What Happened Brings a Nightmarish Exploration of Mental Illness

A new indie game called What Happened is coming to PC later this month. What Happened is described as a “nightmarish first-person exploration of anxiety and depression”. It centres around an American high school student called Stiles.

As Stiles suffers from severe mental illness, you must guide him through the “twisted corridors of his own mind”. His fate depends on your ability to empathise with his state of mind.

You can discover what really happened to Stiles by exploring the game and each discovery you make “might be that exact thing that might help Stiles in this game”.

The recent press release describes the game as follows:

“What Happened takes you to the other side of the mirror: between adulthood and the American dream, between waking nightmares and powerful hallucinations.

“Stiles tries to make his way through the twists and turns of his unconscious, and the player accompanies him on this mental journey by solving puzzles, avoiding the incessant calls of swarming demons and groping until the exit of this internal maze, of which the layout is constantly changing.

“Magnificently realized thanks to the Unreal Engine 4,  What Happened is a sensory adventure off the beaten track, a witness to the will of the development team to tell a story of suffering and hope in an unforgettable way.”

What Happened Gameplay

What Happened is not a typical game. The gameplay features a first-person perspective and a series of environmental puzzles and cues that guide you through the corridors of a high school.

The game’s director, Arash Negahban says that the main character is suffering from the effects of LSD as well as mental illness.

This makes what you see unreliable. Sometimes the corridors are overgrown with twisted vines and cracked walls. Sometimes they are streaked with blood, with boarded-up windows.

At times, you will see people chasing you or hallucinations of butterflies. With ghostly hands reaching out from the lockers, it’s bound to have a few jump scares here and there.

With Stiles’ state of mind, this prevents us from knowing whether things happen in real-time (or at all). “You never know if something that takes place is actually happening in real-time or is simply a diluted reflection of a memory.”

Learning and Understanding More About Mental Illness

Negahban explains in his Dev Diary that this story was inspired by a neighbour who committed suicide.


He consulted psychologists to learn more about mental illness to understand why this happened. That research led to the development of this indie title.

“That was when we decided to create a way through which this horrible experience can be understood by all through the medium of entertainment and games.

“We tried to, as far as we could, paint a picture to relay the truth of the matter to other people.”

Just be warned that there are depictions of self-harm, drug use and suicide (depending on the player’s actions). So, this might not be appropriate for all and could potentially be triggering to some.

When will What Happened Be Released?

According to the press released, What Happened will be released on July 30th for PC via Steam. It will also be coming to consoles “later” but we haven’t got a firm date on that yet.

You can add it to your wishlist on Steam to be notified when it’s released. At the moment, there’s no price on the Steam page, but hopefully we’ll see that announced fairly soon.

What do you think of the What Happened trailer? Is this a game you’re thinking of picking up? Let us know what you think in the comments.