A video game designed to make you feel bad.
That is precisely what creator Gordon Calleja is aiming for with Will Love Tear Us Apart, a new, free-to-play, browser-based game inspired by the Joy Division classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
For the uninitiated, Joy Division were one of the most influential acts of the late 1970s post-punk movement. Following the suicide of singer Ian Curtis in 1980, the single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” went on to inexorably define the short-lived group, posthumously becoming their biggest and most well-known song.
Determined to make a game as bleak and as heartbreaking as Joy Division's classic, Calleja and his team have modeled each level of Will Love Tear Us Apart after a different verse of the track. The developer describes the game as a reflection “on the darker side of love: mis-communication, emotional impasse and the sadness of separation” and goes on to explain its aim as “an ambition to frustrate, upset and sting the player into remembering the dark days preceding the death of a relationship.”
But don't worry, Will Love Tear Us Apart isn't all darkness; that is, if you're willing to embrace the inevitability of heartbreak: “Solace may be found in the brief moment of lightness that comes over us when we come to terms with the reality of an irreconcilable relationship.”
The game itself is haunting, gorgeously crafted, and as fittingly bleak as its source material. Governed by its thematic and emotional elements, Will Love Tear Us Apart is a prime example of artwork expressed through the medium of game design.
Play Will Love Tear Us Apart for free on its website, and check out an eerie trailer for the game, below.