Cracking the Stigma Surrounding Abuse: The Aim of ‘The Quiet Issues’

Content material warning: The Quiet Issues addresses abuse and childhood trauma, which this interview touches on.

Alyx Jones has been busy. In 2022, the developer — who has labored on audio for Elden Ring, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and 2020’s Ultimate Fantasy 7 remake — was named one among BAFTA’s Breakthroughs of 2022, marking her as a fast-rising star within the UK’s recreation business.

Final yr additionally noticed Jones discovered Silver Script Video games, although she tells NME that its opening months had been largely spent dealing with the fun of taxes and “admin stuff”. With these thrills safely within the wing mirror, Silver Script’s aim is to debut with The Quiet Issues: an emotionally difficult, autobiographical narrative recreation that tells the story of Jones’ upbringing.

In The Quiet Issues, gamers should uncover diary entries and reminiscences to piece collectively the lifetime of Alice, who’s performed by Emily Burnett (The Dumping Floor‘s Charlie Morris) and serves as a fictional stand-in for Alyx. Jones warns The Quiet Issues might be “upsetting” — its story consists of her personal experiences with sexual abuse, homelessness, psychological well being struggles and the dying of her mom — and Alice’s journal entries are based mostly on a diary that Jones wrote in her youth.

The Quiet Issues. Credit score: Silver Script Video games.

That is very a lot Jones’ story to inform, however she “doesn’t know something about artwork” — which means that bringing it to life is an effort shared with a handful of builders. The Silver Script founder says that though it has been “difficult” to revisit moments from her youth, it helped to implement a degree of separation throughout growth. Apart from swapping Jones out for a fictional character, each different character from her upbringing has been changed with totally different names.

“We discuss [Alice] as a separate character, moderately than me being ‘I did this, I did that’ — it nearly turns into a separated story,” explains Jones, who jokes that it’s in the end left to her to recollect who all people really is. “It’s simpler to take a slight step away from it and discuss it like that.”

When The Quiet Issues was conceived, it was initially going to take that diploma of separation even additional. “Initially after I was making the sport, I didn’t need the participant to be me,” says Alyx, who thought the sport can be extra immersive if gamers felt like they had been in command of their very own character.

The Quiet Things. Credit: Silver Script Games.The Quiet Issues. Credit score: Silver Script Video games.

“I needed them to be in a digital museum,” she continued. “However once we confirmed [The Quiet Things] at Recreation Dev London Expo, all people instantly was like, ‘Is my mum going to die?’ once they had been enjoying the demo. I noticed they had been actually being me, whether or not I favored it or not, so I wanted to adapt how we had been making the sport as a result of [players] are actually in my footwear.”

Jones values that sense of immersion. Whereas conventional media — movies, books and tv exhibits — has change into bolder with tackling “taboo” discussions on sexual abuse and psychological well being, Jones hopes The Quiet Issues will help gaming catch up and break down the stigma of these topics, whereas concurrently providing a robust medium.

“[Gaming] is totally different from studying a ebook, or watching a movie, since you’re not faraway from it — you’re way more a part of the expertise, controlling what occurs on display screen makes it a lot extra immersive. You all the time really feel prefer it was you.”

The Quiet Things. Credit: Silver Script Games.The Quiet Issues. Credit score: Silver Script Video games.

Moreover, Jones feels the one-to-one nature of single-player titles permits for extra intimate — and in the end extra affecting — experiences. “You may play it in your personal personal house, you’re not watched by anybody,” she explains. “It’s not like going to the cinema and being in a public house — that’s why [gaming] is an efficient medium to have the ability to inform that story, as a result of you’ll be able to privately expertise that in your personal time and house and take care of these extra difficult feelings that come together with it.”

Nonetheless, Jones acknowledges that merely telling her story isn’t sufficient for Silver Script’s debut to seek out success. “You’re making it a product on the finish of the day,” says Jones, who factors out that though autobiographical video games are deeply private to their creators, they nonetheless have to click on with followers and make sufficient cash to “justify their existence”.

It’s a subject Jones has mentioned with Nina Freeman, the influential indie developer behind Cibele and Final Name — titles that, like The Quiet Issues, are based mostly on private experiences. Freeman is one among three main builders who’ve mentored Jones by means of the BAFTA Breakthrough programme, with the opposite two being Life Is Unusual author Jean-Luc Cano and Double High quality founder Tim Schafer. Jones says these one-to-one mentoring classes have been “invaluable,” and taught her to write down The Quiet Issues in a means that retains gamers engaged all through.

The Quiet Things. Credit: Silver Script Games.The Quiet Issues. Credit score: Silver Script Video games.

Finally, their help has taken Jones a step nearer to realising Silver Script’s imaginative and prescient. Whereas The Quiet Issues‘ title refers to victims feeling like their experiences are one thing to be hidden, the studio’s debut will probably be an announcement of opposites: a recreation that tackles the stigma surrounding abuse head-on, and helps these in the same state of affairs to Jones realise they’re “not alone on the planet”.

“I’ve all the time liked video games, and if I’d had [her experiences represented] in a medium I might have engaged in, it may not have stopped issues taking place however I may need been extra conscious of it,” says Jones. “It doesn’t cease individuals doing terrible issues to one another, however you would possibly be capable of shield your self higher earlier on.”

Crowdfunding for The Quiet Issues begins on June 6 — you’ll be able to go to its Kickstarter web page and click on “notify me on launch” to comply with the mission. 

For assist and recommendation on psychological well being: