This War Of Mine At PAX South: Interview With Karol Zajaczkowski of 11Bit Studios

APGNation’s Editor Jeff Pannell caught up with Karol Zajaczkowski at the 11Bit Studios booth at Pax South. Where he was kind enough to answer our questions with regards to his studio’s latest title This War Of Mine. I previously reviewed This War Of Mine for APGNation and still play the game today with its latest updates. It’s a gritty war survival story where you’re tasked with guiding a group of civilians through the horrors of an active war zone, scavenging and even stealing supplies. Bad things happen and most the time you feel like it’s your fault.

When discussing how they came up with the concept for This War Of Mine, Zajaczkowski had this to say:

“So far the topic of war had just been shown from one perspective: Battlefield or Call Of Duty. It’s always “you’re the good guy — you are the soldier” and that no cares for the civilians… When you think about it, during a conflict five percent of people are soldiers and the rest of them are civilians. Someone have wrote about it in books; some people have made movies about it. No one did it in a game, and we felt that the reason for that was people were afraid…”

So they started doing research on the topic of civilians during conflicts Kosovo, Fallujah, etc. and the testimonies they gathered were very intense —they felt they had to do it, to make a game about the real horrors of war. They wanted to show that war isn’t cool or a black and white topic.

Zajaczkowski goes on to talk about This War of Mine‘s significance beyond gameplay:

“[We] wanted to prove that games doesn’t have to only about entertainment and fun… that games are giving us a wider possibilities. When you read a book or watch a movie you can’t influence or change the ending… But here in the game you tailor the story. You can be the good guy, you can be the bad guy, you can do the right thing, the bad thing and it’s all up to you… You have emotional attachment to the things that are happening on the screen. Why shouldn’t we use that to show that war is something different? Because many people are not aware of that. We are from Poland so obviously we have the history… (In) World War II we suffered a lot. But there are… some countries in the world.. they only see war sometimes on the news maybe some Saving Private Ryan stuff… we wanted to show them that its not like… the image they have in their heads…its not the real one.”

To do this 11Bit Studios set out and found real survivors of war and interviewed them and used what they learned while developing This War of Mine to convey an authentic experience about the struggles of civilians in a conflict zone.

Listen to the entire interview with Karol Zajaczkowski:


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Jeremy Effinger
Written by
I am 26, a bibliophile, an amateur chef, and a gamer. I've gamed on the NES, SNES, PS1 and PS2 platforms, before switching to PC as my primary gaming platform. These days I tend to fill my gaming time playing Dota 2, and various RPGs of the WRPG or CRPG variety. I also enjoy the occasional shooter, open world game, 4x strategy games, stealth, and turn based games. I'm also an avid table top gamer and have been playing the same campaign weekly for the last four years.

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