“Welcome to Härunga – a small industrial town in the [Bible Belt] of the mid-north of Sweden. You play as Sara, an aspiring writer who, after having been away for [ten] years, returns home in order to investigate the tragic fate of her estranged best friend.”
Even though the narrative center of “HOW WE KNOW WE’RE ALIVE” is the one-year-ago death of protagonist Sara’s former best friend Maria, the game is about more than just grief and memory. Indeed, it is also about the fragility of interpersonal relationships, alienation, our sometimes naïve notions of the future, and especially the importance of taking perspectives other than our own.
Sara visits her dreary hometown of Härunga for the first time in nearly a decade. When she and Maria were about to graduate from high school, they pursued a big dream: To move to Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, and become celebrated authors. However, Maria’s life changed abruptly when she – still a teenager at the time – became pregnant. This circumstance led her to the decision to stay in the solitude Sara hated so much. The two stayed in touch, but their relationship never became as warm as it once was.
Exactly one year after Maria’s sudden passing, Sara seeks out her old hometown again. Not only does she stand there in the rain at the grave and is overwhelmed by memories of the past, but she also meets some old acquaintances. She tries to understand how this tragic event could have happened in the first place. Some conversations make her think that it may not have been a car accident at all. Who would want to grow old in a sad place like Härunga? Sara will find answers to her question – even if they may not be the ones she wanted. [PLAY]