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Gerda: A Flame in Winter
Featured: Gamescom 2022 Coverage

Why Gerda: A Flame in Winter might be "an actual brutal game" despite little graphical violence

We also learned why hard mechanics are not always needed to create a difficult game.

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When you think about games set during World War II your brain is probably already filled with blood and gore from games such as Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield V. Yet, the war also had great consequences far from the frontlines as illustrated in the recently released Gerda: A Flame in Winter.

The narrative adventure focuses on the young Danish nurse Gerda and her effort to free her husband from the clutches of the German Occupation. And this time, instead of just shooting at Nazis, you actually have to negotiate with them making for some difficult decisions.

"The motivation for doing this was to show, that everybody is a human behind the uniform or whatever clothes you're wearing," explains game director Hans Von Knut Skovfoged. "We want to make sure that you at least learn something about all the characters in the game and understand them just a little bit. Then you might learn, that yes, some of the characters are doing things you might not like, but at least, you might get an idea of why they are doing it. It's not random, it's not because there is some evil force."

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Whether you choose to collaborate with the Occupation or join the Resistance, people are going to get caught up in the middle, and it's impossible to help or save everyone in a single playthrough. Because of this, lead game designer Shavel Moran thinks Gerda is a very brutal and difficult game, despite little actual violence and some very accessible mechanics:

"While the interface is very accessible, the challenges are actually very hard. We sometimes describe the game as an actual brutal game, because sometimes, when you think about a brutal game, it's all about guts, entails and explosions. But these games are actually sometimes very cozy, in the way, that they make you feel powerful as you can overcome every challenge. But this game, even though the interface is simple and there is no high skill floor, it's very challenging and requires a lot of strategic and tactical thinking. So, think of it as easy to learn, but perhaps socially very hard to master."

Be sure to read our review of Gerda: A Flame in Winter (spoiler: we liked it a lot!) and watch the full interview with Hans and Shalev in the video above.

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

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Gerda: A Flame in WinterScore

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

REVIEW. Written by Jakob Hansen

We are far from the famous battlegrounds such as Normandy and Stalingrad, but this new narrative adventure still manages to deliver a gripping story set during World War II.



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