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Closed Hands is an experimental work of interactive fiction from PASSENGER, it's recently jumped over from to Steam. For the Steam release it comes with some exclusive extras like a developer commentary, a full soundtrack, an ebook of the story and access to a library of original artwork, sketches, and example Ink scripting files.

The story follows the lead-up and aftermath of a terror attack in a fictional UK city, as you follow five main characters. With the gameplay progressing through a free-form fragmented narrative, it allows you to make your own path through the story with it going backwards and forwards in time. Part of the aim is to "challenge wider preconceptions users have about video game storytelling" and help players "understand the complex effect extremism has on people’s perceptions of cultures and communities".

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Closed Hands was developed by Manchester indie games studio PASSENGER, formed and directed by artist and writer Dan Hett, winner of the New Media Writing Prize 2021.

"We’re really excited to present CLOSED HANDS to new audiences, and we really hope that it helps push forward the idea that games should, and can, boldly hold up a mirror to our reality in new and interesting ways. The story is deep and complex, and presented in a way that we hope can be explored by both games audiences and those outside it, too." - Dan Hett, Director of PASSENGER

Game Features:

  • A rich, deep work of interactive fiction - 130,000+ words across almost 150 scenes written by Dan Hett, Dan Whitehead, Sharan Dhaliwal and Umar Ditta
  • Five distinct intertwining character arcs, and dozens of additional scenes to fill out the full story. Follow a single character, or move between them to understand the full picture.
  • Nine possible endings to the game, with non-linear progression to get there. Discover everything by experimenting with key character decisions.
  • Features a dynamic ambient soundtrack by Ciaran McAuley (RUMA) that reacts to tension and events within the game as it unfolds
  • Game theme music composed and performed by Paul Wolinski (65daysofstatic, No Man's Sky)

You can buy it on Steam or

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The comments on this article are closed.

Janne Oct 8, 2021
Did you try it? It sounds like it could be either trite or very profound.
Cheeseness Oct 9, 2021
Disclaimer: I was contracted to help get Linux builds of this game off the ground and into people's hands, and I assisted with the Steam release as well.

Quoting: JanneDid you try it? It sounds like it could be either trite or very profound.
If it's helpful to know, Closed Hands is available under a pay-what-you-want model on Itch if you'd like to get a feel for the game before deciding whether it's something you'd like to buy or not.

As mentioned above, the Itch version does not come with the extras/enhancements included in the Steam version.

Edit: The game's lead developer has also had some personal experiences of a terrorist attack, which might be useful context to know, but I think the game's writing and narratives do a good job of speaking for themselves.

Last edited by Cheeseness on 9 October 2021 at 3:06 am UTC
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