The Rawlings is a third-person surreal horror puzzle video game that begins by suggesting to the player that Aaron, the main playable character, is suffering from amnesia. Trapped inside a forest park with no recollection of who they are, their past and how they got there, the player must guide Aaron into the forest to retrieve their memories. Along the way, Aaron encounters dancing doppelgangers, a piano man, enormous floating hands and mysterious spiral objects such as snails and seashells. Through exploring and interacting with the environment, Aaron starts to uncover bits and pieces of their past and eventually realizes that the space they are in is in fact their own nightmare.
The main mechanics of the game is to solve the puzzle and to uncover the story by interacting with the environment through dancing. The first dance allows Aaron to turn interactive objects on and off and to pick up collectibles. The second dance allows Aaron to cause changes in the environment as well as the ability to dance with certain characters in the game. The final dance is available once Aaron unlocks all achievements and is used to end the game.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Uzumaki, Suspiria and Salvador Dali and drawing from the dark history of Stanley Park in Vancouver and research on gay cruising, The Rawlings explores queer memories and storytelling through investigating the relationship between bodies, dance and space.
The forest beckons Aaron to dance with fragments of themselves to uncover their memories, but as the game slowly reveals, Aaron’s memories come with a fatal cost.
The Rawlings uses themes of
fantasy, horror and surrealism
to create an aesthetic and radical space in which one can explore alternative values, desires and paths to queer futures.
release date September 2019 (tentative)