MISSING: The Complete Saga is a reality-based role playing game set in the rural Indian countryside. Through this game you take the journey of an impoverished but brave village girl, Champa, in her fight against her nefarious circumstances, becoming a victim of trafficking for prostitution, and finding her own place in the world thereafter.
Sounds hard-hitting doesn’t it. Its because it is. While video games have tackled real-life issues before (now with much more frequency than earlier), having a game that hits so much close to home, sounds something special.
Developed by the same team, who made MISSING the game, (NASSCOM Indie game of the year award and has ½ million organic downloads in only 8 months) have now moved their attention to the grizzly reality of sex trafficking.
On 31st July 2017 at the Games for Change Conference in New York, MISSING founder Leena Kejriwal announced MISSING’s latest crowdfunding initiative; a Kickstarter campaign for MISSING: The Complete Saga. The campaign will run until August 30th.
“Our experience in the anti-trafficking space for the last 10 years has taught us the importance of leveraging technology to help raise awareness about child trafficking. That’s why this game is so important. That’s why we need everyone to support our kickstarter, it’s going to help us re-shape how India and other countries learn about trafficking” said Leena Kejriwal, Founder of the MISSING Campaign.
While the original Missing took the form of a top-down point and click story, the new game is a 3D role-playing adventure that follows the life of an Indian village girl called Champa.
“We are really big on awareness,” says Kejriwal. “Our main motto is ‘why wait for a girl to be trafficked to save her?’ The issue is not really addressed in India, where sex and trafficking education is negligible. That’s why we want to use art and multimedia to increase awareness among girls and boys.”
The game is not merely a warning against the tactics of traffickers. It’s also an attempt to educate boys, and to spark conversations that might reach the men who pay for sex.
“We want the game to speak to the people at the other end of the spectrum, the men who are creating a demand by buying sex,” says Kejriwal. “We want them to feel what a girl goes through: Her life, her emotions, her frustrations, her total lack of agency.
Missing: The Complete Saga‘s later story also deals with the aftermath of sex slavery. Kejriwal says that most of the girls who manage to escape suffer long-term trauma.
Gaming journalism is mostly an avenue of passion. Very rarely do you get to promote something which is vehemently for the good of the society. Games often talk in meta-narratives and innuendos. For a game to come out and so clearly challenge the norm and offer knowledge of the uncomfortable realities, is not only brave but commendable.
At the time of publishing this article, the kickstarter has 5 days left on its clock, with a little over 17K short in funding. We wholeheartedly hope that they achieve this target and the game seems the light of day someday.