Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, In Game Form

Well, here’s a dose of weirdness for your day. In the Summer of 2011, Gordon Calleja started to mull over the idea of how to adapt a song into a video game. Hey, why not?  Hollywood makes movies based on song titles all the time. He eventually decided to develop the idea around on the legendary Joy Division song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, and its theme of a relationship on the event horizon of collapse. With the help of Mighty Box Games (based out of Malta) and the backing of the Malta Arts Fund, Calleja eventually came up with the finished, browser-based title, named Will Love Tear Us Apart?, and released it online last week.

Like the song it is based on, Will Love Tear Us Apart? focuses on the darkness of a relationship irreversibly falling apart, and trying to come to grips with that realization. Each level is focused around a verse from the famous tune, and gives the player a sense of both confusion as to how to proceed and certainty as to what the outcome must be. A quote from an article on UK-based music site Fact Magazine quotes Calleja’s emphasis on the graphical design as, “rendered in his mind’s eye as Dürer woodcuts.”

As a game, WLTUA is short, but playable. There is some Italian (Maltese? Is that a language?) audio dialogue, but the text translates across to English, and the tone of the non-translated dialogue is delivered well enough to get the point of what they are saying.  It is worth checking out, and definitely piques the curiosity as to what other song-to-game adaptations could come out of the minds of enterprising game developers.

Will Love Tear Us Apart? is playable on their own website, located here.

Author: Nick McDonald View all posts by
Nick McDonald is a Staff Writer at who started playing games as a kid in ancient dank, sweaty caves known as "arcades." He hails from all over the Pacific Northwest, to the point that he often describes his hometown as "Interstate 5." He currently lives in Bellingham, WA with his wife and three insane little children.

One Comment on "Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, In Game Form"

  1. Gordon Calleja June 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm - Reply
    Thanks for the review! The language in level 1 is a made up one. I wanted the focus to be on the emotional power struggle (dominating or being dominated – partner absorbing you or being absorbed by you, hence fattening and stripping of flesh) between the partners rather than what is being said. It would have been easy to make the argument a verbal one, but I wanted it to remain focused on that non-verbal layer of communication. Which made it a bit ambiguous for some to figure out.

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