Close to the villagers
Our heroine, Gerda, lives in Denmark and recently married her great love, Anders. She comes from a union between a German and a Danish, which therefore makes her a perfect mix of neutrality to start the game. We do not yet determine her positions at this time, but in view of her tree genealogy, neither the locals nor the occupation trust him. A chain of events at the start of the game pushes the young nurse to carry out the investigation herself and choose who to join.
You have the choice here to trust the Danes, the Germans, both, or even no one. It’s up to you to decide (and try to anticipate) what happens next. Over the course of the meetings, you will get to know better and better the interlocutors who will cross your path, and will decide whether or not they are trustworthy. The portraits are varied and each NPC has its story. Depending on your level of relationship, you will earn more or less points to use over the dialogues and thus expand the possibilities of conclusion.
Character is forged
At the end of each event, you transcribe your thoughts in your journal which will serve as your dashboard. Depending on your conclusions of the day, it will be possible to gain personality traits: intuition, insight or compassion. These same traits, in addition to relationship points, are usable in-game and can get you out of trouble a number of times. Conversely, if you do not have the necessary points (relationship or personality), you will have fewer arrows in your bow and few situations will end well.
This mechanism encourages anticipation, and reflection when writing the diary. We don’t know in advance which traits we will gain, but we think about the situation longer and the game becomes more immersive. The diary is also used to compile all past events, characters encountered, and Gerda’s personality.
Secrets of history
Gerda: A Flame in Winter is based on real historical facts, and the atmosphere is all the more appropriate. From smuggling to corruption, including deportation, the game offers here a much more intimate interpretation of the Second World War, within the limits of this small Danish village. We find ourselves closer to the emotions of the inhabitants, and the ordeals to be crossed are more of an initiatory journey than a classic quest. The very subject of the game induces a solemn atmosphere, almost bordering on contemplation.
We are much less dazzled by the graphics offered, although the artistic direction in the pictorial style is original. It’s quickly messy, with a few bugs and surprisingly long loading times. As a result, the first hours of play are difficult to grasp, but the quality of the script writing catches up with these black points and ends up grabbing the player.
It is also there all the charm of multi-purpose games. We are held in suspense until the end. We find ourselves faced with this heartbreak at the idea of not being able to do everything, which pushes us to always want to go further, and see if “and if…”. It is even difficult for us to see several points of interest on the map and not be able to go everywhere. During these few days spent with Gerda, we are moved, we get angry, we are frustrated and we think like her. And above all, we learn a lesson: sacrifices will have to be made.
Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a hymn to empathy and courage. The initiatory journey in which we accompany this young woman is fascinating, and sometimes leads to a dilemma. It’s hard to save loved ones without causing damage around you… Fortunately, once the scenario is over, you have the option of replaying the desired chapter and changing the course of history. A vital feature, for a game with a limited lifespan (less than ten hours) which pushes the player to keep the controller in hand a little longer and brings additional depth to the scenario.
Gerda: A flame in winter is one of those games that plunges us into one of the most difficult times in our history. It all started in December 1939, in Denmark. At the time, the country had already been occupied by troops for several months. The game by Dontnod and PortaPlay, released on September 1, 2022, is a melancholic, visceral, captivating adventure, which plunges us into the center of the small stories that shaped the big one: that of the women and men who found themselves caught in the crossfire. . Because such is Gerda’s destiny: nurse in the middle of the occupation zone, then of war, having to choose between her duty, her morals and her family. So we warn you right away: Gerda: A flame in winter is not intended for all audiences.
Gerda: A flame in winter immerses us in the daily life of a nurse from a small town in Denmark, Gerda, who has the misfortune to be half-German, half-Danish. From the first minutes of play, you feel the weight of responsibility. Quickly, a seemingly innocuous scene (a reunion on the station platform) turns into a highly strategic moment: your choice of words gives points to one or the other camp, you can be pro-German occupation , pro-independence from Denmark, show compassion or not.
Some decisions will seem trivial to you, for example: let your father or your husband carry your suitcase. But in reality, there is nothing trivial. Because each of your choices determines your affinities with each other, individually, but also more globally: with the Danes and the Germans, the occupiers or the resistance fighters, for example. The set is extremely documented, and for good reason: the story is based on the life of the grandmother of Hans Von Knut, creative director of the game.
This exceptional woman was part of the Danish resistance during the Second World War! She even participated in her experiences and reflections with him, expanding Gerda’s diary and the historical environment of the game. Thus, each scene of the game ends with an entry from Gerda’s diary, taking up both elements real works of Hans Von Knut’s grandmother and elements from your own choices within the game. In terms of the graphic design, the game is also inspired by real works. Indeed, the graphics are inspired by the paintings of Skagen, a group of Scandinavian artists.