A new indie game called What Happened is coming to PC later this month. What happened is described as “nightmarish exploration of first-person anxiety and depression”. It is about an American student named Stiles.
Since Stiles suffers from a severe mental illness, you must guide him through the “twisted corridors of his own mind”. His fate depends on your ability to put yourself in his state of mind.
You can find out what really happened to Stiles by exploring the game. Any discovery you make “could be exactly what Stiles could help in this game”.
The current press release describes the game as follows:
“What happened brings you to the other side of the mirror: between adulthood and the American dream, between awake nightmares and strong hallucinations.
“Stiles tries to fight his way through the twists and turns of his subconscious, and the player accompanies him on this mental journey by solving puzzles, avoiding the incessant calls of swarming demons and groping for the exit of this inner maze, the layout of which is constantly changing .
“Thanks to Unreal Engine 4, What Happened is an off-the-beaten path sensory testimony to the development team’s will to tell a story of suffering and hope in an unforgettable way.”
What happened is not a typical game. The gameplay offers first-person perspective and a series of environmental puzzles and clues that guide you through the corridors of a high school.
The game’s director, Arash Negahban, says the main character is suffering from the effects of LSD and mental illness.
This makes what you see unreliable. Sometimes the corridors are overgrown with twisted tendrils and cracked walls. Sometimes they are smeared with blood, with boarded up windows.
Sometimes you will see people chasing you or hallucinations of butterflies. With ghostly hands reaching out of the lockers, there must be some fear of jumping here and there.
With Stiles’ state of mind, this prevents us from knowing if things are happening in real time (or at all). “You never know if something that is happening is actually happening in real time or just a watered-down reflection of a memory.”
Learn and understand more about mental illness
Negahban explains in his Dev Diary that this story was inspired by a neighbor who committed suicide.
He consulted psychologists to learn more about mental illness and understand why this happened. This research led to the development of this indie title.
“At that time, we decided to find a way that everyone could understand this terrible experience through entertainment and games.
“We tried to paint a picture as much as possible to let other people know the truth of the matter.”
Just be warned that there are depictions of self-harm, drug use, and suicide (depending on the player’s actions). This may not be for everyone and may trigger for some.
When will What Happened be released?
According to the released press release, What Happened will be released on Steam for PC on July 30th. There will also be consoles “later”, but we don’t have a fixed date yet.
You can add it to your wish list on Steam to be notified when it’s released. There is currently no price on the Steam site, but hopefully this will be announced soon.
What do you think about the What Happened Trailer? Is this a game you are thinking of? Let us know what you think in the comments.