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How Making a Game About Grief Helped its Developer Work Through Depression

After 5 long years of dev time, indie developer Tim Ruswick is launching his passion project Philophobia: The Fear of Love on Steam. But for him, it was more than a game, it was his road to recovery.

“I was in one of the darkest moments of my life” Says the now 31 year old game developer from Sarasota, Florida. “Breaking up with the first person I ever loved hit me hard. But living with myself every day as I spiraled deeper and deeper down a destructive path was even harder.”

“̴I̶ ̴l̴i̵k̸e̸ ̴t̴o̷ ̸s̸a̷y̸ ̶t̵h̶i̴s̴ ̶g̸a̴m̷e̵ ̷i̵s̵ ̶b̸a̶s̴e̷d̷ ̵o̷n̴ ̵a̴ ̷b̵r̷e̶a̶k̶u̶p̵.̶ ̸A̵n̶d̷ ̴t̵h̴a̸t̷’̸s̷ ̴t̴r̶u̵e̷.̶ ̴B̶u̶t̶ ̴r̵e̶a̴l̵l̶y̷,̴ ̸i̸t̵’̴s̵ ̴b̷a̸s̴e̶d̶ ̷o̸n̷ ̸e̶v̴e̷r̵y̷ ̶s̵i̶n̴g̸l̶e̸ ̷d̷a̴r̷k̷ ̸e̸m̵o̷t̴i̶o̷n̶ ̵I̷ ̶h̸a̶d̶ ̶i̵n̵s̷i̵d̴e̶ ̷o̶f̴ ̶m̶e̶.̴ ̷T̸h̶e̴ ̸d̷e̴n̶i̴a̸l̴,̸ ̶t̸h̸e̵ ̶a̴n̴g̶e̴r̷,̴ ̴t̸h̷e̵ ̴d̵e̴p̴r̵e̶s̸s̷i̷o̸n̷,̸ ̷t̴h̶e̴ ̴s̴u̸i̷c̵i̴d̵a̴l̷ ̵t̴h̶o̴u̷g̸h̸t̶s̷ ̷-̷ ̴a̶l̴l̸ ̴o̸f̷ ̵i̵t̵.̶ ̸I̴ ̴p̵o̷u̸r̷e̵d̶ ̶t̵h̸e̷m̵ ̵i̴n̴t̶o̶ ̵a̷ ̴g̵a̴m̵e̶.̷”̴

Philophobia: The Fear of Love was designed around the 5 stages of grief. The game takes you on a journey where love is Hell – literally – and its focus is to make you feel something. And when you’re done with each emotion, you are faced with the literal representation of your demons to take down and overcome them.

“Building this game, and crafting it around the psychology of a healthy healing process helped me feel again.” He says. “Fighting through the procrastination, finishing an impossibly large project like a game, and achieving my childhood dream of being a game developer showed me that I’m so much more than what I used to think of myself. It showed me that I can fight depression, and I can win. And I hope that it can help players along that journey as much as it helped me.”

Philophobia: The Fear of Love launches on PC on Steam Feb 10, 2020.

Philophobia: The Fear of Love – Steam Launch Trailer

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