War: an inevitable part of human existence. As long as humans exist, there will be some sort of war, battle, or conflict over one thing or another. In gaming, it’s no different. There are a slew of war games, the most popular of which having you portrayed as a stalwart hero who is going to help save the free world from various things like communism, Nazis, or just any sort of terrorists like people in general. The “general war story” for games are ways for us, as civilians, to live the “glory” of battle and to experience how exciting it is to be a soldier in a war. People buy into these experiences, hence the massive amount of money games like Call of Duty and Battlefield make whenever they are released.
In general, military-based games haven’t really felt the cold creeping hand of the “Subversive” storyline until recently. The most poignant of these storylines being in Spec Ops: The Line, where you are playing as the loyal soldier of the United States and have to do some very unsavory things in order to prove your loyalty to your cause. At first glance, Spec Ops looks like your run-of-the-mill run and gun shooter, so it went virtually unnoticed by the public; however, they turn the genre on its head by highlighting both the “good” and “bad” of being in a war situation as a soldier. It can be disturbing at times the things you had to do in the “name of your country”. In other genres, people will talk about the games that demolished all expectations or changed the story landscape as a whole, so why did a game like Spec Ops slip under the cracks? Was it bad marketing, showing the game as another generic shooter game, or was it something else?
Gamers, as a public, seem to be fickle to say the very least and, while they beg for innovation, they simultaneously curse those who change the formula of their games. Spec Ops fell under the radar for the most part, but what about a game that should change the very core of what a game in wartime is all about?
The game This War of Mine, developed by 11 Bit Studios, is a game that you don’t play as some soldier: you play as a civilian trying to make it through the war itself. We’ve seen this point-of-view before in films and books, but in a game? This has never been done before; this could change the landscape of this particular genre of games— or it could do poorly due to lack of interest from the crowd these sorts of games are typically marketed to. When playing a game in a military setting, players generally want to destroy others to save the day, not run around and just survive. Whether or not This War Of Mine will succeed is based on the game itself, but if it's as good as the trailer looks, this very well might be a breath of fresh air to a very stale genre.