By which items will we remember our loved ones by? That is the theme Labour of Love explores, in a game about the process of grief and cleaning out someone’s home after their passed away.
In the game you follow a father and daughter, who are tasked with cleaning out the home of their deceased grandmother. The player takes control of June, with whom you can explore the home, learn about the Miller’s family history and clean up rooms.
In each room you have to decide which items to throw away, and which to keep. Each item has a personal story about grandma Karen and the family. Will you learn about Karen’s life after the war, or maybe read some of the pages in her diary? That all depends on you.
I wanted to create a game about this very personal subject. There are many games and movies that deal with the subject of death, but they often ignore this very real and emotional part of the process.
My goal for the game was to make players reflect on their own experiences, to think about the parts that went well, or what they might have done differently - if such an occurrence ever happened again.
As a designer there was a quite a challenge, wanting to encourage the player to learn more about Karen and her stories, but be respectful of the subject matter. This took many playtests and iterations, but I ended up with gameplay that really engaged the player and formed an emotional connection to the characters.
During this project I wanted to challenge myself, by making the entire game on my own - curious on what I would be able to achieve. All the art and design was done by myself, using UE4 I was able to experiment with blueprints, which resulted in programming the game on my own as well.