects for lighting, as well as stop-motion animation, giving the game an almost surreal nature. Honestly, we've never seen anything quite like A Song for Viggo.
The game itself will be a point-and-click adventure, which will have players exploring the town that the family lives in, as well as approximately 40 other locations. Various choices will present themselves throughout the game, and will effect how the story plays out. Karrlson has emphasized that these choices won't present themselves openly as binary options for the player to pick from, but will come naturally through the game's narrative. As much of the game's focus rests on Steve and Karen's marriage, it only makes sense that quite a bit of effort has been put into this aspect of the game. In preparation for this title, Karrlson has interviewed parents that have lost children, including some who may have accidentally found themselves in a very similar situation to Steve.
It's one of my goals with the game; to bring their stories to you, to make people who may be in this situation – trying to maintain their everyday life in the wake of a disaster – feel that they are not alone. It is a story that tries to discuss things we don't normally talk to each other about. It is an investigation of the nature of depression – one of the world's main public diseases. And it is, indeed, about a simple fact: Even after the end, everything continues.
Karrlson, who is acting as the game's sole artist, composer, writer and programmer, will utilize the money from this Kickstarter campaign to dedicate his time and effort to the project. So far, A Song for Viggo has raised almost $13,000 of its $20,000 goal, with only nine days left. If funded, A Song for Viggo is set to release for PC, Mac and Linux, with Android and iOS versions to come with additional stretch goals.