Imagination Is The Only Escape is an adventure game that takes place during the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. The game’s protagonist, Samuel, manages to flee the oncoming Jewish internment by the Nazis, only to see his mother murdered at their hands. From there the game turns into what sounds like a Pan’s Labyrinth escapism as Samuel flees to southern France and befriends a fox named Renard who says she’ll reunite Samuel with his mother if he agrees to help her.
Imagination is the brainchild of New York based developer Luc Bernard, and is a project he’s been working on since 2008. In fact, from it’s very inception the game has received a significant amount of press. The New York Times wrote a piece on the game and its obvious controversy, as did Kotaku, Destructoid, and several other gaming sites. Unfortunately nothing happened. Luc continued his day job as a developer, while Imagination floated in development limbo and lore as a “game that needs to be made.”
As of September 2nd Luc is back fighting to give the game it’s day via an Indiegogo funding campaign. Expressing a desire to create a game that tackles a significant and relevant historical event in a meaningful way, Luc is appealing supporters to donate whatever they can to help achieve the $125,000 goal.
How’s it going so far? Nearly three weeks in to its 45 day campaign only $4,370 has been raised. Why? It doesn’t appear to be political or philosophical controversy, the game doesn’t seem to give any doubt into who the bad guys are. Based on the somber description Luc gives he doesn’t come across as someone taking the subject matter light hearted. The answer is undoubtedly much more mundane; there’s no gameplay. The funding is simply Luc speaking to the camera about the feelings behind the game, there’s no gameplay shown or discussed. The screenshots could very easily be mockups given the lack of context provided for them. Of the 1000+ words in the Indiegogo campaign, only 35 are about the gameplay, the rest is selling the importance of the message and the vision
Imagination is the Only Escape is a educational adventure game for iOS, Android, PC, Mac and Ouya. Unlike other games set during that period the player will feel how it is to be a vulnerable child.
On the plus side, the campaign for Imagination Is The Only Escape is using the flexible funding option, meaning the developers will get all the donations given, even if the $125,000 goal isn’t achieved. Your time to donate runs out on October 17th.