Did you experiment with other visual styles before settling on the final look?
There were a lot of iterations, and a lot of work done, before we settled on the final style. We wanted to be as realistic as possible, but we also wanted to leave some room for players’ imaginations. We didn’t want it to be pixel-perfect rendering with lots of special effects. We could have done that, but we chose not to. When you have to imagine some things, it’s much more immersive. You believe it more. We didn’t want to show you extremely detailed characters; we wanted the player to translate it their way.
Where did the idea to make the game black-and-white come from?
Take On Me! The video for that was one of the references. A-ha, Dire Straits, and then Banksy. He uses extremely muted colours in his work, and he also loves to tell a story, so we used some of his style in This War Of Mine. We were looking for a style that feels like a novel, and black-and-white sets the mood for a game, for a movie, for everything. It tells you that there’s a more serious approach being taken, and I think that’s one of the key strengths.
Did Schindler’s List form part of the inspiration for the game?
Yes – that film was actually shot by a Polish camera operator! It’s very striking. You could say, “Oh, it’s just black-and-white,” but that adds to the intensity of the emotions a lot. It allows you to focus on the faces of characters more, and [as a result] their feelings are far better communicated.