Ludum Dare 43: The Cold Remains of Warmer Days

“The Cold Remains of Warmer Days” by Joarez C. Santini.

“[T]he last game of a trilogy about dealing with a breakup and depression. […] I made a game each year to show the [‘evolution’] of the feeling and now it comes to an end. […] [This one] shows my creative process to make this kind of narrative experience.”

There are game developers and artists who are instantly recognizable by their style. Whether you have dozens, hundreds or thousands of games in front of you, you can see immediately who created it. The person behind the pseudonym TheOneThatNeverWas is such a phenomenon. His name is Joarez C. Santini.

The first time I played one of his games was back in 2016. A stylish series of collage scenes on the topics of breakup and depression, titled “Forever Someday”, appeared before me. It was like a walk in the psyche of a struck stranger. The surrealistic graphics follow an associative, but always comprehensible dramaturgy. A man with a clock head being eaten by his own thoughts. A ship of hope. The call and her face. Everything has its place here. But after that game, there was absolute silence from the extraordinary developer. Only a year later I saw something of him again.

In 2017 he published “The Colors of Days To Come”. The sequel bribed me again with the same amazing graphic style, but the narrative focus was no longer on the breakup itself, but rather on its effects on the protagonist. The character seems to waver between obsession and depression. His everyday life has changed and the constant loneliness has made his perception of the world dull. The colors of the future days remain unclear; the white noise of the television set becomes interpretable as an overarching metaphor for his life. After this game, Santini fell silent again for a year. However, my patience should be rewarded.

This year, he created “The Cold Remains of Warmer Days” and submitted it to the forty-third Ludum Dare edition. Here he shows the creative process that he underwent when he created those games. Tied to a typewriter in chains, the most important collages appear in front of the inner eye of the character. Accompanied by classical music, this scene is one of the strongest in the entire series, because hope, grief, doubt and love are shaking hands here at the audiovisual level. It is a stroke of fate and a liberation at the same time. It was one of the most fantastic moments I ever experienced within a jam game. Thank you, Joarez. >>PLAY