That Dragon, Cancer hitting Ouya in 2014

Adventure game about childhood cancer from indie devs Ryan Green and Josh Larson coming to microconsole next year.

Adventure game That Dragon, Cancer--which chronicles personal struggles with childhood cancer--will release exclusively on the Ouya console in 2014, the company announced today.

The game will be self-published by independent developers Ryan Green and Josh Larson. The Ouya team is supporting That Dragon, Cancer with an unspecified round of funding.

"Before Ouya, a self-published game like this would probably never make it to a home console," Ouya said in a statement. "But this story, with its unique art and endearing characters, deserves to come to life in the living room on the best sofa, TV, and sound system in the house--and where friends and family can experience it together.

Green admitted that bringing That Dragon, Cancer to a living room console is a surprising choice given the game's subject matter.

"It is likely not the first place you'd choose to play a dramatic adventure game dealing with the subject of childhood cancer," Green said. "And perhaps for many, this game may be too personal an experience in the presence of others."

"Our hope, however, is that while this may be a personal experience, that it will be a shared experience."

According to Green, talking with groups about topics like childhood cancer can be challenging, but ultimately is a rewarding experience.

"We're finding that when you share your heart with people, they want to share their heart with you, even in the middle of a loud convention-center floor," Green said. "That's what we want to do. We want to create a safe space for people to talk about hard things."

That Dragon, Cancer tells the story of Green's real-world life. His son, 4-year-old Joel, has cancer and is currently fighting his eighth tumor. The game will chronicle their struggle and will touch on the trials of the experience, as well as the lighter, more hopeful moments.

"That Dragon, Cancer will have moments of despair, but I will never leave the player there," Green said. "Our journey has been characterized by hope and many small miracles, a community of faith and a set of amazing physicians. And even in the event we lose him, our desire is that our hope remains."

Green and his wife Amy also wrote an illustrated book--He's Not Dead Yet--based on the struggle Joel and his family are currently going through.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

86 comments
LilithN
LilithN

Why the hell do we have to make a videogame about cancer. Isnt it enough that in real life there are so many fucking possible horrible things that can happen to you, do you have to really smear it into the fun part of life? Omfg, I cannot believe it, even if its therapeutic for the father. 

UmaSama
UmaSama

Well as a "survivor" (never really liked that word) of childhood cancer I can tell you first hand that is NOT something people should experience, I'm speaking strictly from my parents perspective. 

Most children including me, weren't even aware of what we had, for me going to the hospital for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or just plain blood exams was pretty normal. 

Not so much for my parents.

alrepairs
alrepairs

Haha,

This article proves how many kids are in the premises.

Seriously, anyone over 26 begins the fear and subtle understanding of this game's attempt.  ANYONE is at risk of cancer.

You can fucking get it by staying cluttered in your house playing video games all day, or..

Get it being out with friends.

No. One. Is. Exempt.

komuchen
komuchen

Damn, are people really that desperate to be original? Oh wait, it's actually not.

It's just created to be "controversial" or whatever. But this shows industry is running out of ideas.

finalkain
finalkain

Whens the "My life with AIDS" game coming out?


ffs....

Biotasticmeat
Biotasticmeat

Look, my heart goes out to what these people are going through, really it does, but this is just to much. Not a subject that should be brought into the gaming world. Just seems very depressing and I feel like there is really nothing that will bring the gamer out of any state of despair. Just a little touchy that's all. Hopes and prayers go out to the family and personal hopes this game does well, despite my opinion.

xxxInfectedxxx
xxxInfectedxxx

Like I want to get depressed playing a fucking video game.

Thegamer16
Thegamer16

I will probably buy an ouya for this


hadlee73
hadlee73

A game like this is a reviewer's nightmare. If you rate it low people will call you a heartless b'stard, and if you rate it high people with accuse you of only doing so because of the sensitive subject matter. Yep, I don't miss being a game journo AT ALL, lol

korvus
korvus

If it's still coming for PC I want to play this but I think it'll take some time to gather up the courage.

jflkdjs
jflkdjs

I like the concept of this, hope it turns out good!

pcty
pcty

It will be a big failure unless they release it to other platforms.

Killermonkey97
Killermonkey97

Eat your heart out Roger Ebert. This game is gonna make people cry. Too awesome. 

Driscoal
Driscoal

How sad that a game about a subject as profound and important as childhood cancer will be played by exactly 17 people.

Holy-Rapture
Holy-Rapture

Hopefully this can at least make it to the PC, i wanna play T_T

Hurvl
Hurvl

I've never heard much about games based on a true story, but I've read about this game and a lot of people who are sick of shallow, emotionless games really like this game. I've always liked non-real books/movies/games, but simply knowing it's real makes a huge impact on people that a fictional story never could. Hope the game's successful.

wgerardi
wgerardi

I applaud the creator for making this game- hopefully it helped him cope.

BarraKas
BarraKas

microconsole?wtf im offended by that!

iamllamapie
iamllamapie

This is a beautiful thing to do. Most people, especially teenagers throw about "I hope you/your family get cancer" as an insult without knowing how it affects families and said sufferer. Although he is not a child, my dad has been diagnosed with leukaemia and is fighting so hard. You never think it can hit you until it does.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

We should never judge another human being. And further, until you have a child going through cancer, you can't judge the creator of such a game. Perhaps it was therapeutic for the creator.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

I love the art style.  I this is like an interactive movie then it's caught my attention.

mario1028
mario1028

Sounds like an interesting project, and it will be an outlet for him to share his son's experience (which is important). Not sure it's a game I would want to play, though...doesn't sound like it would be fun (which I guess is the point, but still).

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

MY only question is, considering this is about his own kid, will the game have an ending, and if it does will it be the ending cancer brings most times or a hopefull ending of what he wishes will happen with his son, honestly I wouldn't want anyone to have to deal with something like that, if it's a good decision to do the game or not it really depends on him, but I don't think, specially since his son is only 4 and probably doesn't understand much of how things are yet, that he shouldn't base the game on him, maybe use his son for inspiration for another character, but not him.

callsignalpha
callsignalpha

Guys ! I know that people wont really like this game but lets at least show some sympathy.I mean this guy has a 4 year old son with cancer. Cancer is not something that should be taken lightly.Its a curse....so lets show a little bit of sympathy.

alrepairs
alrepairs

Get it eating a strict, healthy diet.


Get it being a schitzophrenic.


Get it being a President, an Olympian, a fatass.


Cancer doesn't give a shit who you are.

narpassword
narpassword

@komuchen Did you read the article? This was created by the father of a child with cancer, who happens to be a software developer.

alrepairs
alrepairs

@finalkain Fucking Child.

At least AIDS is preventable with abstaining from sex.  

Cancer, is not preventable.  Remember fighting Ruby Weapon from Final Fantasy 7 and having whirlwind thrown at you?

Remember fighting Seymour from Final Fantasy X and having him cast "BANISH" on your comrades?

Remember how cheap it felt to battle campers in ANY FPS game, in your first run playing the game/map?

THAT, is Cancer.

narpassword
narpassword

@Biotasticmeat Then don't call it a game. He could have written a book, drawn a comic, made a film, or composed a song as a means to express this situation and no one would have given it a second thought. It just happens that the outlet he chose was a piece of interactive software, because he's already a developer and that's what he does.

korvus
korvus

@iamllamapie My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer early and thankfully that went ok but now my father got diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was diagnosed very late, so it's not looking good.


All the best to your father and strength for you and your family =)

Hurvl
Hurvl

@iamllamapie My dad has had prostate cancer (it got noticed pretty quick) which means that I'll probably get it as well, since it's the most common cancer form for men.

unreal101
unreal101

@helldragonzer  Maybe there could be a few endings. Hell, they could even be randomly assigned. Cancer is a pretty unpredictable beast.

unreal101
unreal101

@G4m3r0uTL4wZ 

Do try take into account that making this game is a parent's way of dealing with his child's sickness, and expressing the emotions associated with it. This is not EA trying to steal your money - this is a small effort that comes from a genuine intent to share with people.


I do agree that maybe this isn't the best format for this subject matter, but if it raises awareness and maybe some funds for cancer research, who are we to say no to it?

feleas
feleas

@G4m3r0uTL4wZ I think Ryan Green is making this game because he's getting desperate in his son's battle with cancer that he's hoping to raise more awareness with cancer so as to get more donations for treatment and research.

XxTheEvilxX
XxTheEvilxX

I agree completely with your comments. This is not the kind of subject that should be exploited for game development ideas regardless of the reasons for it. You don't need to make a game in order to raise money for cancer. There are plenty of ways to do it.

I am very sorry to hear about your mom's suffering. I know she is in a much better place than the world she left behind. 

finalkain
finalkain

@alrepairs  My Aunt is currently undergoing chemo for terminal Lung Cancer. She is the last living relative I have outside of my children. Please tell me more about what Cancer is.

My comment was callous. I made it that way on purpose. Whether you see gaming as art or entertainment or both, In My Opinion, some subject matter is not proper for this Medium.

I raised this concern over an indy developer that wanted to kickstart a cheap game about Riots. I disagreed with that subject as well and still do. 

In My Opinion, a Game can never Convey anything of the real experience and cheapens it, distorting the true events into some kind bizarre scenario that in no way shape or form relates to what its really like to experience it. Hence it should remain untouched, no matter the intentions behind its creation.

feleas
feleas

@unreal101 @G4m3r0uTL4wZ well music artists dedicate concerts and shows to supporting something because it's one of the only ways they know how to do things lol. so why can't game developers do the same?

narpassword
narpassword

@XxTheEvilxX This is a very clear case where the term 'video game' is limiting to what this medium is capable of actually doing. In this case, it's a form of interactive expression.

the_craig
the_craig

@XxTheEvilxX How is making it into a "game" any different than making it into a book or a movie? "game" may not be the best word for it, but an interactive environment would be very impactful. 

alrepairs
alrepairs

@finalkain @alrepairs Holy crap she had both AIDS and Cancer?

when I was a kid I used to laugh at South Park for making fun of AIDS and Cancer.  

But growing up, you get uncomfortable when those shows are on.

I drink about twice a week with friends socially...so i'm in the same boat lol.  You seem cool though...like you're real and have experience.

I've heard of people living their entire lives being smokers, stoners, and raging alcoholics without cancer at all lol.

Then you have my grandpop, who died of cancer without touching a cigar or a bottle of...anything lol.

I do think the doctors are "intentionally" not looking for a cure, so they can get paid.

finalkain
finalkain

@alrepairs tyvm Alr. I Chain smoke so I know what Im getting... just dont know what flavor its gonna be. funny enough, they did recently, several months back, save a young girls life who was about to die from terminal cancer of some type with a form of AIDS. Which in turn practically killed her itself but it was a last resort option. 

The AIDS Virus reprogrammed her weak immune system to auto attack the cancer... she survived it it cured her amazingly enough.

Theres hope.

alrepairs
alrepairs

@finalkain I hope your Aunt ends up Okay..I promise i'll think of her and hope she destroys that asshole, ending up on top  :).

alrepairs
alrepairs

@finalkain @alrepairs I do believe gaming can be a method of art, to the extent that it can be connected to the player emotionally, if executed correctly.

With that being said, I would honestly be somewhat scared to play this, as my grandpop died of Prostate cancer and with me having a test next month out of fear I might have it too.

Cancer is no joke...that is the only disease ANYONE can get by doing absolutely nothing, or everything, or in between in their lives.

There is no underlying cause for it...it's a biological occurance from within our genetics.  

That is why the poison used to help us win against it is tough to deal with physically and emotionally.

narpassword
narpassword

@unreal101 There's a game based around depression that I think is a good example of interactivity getting a point across better, by potentially letting the audience empathize with the game's designer. Well, it's not that interactive, really just a multiple choice narrative. A choose your own adventure story, basically. But as the character falls deeper and deeper into depression you start seeing choices get crossed out. So even though the options might be go out and have fun, talk to someone, etc. you can't choose any of them. There's a really good article online that goes into detail about how an interactive medium can be used in ways that go beyond just games. I think it mentioned this one, actually. I don't have the link on hand at the moment though.

unreal101
unreal101

@feleas @unreal101 @G4m3r0uTL4wZ   Maybe they can; I just personally don't see how the experience can be more meaningful by making it interactive. Maybe this guy knows

the_craig
the_craig

@helldragonzer @the_craig I do have one, and until we see the July sales numbers, we wont really have an idea of how many other people do. 
They will most likely release this on the PC six months after it's OUYA release as well. OUYA is just offering money to anyone that signs a 6 month exclusivity deal.

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

@the_craig still it's for OUYA, unless you have the console you won't be a part of the experience, a book and a movie everyone can see and be a part of, but not this.