The Town of Light – Wired Productions – PAX East 2017
This Spring: Face Your Fears in The Town of Light
Veterans know the dangers of trauma better than most people. PTSD and other mental disorders cause pain like any physical injury, but one much harder to treat. So when a young woman named Renèe returns to the mental asylum she was committed to at 16, you can imagine why her mind starts turning against her. Wired Productions’ The Town of Light takes a hard look at mental illness, wrapped in this gripping thriller-adventure game.
A Tuscan landscape sets the stage for Renèe’s return. While the story takes place in the mid-twentieth century, Wired Productions based the compound on an actual abandoned asylum. The developers went to great strives to replicate the asylum for the player. Almost everything you see in The Town of Light exists in the real world, from the building framework to the photographs, and even down to the graffiti on the walls.
This dedication to reality goes beyond the setting and collectibles. Wired Productions based Renèe’s psychology on years of mental illness research, and the various treatments used in the 1930’s. You won’t find any monsters or demons hunting Renèe through the asylum; you’ll face internal obstacles created by Renèe’s mind.
Of course, just because the game has no jump-scares doesn’t mean you’re free to do whatever you want. Certain actions have consequences for Renèe’s mental health, such as neglecting her doll Charlotte. Push her too far, and she’ll never recover.
The Town of Light has a deeply personal storyline, following the history of Renèe’s confinement and her struggle to accept what happened. Diary pages strewn across the compound reveal Renèe’s past. You read about her hopes and fears, friends and enemies, and her transformation into the young woman you control. In time, you realize that Renèe didn’t deserve confinement, no matter what the police record said. At the end of the game, you uncover the whole story behind her confinement, and the choices you make leading up to that moment decide how Renèe handles the truth.
This game is not for everyone. It includes some very upsetting images, and the hallucinations may make you nauseous or even sick. Yet even with all its deliberate ugliness you’ll start to care about Renèe, and hope she conquers this simulation of something so real, it’s frightening.
The Town of Light is available now on Steam and will be released on Xbox One and PS4 later this spring.