11-11: Memories Retold — Aardman Animations' World War I Centenary Game


#1

While reading a news story about Aardman Animations (best-known for their creation of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, and… Chicken Run, I guess?) handing over 75% of the business to its staff, I came across noting that Aardman had releases its first console game, 11:11 Memories Retold/.

Here is a brief excerpt from The Guardian’s review of the game that sets up its premise and stakes:

Creating a commemorative first world war game is bold, given the traditionally blunt approach to warfare that video games have, but boldness is to be expected of Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations. The mission of 11-11: Memories Retold, released before the centenary of Armistice Day, is to provide insight into the war, particularly for younger generations.

Aardman Animations’ first full-length game takes an impressionistic approach, with its visuals – which employ a “living painting” effect inspired by the likes of Turner and Monet – seeming to boil and flow. It is a clever ploy, and is in keeping with the game’s contemplative tone. The game avoids explicit bloodshed, but still communicates the grim nature of trench life. It also heightens your attention to the story, which has a fable-like quality, as if vividly but distantly remembered.

The game follows two characters on opposing sides of the war: Canadian Harry and German Kurt. Neither is at war when the story starts in November 1916: Harry is working in a Toronto photography shop and Kurt in a zeppelin factory. But Harry is recruited by the somewhat narcissistic Major Barrett to take photographs at the front. Meanwhile, Kurt, who is tormented by the fear that his son Max may have been killed at the front, enlists in order to find him. Neither protagonist wields a gun, uniquely for a first world war game. Harry is a photographer, Kurt an engineer.

This seems like a fascinating game, and one that, in many ways, feels like it is doing something unique with the First World War setting. There’s scope to discuss this in the thread, but its choice to remove the combat from a game about war is a really interesting choice for a game about World War I.

The style of it is also really quite interesting:

Have folks picked this up? Have you played it? Perhaps I have caught your trying it and letting us know what you make of it?


#2

Saw this on the playstation store earlier today and was really intrigued, didn’t realise it was Aardman and now I’m even more so. Kinda poor so I probably won’t pick it up now but I look forward to hearing some opinions on it.

There might be more of them than I know, but sensible games about the great war like this and Valiant Hearts is something I don’t mind seeing more of.