Created by pioneering interactive theatre company Hidden Track, and indie dev Cael O’Sullivan, How to Win: Season One comes to Steam on March 31st for $9.99/€6.99/£6.99.
How to Win is an anarchic adventure/gaming experiment where anyone who plays can decide the rules of the world, and which direction the story goes.
Whatever our players decide, WHATEVER that may be, that is the world that gets created.
Explore the worlds we’ve made so far, find out how they ended, then tell us what to do different in the next world. Anyone can tell us how to play. Only a few will show us how to win.
How do you win a game where any player can decide the rules? Well, there are a lot of ways. Get rich quick through high-octane potato selling; design the fastest, most dangerous roller-coaster/ghost train; fight a capitalist dragon, alongside a monster drawn by a 5-year-old.
These are all genuine examples, from an episodic adventure game where each chapter is based on ideas submitted and voted on by players.
When COVID lockdowns first hit the world in 2020, the live theatre scene was shut down almost overnight. Meanwhile, the gaming industry went through a boom like never before, thanks to a new audience of people trapped inside and looking for new forms of entertainment.
And so, in the summer of 2020, multi-award winning interactive theatre company Hidden Track teamed with indie game dev Cael O’Sullivan for their first ever gaming experiment – asking players what the rules of the game should be, with new chapters created every month based on their ideas.
Hundreds of suggestions were submitted, and the best ones put to a public vote, with each chapter written, developed, and released within weeks of the winning suggestions being chosen.
Now, all 5 chapters of How to Win: Season One have been compiled and remastered on Steam, along with new functionality, unseen cut content, and a call for brand new player suggestions to be used for Season Two in Summer 2021.
Hidden Track’s Artistic Director, Elliot Hughes, says:
“The great (and terrifying) thing about having to create a chapter every month is there’s no time to second guess ourselves, or question the ideas players have given us. Throw a major character unceremoniously into a volcano? Okay, sure, let’s make it work. With the Steam remasters, we’ve tried to keep the rawness of the original stories, while adding in some quality-of-life improvements, restoring some ideas that we didn’t have time for, and getting new players primed and ready for Season Two.”
How to Win: Season One is a fun, chaotic, colourful adventure bringing together a collection of new characters and plot twists that could only have come from hundreds of different voices – but it is also a curious and touching snapshot of the events of 2020, in the middle of unprecedented global events ranging from quarantines, protests, and riots – all of which unmistakably make their mark in the suggestions those players gave, and the stories they asked to be told.
Back then we had no idea how long the pandemic would last. Who knows how everyone’s priorities will have changed when we come to Season Two?
How to Win: Season One comes to Steam on March 31st. Season Two will begin Summer 2021.
Hidden Track is a multi-award winning interactive theatre company based in Manchester, UK. (Best New Writing, Manchester Fringe; Best Newcomer, Brighton Fringe; Nominated for Venues North Edinburgh Fringe Award; ★★★★★ Everything Theatre; ★★★★★ Broadway World; ★★★★★ Spy in the Stalls)
Cael O’Sullivan is an indie game developer, and creator of acclaimed comedy horror adventure SHUT IN, which explores depression and isolation by trapping the player in their own home.
(9.2/10 – FullSync, 9/10 – Cubed3, 4/5 – Adventure Gamers)
Playable demo available at