Depression Quest now available for free on Steam

Creator explains publicity conflicts following Robin Williams's death

Depression Quest, the text-based adventure that puts the player in the role of a person suffering from severe depression, is now available on Steam for free.

Zoe Quinn, the game's principal designer, explained her doubts about releasing the game following the suicide of Robin Williams, who was known to have suffered from depression himself.


Her dilemma, she said, was that she didn't want to appear to be using the Hollywood star's death as a platform for publicising the game.

"Literally minutes after we got the notification [that the game was set to ship on Steam], beloved actor Robin Williams was found dead from a suspected suicide after a long struggle with depression," she said.

"The last thing I want for the game is for the launch to seem opportunistic or like it is capitalizing on a massive tragedy."

Depression Quest has been a target for online abuse in the past. In December, Quinn briefly removed the game from Steam Greenlight due to threats and harassment.

Writing on her blog, she explained that the benefits of publishing the game outweigh the risks of generating further abuse.

"I would rather have those people hate me than the people who are currently quietly suffering with this illness sit at their dinner tables tonight and hear the discussion of today's news, hear people not understand how someone who had so much could kill themselves, and lack a resource they could have needed right then to point to and say 'this is why'.

"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."

Depression Quest is also available for free on Quinn's website, with an optional pay-what-you-want model. Some proceeds go to mental health charities.

Quinn said the game "has always been an attempt to make a tool to help people understand depression and reach out to others living with the reality of this disease".

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