Depression Quest , an interactive fiction game in which you play as a sufferer of depression, is now available as a free game on Steam. But in a new blog post, creator Zoe Quinn explains that it almost didn't happen: The approval for today's launch came "literally minutes" after actor Robin Williams was found to have committed suicide, leaving Quinn with a very tough decision to make.
Depression Quest is, for lack of any better way of putting it, a game with a purpose: It "aims to show other suffers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people." And while that's obviously the sort of thing that should be exposed to as wide an audience as possible, Quinn very understandably didn't want to seen as trying to capitalize on Williams' suicide for exposure.
"The last thing I want for the game is for the launch to seem opportunistic or like it is capitalizing on a massive tragedy like we've seen today," Quinn wrote . But in the end, she decided that she had a responsibility to release the game on Steam as soon as possible.
"I know there may be a worst case of people assuming the launch somehow is trying to capitalize on tragedy," she continued. "However, I would rather have those people hate me than the people who are currently quietly suffering with this illness sit at their dinner tables tonight and hear the discussion of today's news, hear people not understand how someone who had so much could kill themselves, and lack a resource they could have needed right then to point to and say, 'This is why.' I'd rather have people flood my inbox with threats again and call me a monster if it means that one person who was shocked by today's news and maybe thinking of trying to reach out and get help could use this tool I've made to take the vitally important first steps towards clawing their way out of the hell that is this disease."
Quinn also said, however, that she's releasing the game "quietly," and that she won't start promoting it until "a respectful time later. But I want it to be out there and available in all the ways I can make it be available so that if someone needs it, they have it."
Depression Quest is free on Steam , and is also still available DRM-free in a pay-what-you-want edition at depressionquest.com . A portion of the proceeds earned by the game go to iFred , a charity dedicated to fighting depression and the stigma that surrounds it.