With “Through the Darkest of Times”, “Attentat 1942” and “My Child Lebensborn” Paintbucket Games from Berlin, Charles Games from Prague and Sarepta studio from Hamar, Norway, have something in common: All three studios created games that are tackling the history of Europe during or with the aftermath of World War II and the Nazi regime. All the games bring unique perspectives about this horrible time and different approaches, how to handle those difficult subjects in a playable game.
In the panel, Catharina Bøhler, CEO and co-founder of Sarepta studio, Vít Šisler, co-founder of Charles Games and a lead game designer of Attentat 1942, and Jörg Friedrich, co-founder of Paintbucket Games, talked with Andreas about their experiences they made during the development and after the release of their historical games.
The first topic that was discussed was why they have chosen the medium game for their topic, how it differs from books and movies and what kind of reactions they received from the public about their projects – in their own country and from international side.
They gave insights why they have chosen this special topic and why they decided to tell the stories in the way they did with their games. Not all that you can experience now in the three games was planned from the beginning and the representatives of the studios talked about how they grew with their project and how the projects became what they are now.
Another interesting topic was discussed, as Andreas brought up the questions how historians and history teachers reacted to the projects: Now, sometimes the games are used in classrooms to tell the students about history in a modern way, but at first a lot of historians were sceptical about bringing such intense topics into a video game.
The speakers talked about how their view on history influenced the game design, what kind of media attention they received with their games, how they dealt with criticism from the public and what kind of funding they received, to make the games possible.
At the end of the panel the audience had the chance to ask their questions to the speakers and the representatives of the studios gave recommendations for their favourite historical games.
The panel gave a lot of personal and professional insights and the calculated timeslot of 1h 30min was extended by roughly 30 minutes to answer all questions from the audience. This discussion could have last for two more hours, but maybe there will be a follow up during this year to go even deeper into this topic.
If you are interested in all those personal and professional insights from the developers of the games that are tackling these sensible topics, you can watch the whole panel here: