Ask most teens about high school and they'll tell you it's a bit of a nightmare. Well, in Polish developer Genius Slackers' upcoming horror adventure What Happened, it becomes a literal nightmare for one poor student. Once just a regular school, it's suddenly populated by demons, both real and imaginary, that the young protagonist will have to face if he ever wants to reach the light at the end of the tunnel and find a way home.
High school student Stiles, like many teens, struggles with anxiety and depression. That's a difficult enough path to walk at the best of times, but What Happened takes his nightmares and makes them all too real, transforming his school into a twisted hellscape reminiscent of The Upside Down from Stranger Things. It's the player's job to guide Stiles through his own distorted and dream-enhanced memories, dealing with environmental puzzles, battling dark forces and choosing how to respond to the situations he faces. The empathy you show him will, according to the developers, "subtly affect" his fate.
This "densely atmospheric world of waking nightmares infused with distorted memories" is presented in first-person, free-roaming 3D – at times scary, violent and bloody, with an ominous soundtrack to match. The aim here is not simply to terrify and entertain, however, but also to explore the reality of mental illness, as well as themes of unity, empathy and hope. This is definitely not one for the whole family, as it includes elements of self-harm, drug use and potential suicide, together with strong language in both the spoken dialogue and written notes.
What Happened is scheduled to be unleashed in July on Steam for PC. In the meantime, you can explore further, if you dare, at the official website.