Five years ago, 11 Bit Studios introduced the world to a bleak war-torn world through the game This War of Mine. While most war games had depicted war through the glorified eyes of war heroes and soldiers, This game instead tackled war through the eyes of those most affected by war: civilians. As of November 2019, This War of Mine has reached players across the world on PC, PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch and has pulled them into the harsh conditions of innocent bystanders caught in a violent crossfire.
Players are forced to scavenge through shadowy, decrepit buildings for remnants of supplies. Within the game, the luck of the survivors depends on their crafting ability and quick decision making in tough moments. Other survivors appear in different scenarios throughout the game, requiring players to evaluate their own needs versus the needs of others and at what point they will focus on their own survival. These emotional and often heartbreaking choices were further developed in the DLC 11 Bit Studios continued to release. In 2016, TWOM: The Little Ones allowed players to include a child character to care for and protect, even going so far as to care for the child’s mental health as well. Story-driven DLC also released to share deeper dives into the stories of specific survivors.
Every detail in This War of Mine depicts the horrors that innocent bystanders experience when they are caught in the middle of a war. The gritty charcoal aesthetic and urban graffiti paint everything in black and gray to create a cold, unforgiving urban landscape. The most music players can hear drearily drifts over a static-filled radio. Over the years, player-created content and scenarios were added in to give players control over their experience as well.
One of the most powerful parts of this game is the impact it has continued to make. In 2015, 11 Bit released the War Child DLC. The DLC featured street art from artists across the globe with a focus on what it was like to live through war. All of their profits benefited the War Child charity, which works to help children affected by war and violence. To date, 11 Bit has sold over 4.5 million copies of this amazing game and raised over $500,000 to help War Child. Games are known for the power they have to impact their players and their ability to entertain, but This War of Mine is one of the rare games that broke out of its console, PC, and mobile device to impact the world at large.
For five years, This game has shared stories of war and destruction and, ultimately, survival and hope. The game and powerful stories inspired by real life survivors have educated millions on the truth of war’s impact and changed many lives. As 11 Bit Studios releases their fifth anniversary edition, they show no sign of slowing down their work to broadcast the voices of the people who need to be heard the most.