Imagine a cold war not between nations, but against a threat from beyond our stars.
Imagine humanity's reach extended beyond our own borders and into our skies. A new frontier to explore that soon becomes a battlefield for the very soul of what our future is. It is against this backdrop that larger-than-life mechs, piloted by the very best and brightest, clash both physically and emotionally. Hands that both tear through defenses, and that cradle the other in their grasp. Heaven Will Be Mine gives you this stage to act upon, and decide the fate of both humanity and your other selves. It is a visual novel that imagines a "future" where humanity begins to finally expand outward in almost every way, but at the last moment, retreats further into itself. A picture that isn't unlike the reality we face today, but with more cool space stuff.
Heaven Will Be Mine presents you with three protagonists to choose from, Luna-Terra, Pluto, and Saturn. Their celestial nomenclatures tying heavily into both their personalities and their actions. It is after choosing one of these pilots that you guide them through the eight days following, ultimately deciding the future of humanity's relationship with space and progress. It presents ideas of identity, sexuality, and humanity through the lens of conflict against what we define as "not human" and through scientific discovery. At a first glance, comparisons can be drawn to the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, "Ender's Game", with similar ideas at play. However, unlike the violent and dystopic view painted by Card, Heaven Will Be Mine challenges our expectations with both positivity and a look inward at the way we view each other. In "Ender's Game", our best and brightest are told to be emotionless, to be ruthless, to dominate, and to return things to the way they were. In Heaven Will Be Mine, our best and brightest are told to be themselves. To love, to feel, and ultimately pilot what are essentially gods to challenge the status quo.
The message of Heaven Will Be Mine is one of hope but acknowledges the setbacks we will suffer along the way. It is truly modern science fiction, giving us a glimpse into a future we could have, but ditches the usual tropes and conventions of the genre that tired and old stories like "1984" by George Orwell cling to. In today's society, we are finally realizing equality and balance in many realms, like gender identity or financial independence from traditional capitalism. Our overwhelming rhetoric is not one of xenophobia, but one of realizing and valuing the differences in our cultures and in our identifies. However, as we push forward we face a backlash of fear and hatred from a part of our communities that results in turmoil. Heaven Will Be Mine recognizes this and represents it with Earth. United against a common foe, humanity surged forward into the stars. When that threat ceased to exist, we turned on each other. Space represented change. We experimented and called into question what it means to be human, and so, Earth called everyone home and said that those who remain would be the "others". The new foes.
"We are each other's aliens." says one pilot to another.
Space becomes a home to those unwanted. Earth has no place for those born free from the pull of its gravity. Even still, by the end, Earth is never the "enemy". They are compared instead to a lover. One that you fight with, you make up with, and that takes as much as it gives. Even against the forces that seek to drag humanity back from progress, Heaven Will Be Mine says that these factions aren't to be defeated. This message of hope resonates throughout the game, through the battles between the mech pilots, and in the messages traded between and across party lines. The game instead simpl acknowledges that humans always need an "other" to fight. Someone or someones that become the embodiment of our failures and fears. It is easier to blame than to look inward and find the flaws in one's self.
The pilots of this game reflect this idea as well. Even Pluto who many call "perfect", struggles with the pressure placed upon her, and the role of leadership she has been thrust into. The game gives you many chances to see into the soul of these characters and see the parts that reflect yourself. They come across as unique and powerful individuals that also mirror our own insecurities. We see them question themselves and their own beliefs, Luna-Terra's name even reflecting the betrayal that she committed against the faction the Cradle's Graces. Her loyalties tied between the old world and the new. Even as gods they are imperfect.
The relationships between the pilots feel immediately real, and relatable. Despite being on opposing sides, all three pilots have a history. Even within the limited framework of a visual novel, the game does an amazing job of both giving the protagonists character and a sense of grandeur. At one moment the words will feel personal, grounded, and up close. At the next moment, you are lost amongst these giants of technology and progress as they clash with one another on a scale that is almost incomprehensible. It is actually this exact nature that makes the story work. The mechs are essentially invincible and so conventional warfare is useless. Instead, they must find their way into each other both physically and emotionally. Through their words, they find the edge that wounds or find the foundation that forms a sense of security.
Heaven Will Be Mine also talks a lot about the fundamental forces of human nature. It talks about gravity, and of space, and of time constantly. The pull of Earth, drawing those from space back into its grasp. The pull of the mechs, drawing the pilots into each other. The gravity well on the moon, drawing the entire plot to circle around it. Not only does gravity play a role though, but also culture. The game lists culture amongst these forces as well, and in doing so, recognizes the power of art and language. We don't always recognize it, but the things we create as humans define us. Our cultures are our heritage, and when they are shared they are the things that keep us together. Gravity keeps us grounded, time keeps us humble, and culture is the tie that binds. It feels "science fiction-y" to call culture a force of nature, but that's because it isn't. Heaven Will Be Mine instead recognizes it as a force of humanity.
On the surface, you have a game that lets you romance other women in mechs while deciding the fate of humanity. For that alone, I have to recommend it. However, it is everything underneath that makes Heaven Will Be Mine a classic in this genre. It is the message of hope in the face of progress eroding, it is the idea of finding one's identity amongst the stars, and it is the heroism of flawed but caring individuals questioning what it all means that set it apart. Come for the flirting, and stay for the philosophy.
Steam key provided to Third Person by Pillow Fight Games.
Growing up in a small town, going to school for graphic and web design and finally moving to Toronto, Colin began to look for a new project and landed on Third Person. He has always had a passion for video games and finally decided to do something about it. Inspired by websites like Giant Bomb, Polygon, and Waypoint, Colin has founded Third Person with the intent of covering games using a mix of the old and the new.
Colin loves to dive into RPGs of all kinds, exploring their worlds and developing his character. Well-crafted stories draw him in too, and he is always on the lookout for a new adventure.
When he's not spending a billion years in a game's character creator, he can be found behind his camera, reading comic books or probably sleeping.
Some of his favorite games: Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect, Overwatch, Life is Strange, Persona 4