You probably don't normally associate video games with part of the healing process from broken relationships, but filling that void is precisely the aim of indie developer Fire Mammoth with The Goodbye Room: Escape Your Ex, an upcoming "tender and queer first-person adventure" in search of crowdfunding on Kickstarer.
Escape rooms may be all the rage these days, but in this game they've been "retrofitted into goodbye rooms, recreational therapy for letting go." Once inside such an "escape room of feelings, a place that won't let you leave until you've properly grieved and worked through all your issues," the room will scan your mind to determine what it is that's causing you pain. Like a former boyfriend, whose projected image is "made of light with colors all over. They represent feelings. Catch and combine them to unlock memories that help you remember what happened." Only by exploring frozen tableaux representing "moments you'll always hold close, and the nightmares you can't escape" will you be able to face your fears and attempt to mend what's been broken by finding key mementos and engaging in impactful mini-games like "The Family Dinner Remix" and "The Steam Room of Doom."
Inspired by project lead Max Ellinger's own "traumatic teenage breakup" and conceived as a single room prototype in 2018, the game has since been expanded in scope and the finished version will be somewhat similar to other emotionally powerful character-driven titles like Gone Home and Life Is Strange. It's far less traditional than those games, however, promising "volumetric performances, environmental storytelling, experimental gameplay and interactive 3D 360° video cutscenes," putting The Goodbye Room at "the intersection of cutting-edge technology and personal storytelling." The narrative unfolding will be "highly-authored and tells a specific story," but makes "no presumption of player gender" and "the character you’re playing is initially a blank slate that gets filled in through the context of the world." As the player, your role is to "explore, solve puzzles, and interact with a variety of difficult people, including your ex in a final climactic encounter."
In order to complete their project, Fire Mammoth has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $13,500 (US) by February 15th. If all goes well, we could be bidding a virtual farewell to our respective exes as early as the end of this year on PC, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.