The future of walking sims and empathy games

drown-590x330A few years ago, the Half-Life 2 modding community took an interesting turn: modders began making mods with no enemies to fight. Players would wander the maps and, when they entered certain areas, narration would be triggered. They could experience a story without having to kill monsters along the way. The more successful of these mods, like Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable, eventually became standalone games that coined the glibly named genre of walking sims. The format was often used for horror and humor, but eventually games like Gone Home had players explore mundane places in order to evoke empathy from players for how other people lived their lives. Empathy games and walking sims might have seemed like a fad, but 2015 was full of them, and 2016 is already off to an empathic start with That Dragon Cancer. We spoke with some of the designers who make these games, and asked them about the history and the future of this sub-genre. Continue reading at


About charlesbattersby

Playwright/ Video Game Journalist/ Theatre Critic/ Actor New York City ·
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