Luc Benard has recently professed his love for the PlayStation Vita, and he’s proving it through is actions by attempting to bring his controversial title Imagination Is The Only Escape to the PS Vita via crowdfunding resource IndieAGogo. The game tackles the uncomfortable subject of the personal mental anguish of the people who suffered the holocaust, which is part of the reason why Bernard is seeking funding even though the game has been in production since 2008. An obviously ambitious effort Bernard aims to utilize games as a tool for understanding and through Imagination Is The Only Escape change many outsiders opinions of the merits of the medium.
The goal for the campaign in terms of funding is $125,000 by October 18 2013 and is set for a potential release on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita.
Here’s how the story is described:
“The story starts off before the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany. The player is introduced to the main character, a Jewish boy named Samuel who is playing with his friends, going to school, and living a normal life in Paris. However, when France is invaded by the Nazis, Samuel and his family are soon forced to wear the yellow star of David on their clothes.
The scene changes to the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup, the mass arrest of Jews in Paris that took place on July 16, 1942. During the chaos Samuel’s mother tells him to escape the city. She takes off his star so he can’t be recognized as a Jew, and gives him the address of a Catholic priest who can help him escape Paris and the occupied part of France. As Samuel escapes, his mother is spotted and killed as he is able to escape.
Samuel starts his journey to find the priest, sneaking his way through Paris. Samuel soon finds him, and is smuggled out to southern France. They arrive at a small village hidden in a forest, where the villagers are passing off Jewish children from all over France as Christian orphans, and soon Samuel meets a fox who tells him that if he helps her he will be able to see his mother again.”
Video games are medium capable of translating a multitude of experiences, from the joyous and entertaining, to the introspective and melancholy; and it is always refreshing when creators push the limits. While power fantasies will forever have their place in the pantheon of gaming history, the ability of games to illicit empathy is unmatched by any other form of medium. With a subject matter as difficult to swallow as the one presented by Bernard it is unlikely that a game such as this would see the light of day without communal financing, so here’s your chance to make a change in the industry and vote with your dollars as to the content you’d like to see introduced moving forward.
Imagination Is The Only Escape can be funded via the game’s official IndieAGoGo campaign website found here.
Below is a video of Luc Bernard explaining the need for crowdfunding and touching upon some of the themes found in the game.