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Indie Game Award 2023 Winner's Interview : Best Narrative - Birld Island (formerly PortaPlay)

Indie Game Award 2023 Winner's Interview : 
Best Narrative - Birld Island (formerly PortaPlay)

"Gerda: A Flame in Winter" developed by indie game development team Birld Island (formerly PortaPlay) from Denmark, is based on CEO Hans Von Knut Skovfoged's late grandmother’s experience during World War II. He emphasizes, that the game is an engaging and emotional story that is based on real-world politics and history. Every in-game choice can potentially alter the outcome of the story, delivering a realistic portrayal of the era and securing the Best Narrative award at Indie Game Award 2023.

Creating an Atypical RPG Game - The Protagonist is No Longer a Hero

Hans Von Knut Skovfoged shared that his late grandmother Kylle belonged to a resistance group during World War II. At that time, a German informant reported some of her fellow members, leading to the shooting of one friend and the capture of her husband Knud in the Neuengamme concentration camp. After the war, the informant was caught by the resistance and shot.

Decades later, Kylle expressed regret over the death of the informant. While she believed the informant should have been severely punished, the death of the informant did not change anything. The war was ending, and it was just another life lost. "The ethical dilemma faced by Kylle and the challenges faced by civilians on the war front is the basis of this game," said Hans.

"We want to create a different RPG game," he pointed out. Most games and other media portray war with heroic or masculine undertones. The protagonist is often a fierce warrior or commander. However, the team wanted to tell another story: the real ethical struggles of civilians during the war and the difficult choices they face. Therefore, they chose a profession (nurse) completely opposite to that of a warrior as the protagonist. The title "Gerda: A Flame in Winter" hopes to convey the courage sparked by the conditions that Gerda, the protagonist, faces when she discovers her precarious situation

Every Choice Can Change the Story Ending –
Team's Involvement in Charity Collaboration

The team is dedicated to ensuring their game has a solid historical foundation and has conducted thorough research to support their story. Every game mechanic is designed to sustain the narrative, challenging players to question every choice they make and presenting the consequences of each decision. The team's greatest challenge is to maintain the tight and flexible pace of the story while keeping players engaged until the very end.

Furthermore, the team launched a War Child Charity Digital Edition for "Gerda: A Flame in Winter" on Steam, with all proceeds going to charity. While the collaboration was initiated by publisher DON'T NOD, the team is proud to have an impact on real-world events.

Hans commented that he finds Taipei Game Show to be very cool, appreciating the taste of IGA's online ceremony and judging. Competition categories are diverse and include well-known indie games and unexpected games. "Gerda: A Flame in Winter " has been officially released on PC (Steam) and Nintendo Switch, and the team not only continues to support this work but is also working on their next game. Hans emphasized, "We are always challenging ourselves to try new game mechanics and settings, but RPG players who appreciate unique game stories like "Gerda: A Flame in Winter" will undoubtedly enjoy the content that will be released later." For the latest news on Bird Island, stay tuned to the official website.