World War 2 has remained a timeless source of inspiration for video games, but only a handful have ventured to portray the full horrors of the Nazi regime–not just to enemy forces, but to innocent civilians, particularly Jews, whose lives were so cruelly and systematically taken away until 1945. Luc Bernard is determined to change that with his free game, The Light in the Darkness, which shines a spotlight on one Jewish family that, like countless other, were targeted and persecuted by the Nazis simply because of their race.
Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Bernard declared that games which overlook the unfathomable atrocities of the Holocaust are tantamount to denying its very existence. With The Light in the Darkness, the goal is to expose the cruel destiny of countless European Jews, as the Nazis started their campaign of extermination. During the Holocaust, nearly two-thirds of European Jews lost their lives, and the Jewish population hasn’t recovered globally to pre-war proportions to this day.
Crucially, you won’t have any say in the destiny of the game’s main protagonists–a Jewish family in the Nazi-governed Vichy France–and how their story will ultimately end. The parents, striving to be strong role models, assure their children that they will always be there to support them and embolden them to show resolution. Yet, soon enough, they are sent to an interment camp, which served as a transit zone to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, where more than a million people perished in the most horrendous of ways.
“No victory was possible,” Bernard told AGP, “in the Shoah, only suffering – no option to choose otherwise.”
Now available on the Epic Games Store for PC, The Light in the Darkness is a title that has been eyed for eventual console releases, while still remaining in early access. An educational mode is set to come with the full launch, making it ideal for classrooms. But if you’d prefer to watch the story unfold, Luc Bernard’s full playthrough has been provided, embedded above.
Holocaust awareness today is shockingly and alarmingly restricted, with a 2020 survey demonstrating that fewer than half of respondents were acquainted with the number of Jews who perished. Some Germans who took part in the survey still show little to no remorse or even deny that the event happened, as seen in the harrowing documentary Final Account.