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The Student News Site of Mission Hills High School

The Silvertip

The Student News Site of Mission Hills High School

The Silvertip

A Deep Dive: Who’s Lila?

The+YouTube+cover+image+of+the+official+Whos+Lila%3F+trailer%2C+created+by+GarageHeathen+on+Steam.+It+is+an+indie+game+in+the+psychological+horror+genre+that+encompasses+several+game+mechanics+and+story-telling+tactics+to+entrance+players+and+create+a+complex+storyline.+
Photo by GarageHeathen
The YouTube cover image of the official “Who’s Lila?” trailer, created by GarageHeathen on Steam. It is an indie game in the psychological horror genre that encompasses several game mechanics and story-telling tactics to entrance players and create a complex storyline.

Ever since the 2010’s, indie games have gained traction and attention from gamers and the general public alike; despite the flashing lights on the genre, there are still many hidden gems that deserve more than they currently get. On February 23, 2022, the game Who’s Lila? was released to Steam by game developer GarageHeathen with very little attention towards it at first. The game brought a new concept to the psychological horror genre by having the player morph the characters’ features unnaturally, adding to a very unnerving and ominous atmosphere—but what really caught people’s eyes was the depth and complexity of the story and how bizarre and mind-boggling it got.
“I remember one of the first things that really stood out to me were the game mechanics, like the way we had to make William smile in an inhuman way, or the way that there was no dialogue audio, and all the weird noises that would play at every corner,” junior Eva Russel said.
While the game itself is not glaringly popular, it’s been picking up a lot of traction due to its gameplay, which stands out amongst its competitors. Who’s Lila? features a very unique mechanic where the player is challenged to click and drag the main characters (William) face around to make facial expressions. As the game states, William struggles with presenting and understanding emotion, therefore the player is in charge of doing the “correct” emotion in a limited time–but there is also a chance of making the “wrong” face, which could majorly impact the way the story moves. The game also uses audio and noise very well, making choices such as: no dialogue audio, uncomfortable silence, eerie and stressful music, and symbolic sound cues that all tie in to make the atmosphere.
“When I got deeper into the game, it…captured me more, you know? All of a sudden, the mystery of Lila is introduced, you have Tanya’s disappearance, the Lawrence Fraternity, all of that coming together and it makes everything more intense.” senior Chris Ornelas said.
The game’s lore, to say the least, is complex. Made up of various strings and 15 different endings with different meanings and relevance, the game curiously doesn’t connect its “true” ending or story to a single ending or line. Instead, different aspects and points from every path and ending come together to make the bigger picture of its story. The most critical points to understanding the story are: Tanya’s disappearance, the Lawrence Fraternity, the mystery of Lila, Lila’s significance and impact on William, who William really is, and Detective Yu’s position. There are many other aspects aside from those, but those are the most significant.
“I don’t know for sure, but I feel like the Lawrence Fraternity was what started the whole Lila thing. That’s what I got from the game.” junior Mikayla Brown said.
While the game starts at a point in time after Tanya’s disappearance, the Lawrence Fraternity is continuously mentioned, as well as the horrible fire that tore down its headquarters and ended lives that day, William curiously being one of the only ones that didn’t attend that specific meeting. Certain playthroughs lead to the discovery that the Lawrence Fraternity was actually a cult that worshiped the being Lila, who was what they believed to be an artificially made noosphere dweller (a conceptual archetype that holds immense power and control when allowed into the human world), but they quickly lost control over her influence as she took over William and burned their organization down so she could remain in the world. This leads to William eventually meeting Tanya Kennedy at a highschool party, who looks nearly identical to Lila. Because of this, William asks, “Who’s Lila?” which summons Lila’s power into their sphere, and in jealousy, causes Lila to get rid of Tanya. The rest of the paths and endings then come together to explain some of the broader topics; they explain how William worshiped Lila out of naivety and attempted to rid her from his mind before she took over and banished him onto another plane, this being presented by tape reels and wheels in the game. Through a series of conversations with Detective Yu after every ending, the player also discovers that Detective Yu is meant to be “You,” the player, but not fully.
“Honestly, I really loved the game. I’m always surprised it isn’t more popular, it has a really good story and great gameplay. It’s really creative with the way it forms its story, and it always has something to focus on. I think it even has an ARG? It’s really smart.” junior Eva Russel said.
Who’s Lila? also features an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) that can be followed to discover deeper pieces of the story, and also give an insight into hidden secrets and elaborate on concepts, such as the noosphere dwellers mentioned earlier, that were not previously explained. It comes out to be a very complex game with a surprising amount of secrets hidden underneath the surface, all detailing a well-thought out story. The video Who’s Lila? – Story Explained by Flawed Peacock is a much better in depth analysis of the whole game than this may be for anyone who is further interested in the game. Every detail is put in for a reason–nothing stands still for no reason, and that is Who’s Lila?’s beauty.

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