Semi-autobiographical text-based mental health adventure Depression Quest has arrived on Steam with a pay-what-you-want model.
It nearly didn't though as mere minutes before it was supposed to go live the news broke that Robin Williams had passed away, suspected of taking his own life following a longstanding battle with depression.
Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn wrote a blog post on the matter and how she and her colleagues were ready to delay the game's release, since it could appear opportunistic in light of recent events.
But the developer ultimately came to the conclusion that some misunderstood bad publicity was an acceptable consequence for releasing a tool for people to combat their mental demons at a time when they might need it most.
"I'd rather have people flood my inbox with threats again and call me a monster if it means that one person who was shocked by today's news and maybe thinking of trying to reach out and get help could use this tool I've made to take the vitally important first steps towards clawing their way out of the hell that is this disease," Quinn wrote.
"If I was sitting down across a table from someone who asked me 'how could you release the day Robin Williams took his own life?' I would know how I could answer," she added. "I'd know why I did it, even if I felt conflicted about doing it. But if I sat down across from someone who asked 'How could you hold back on releasing this game when I needed it?' I would feel ashamed."
Plus Depression Quest is free, though the developers are accepting donations. "There is no way, in my mind, to ethically put something intended to be a tool for helping people behind a paywall," Quinn stated. "None."
For the full statement on Quinn and company's decision making process here, check out her Tumblr post about the timing conundrum which she concluded with the following passage:
"Please, please, please take care of yourselves. Tell the people in your life you love them. Don't stop pushing for more understanding and better care of those battling mental illness."