That Dragon, Cancer is a game that got its start 3 years ago, when Ryan Green, one of the developers, felt the helplessness of a parent unable help his suffering son, Joel Green.
Ryan first visualized the game while watching over a dehydrated Joel at the hospital. Having just gone through chemotherapy, Joel was strained and unable to drink anything. Ryan mentions that he felt so helpless that he just sat down and prayed. This feeling would eventually lead him to create the first draft for That Dragon, Cancer.
Realizing that the story had potential and wanting let the world know about Joel, Ryan attended a gaming conference in 2013 where he presented the idea. Amy, Ryan’s wife and the writer for That Dragon, Cancer, was a bit skeptical about the whole thing, thinking that the game’s theme was too dark. But that skepticism was quickly turned around when financial backers started supporting them, allowing the couple and their team to start working on the project full-time.
That Dragon, Cancer was originally going to end with Joel’s miraculous recovery, but was changed due to Joel’s untimely death; a devastating event that would make the Green’s question why they were doing this in the first place, but sadness turned into inspiration and they used the game to channel their grief and create a masterpiece.
The game has been released today, January 12, in honor of Joel’s 7th birthday. That Dragon, Cancer is available on Windows, OS X, and Ouya, receiving a 9 out of 10 on Steam and a 4 out of 5 on Metacritic. Definitely a game worth seeing.