‘You Will (Not) Remain’ is a snapshot of lockdown depression with a Lovecraftian twist


You are not meant to envy You Will (Not) Remain‘s depressed protagonist. Trapped alone of their condominium complicated whereas an eldritch horror overtakes the town exterior, there is no contentment to be discovered of their drastically shrunken, dingily claustrophobic world. Nonetheless, I felt a twinge of jealousy as I moved them by way of their monotonous cycle from mattress, to kitchen, to balcony, to mattress.

“A minimum of,” I assumed, “no person expects something from them.”

Created in 48 hours for the 2021 Women Game Jam, Bedtime Phobias’ You Will (Not) Stay is a 2D indie sport which examines psychological well being points corresponding to depression, anxiousness, and isolation. The 30-minute roleplaying sport would not have any puzzles to unravel, solutions to search out, or days to avoid wasting. There are merely days during which to exist, repeating the identical patterns over and once more with no anticipation that it’d ever change.

It is an expertise that is sadly acquainted in our pandemic-altered world, at the very least to these of us lucky sufficient to not work on the frontlines. Simply as You Will (Not) Remain’s unspeakable abomination retains its protagonist confined to their constructing, the COVID-19 pandemic has additionally saved us indoors whereas extracting a related psychological toll. Even the sport’s ominous public service bulletins are acquainted, warning residents to remain inside and never let anybody in.

The rote rituals carried out within the shadow of inescapable dread and overwhelming depression are simply recognisable. Oh, there’s an all-consuming terror engulfing my metropolis and devouring all that was as soon as joyous or comforting? I suppose I am going to water my plant, as a result of at the very least that is one thing to do.

You Will (Not) Remain's protagonist in their apartment.

Credit score: You Will (Not) Stay / Bedtime Phobias

“After going through one other lockdown after nearly two years of them, we determined to make a sport that explored our collective experiences with isolation from one another and the world,” You Will (Not) Remain’s narrative designer Gabriella Lowgren advised Mashable. Based mostly in Melbourne, Australia, her crew had been excited to collaborate in individual, however have been compelled to take action just about after the town went into lockdown once more.

“I felt that writing a story purely about lockdown could be too uncooked for each us and our viewers, so determined the sport wanted an exterior cause that could possibly be a stand in for the pandemic,” stated Lowgren. “I personally love eldritch horror (as does the remainder of the crew) and our artist [T-Dog eXtreme] knew that it could be a robust visible motif. Thematically it ended up working, and the robust visuals are a key half of that.”


After COVID-19, we will want greater than remedy

Whereas You Will (Not) Remain’s focus is clearly on narrative, the mindlessly easy gameplay is efficient in reinforcing its darkish themes. Stroll to the plant, work together with it. Stroll to the espresso cup, work together with it. Stroll to the unusual monster-dog, work together with it. Run out of issues to work together with, go to mattress as a result of there is nothing else so that you can do. Although an omnipresent Lovecraftian being looms overhead, it is merely set dressing to the horror of stark existence. Is that this all there is? Is that this all there will likely be? 

You Will (Not) Stay is a well timed, relatable snapshot of many of our psychological states after numerous extended pandemic lockdowns. Nonetheless, regardless of how relatable and efficient its marriage of themes and gameplay is, it does exclude one factor that has made the pandemic expertise so distressingly insufferable: the expectation that we nonetheless perform. The protagonist could also be starved of human interplay, however in addition they weren’t panicking about their productiveness after staring blankly at a espresso cup for an hour.

The world appears to be crumbling earlier than our eyes, however meals must be cooked, jobs must be carried out, the present should go on. We proceed as a result of that is what is achieved, as a result of that is what is left. In some methods these duties give us a sense of objective and construction, a method to mark time amidst a homogenous stream of it. However in others, they slim our existence to routine labour and overwhelm our already crushed souls till we overlook we have been as soon as greater than this.

We’re mud and to mud we’ll return. I simply variety of thought I would be lifeless when it occurred.

You Will (Not) Remain's protagonist by their apartment building's boarded-up exit.

Additionally identical.
Credit score: You Will (Not) Stay / Bedtime Phobias

Lowgren hadn’t thought-about making You Will (Not) Remain’s protagonist work at home, however thinks it could have detracted from the sense of solitude they wished to convey.

“I feel in the event that they labored from dwelling there could be a clear signal that there was nonetheless life on the earth, and I needed them to be fully remoted,” stated Lowgren.

As such, there is a unusual, virtually fascinating consolation within the sure uncertainty of You Will (Not) Remain’s societal collapse. The sport’s protagonist has no sense of objective, trapped in hopeless listlessness. However on the identical time there are not any calls for laid upon them, no thought that they need to be upskilling or hustling or persevering with as regular in irregular instances. They’re allowed to interrupt down with little consequence, a luxurious few are afforded. It is concurrently suffocating and liberating. 

They do not have a title, however there’s no person who would possibly name it in the event that they did. It is probably been months since they final smiled, with no trigger to take action whilst a facade. Every part is falling aside, and there is no respite on the horizon. But all they should do is quietly water their plant, feed their dog-monster, take care of themselves, and look ahead to a change. It’s miles from a good scenario. Nonetheless, in some respects, it is enviable.

You Will (Not) Remain is presently free to play on Steam.

If you wish to speak to somebody or are experiencing suicidal ideas, Crisis Text Line offers free, confidential help 24/7. Textual content CRISIS to 741741 to be linked to a disaster counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday by way of Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or e mail [email protected] You too can name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Right here is a list of international resources.