It’s safe to say that We Are Chicago is my favorite Indie game that I had the opportunity to play while at PAX West this year. Admittedly, I have a vested interest in the topic of this game, mainly because I live in Chicago and have had first-hand experience working with students whose lives mirror that of the story brought to life in this game. However, I still think this game is incredibly special and it hooked me from the second I started the demo that was available at PAX. There’s no denying that Chicago has been in the news as of late due to the violence that has been happening in certain parts of the city. But, what the news doesn’t portray are the stories and real lives of these people that go through these struggles. Culture Shock Games explains that this game strives to inspire change and create a conversation about how much of an issue violence is by portraying the harsh realities of growing up and living on the south side of Chicago.
Created by developer Culture Shock Games, We Are Chicago is a first-person story-driven game that follows the life of Aaron, who is a High School Senior living on the South Side of Chicago. He is a week away from graduating when he notices that his best friend, Robert, has stopped showing up to school. Players will spend the rest of the game learning about Aaron’s life, the relationships he has with those around him, and the decisions that he has to make to protect his family and find his best friend.
This game seems reminiscent of a Telltale style of storytelling, focusing on the intricacies of character development within the story itself. The story is also affected by player actions and the dialogue choices that you make. Although the graphics are not what we have come to expect in this age, I believe the story and gameplay more than make up for that. Their team at PAX explained that the developer spent over a year researching and interviewing people from the south side of Chicago so they could make this game as realistic as possible and to properly portray what their lives are like. Just from the demo that I played, I could tell that they really set out to depict these complicated situations and relationships that people frequently shy away from discussing. This game brings you to a world behind the gunshots and violence to show you how people work together to keep each other safe amidst the chaos facing their community.
We Are Chicago will be coming to Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux in 2017 for $14.99.