My Memory of Us, a non-violent, side-scrolling puzzle game, is a celebration of hope and heroism. Taking its cues from Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts, a game about World War I, the team at Juggler Games hopes to bring attention to Polish heroes and victims of the Nazi occupation of Europe during World War II.
The 2.5-dimensional game tells the story of a boy and a girl, separated from their families during when the Evil King and his robot army take over the world. It is a thinly-veiled representation of WWII, the Nazi occupation of Poland, the creation of Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland and of German concentration camps. Like Valiant Hearts, it intends to educate players through the use of unlockable historical footnotes.
But the team’s hope is that even playing the game, which is devoid of explicit Nazi imagery, will be an emotional and poignant experience.
“We wanted to concentrate on tiny, emotional things,” said creative director and co-founder of Juggler Games, Jakub Jabłoński. “There’s no cheap ending. We don’t kill these characters, but I think that people will cry because of what happens to them. It’s a bit worse than dying, especially for friends.”
The game, which was on display for the first time at this year’s PAX East in Boston, will also feature non-player characters drawn from Polish history.
“There are right now two great Polish heroes,” Jabłoński said. “One is Irena Sendler. She was quite famous because she saved from the ghetto some 2,500 children. She ... was giving them fake Polish identities, and she was keeping their real names in jars buried in her gardens throughout the war.
#FatThursday is a big celebration in Poland during which we eat plenty of pączki! Bigger #donuts! #indiegame #gamedev #indiedev #celebration pic.twitter.com/jYwTEmt1Dd— My Memory of Us (@MyMemoryOfUs) February 23, 2017
“We also have Janusz Korczak, who was a leader of an orphanage inside the ghetto. And when the Nazis came and they wanted all the children to go to the concentration camp, he was [given the chance] to leave and go free. But instead, he decided to go with them.”
Both are figures who have been celebrated in Polish cinema and other formats but, Jabłoński said, it’s important to keep their stories alive through today’s pop culture.
“They need to be remembered,” he said, “through one of the most powerful mediums, which are games.”
Everyone on the development team has been encouraged to tell their own family’s story in the game as well. Jabłoński’s grandfather, who he never met, was imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp for printing anti-Nazi leaflets. In the final game, he said that there would be a level where the main characters must help print anti-robot leaflets.
My Memory of Us is being produced for Windows PC, and is being published by IMGN.Pro. It does not currently have a release date.
Correction: We have updated this article at the request of the developer to clarify the nature of both the WWII-era ghettos and concentration camps.