There has never been a shortage of World War II video games. However, they rarely mention one of the biggest tragedies of that era: The Holocaust. Recently, a study in the UK found that 52% of UK residents do not know how many Jews died in the Holocaust. With video games becoming the number one preferred format of storytelling of the current generation, if we are to keep the memory of those lost during the Holocaust, we must start telling their stories through video games. I intend to do this through The Light in the Darkness, an educational video game about the Holocaust. It is a project I have been trying to make for the past decade, and now after many trials and tribulations, it will finally launch on Xbox and Windows 10 next year and will be available to everyone as a free-to-play title.
For The Light in the Darkness, I wanted to focus on the Holocaust in France for multiple reasons. For one, I am French, and the Holocaust in France is rarely discussed. Another reason it resonates with me is since I was a boy, and my grandmother would tell me stories of her looking after Kindertransport children in the UK. So, the Holocaust shaped my family.
Many people have asked how the gameplay mechanics will work, since video games are generally based on the choices the player makes. However, the game will intentionally not contain choice-based mechanics to simulate a “lack of control” feeling to emulate the powerless experience during the Holocaust. Instead, the game is more about the story and witnessing these dark times through the eyes of the family, to humanize the victims, and show the kind and heroic actions of those around them.
The game follows Moses, Bluma and their son Samuel, who are Polish Jewish immigrants who came to France for a better life. The player will experience events from before the occupation of France by Nazi Germany, up to the atrocities carried out by the Vichy France known as the Vel D’Hiv Roundup. The story was inspired by multiple survivors’ accounts, but to make sure everything is as historically accurate as possible, we have been consulting with multiple Holocaust survivors, their children, as well as historians. In addition to the captivating story, The Light in the Darkness will also be an educational platform. Players will be able to access archives and photos, as well as explore history in what we call the Educational Mode. There will be survivor testimonies to watch alongside videos of historians. The goal of Education Mode is to make Holocaust education accessible for all, including those who don’t have the ability to visit museums. It is important we find new ways to educate and bring awareness to people about history, and what hate leads to, and I believe video games are the perfect medium to achieve that. That is why I couldn’t be prouder to bring this historical educational experience to Xbox and Windows 10 next year.