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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Through the Darkest of Times: A game about the resistance against the National Socialism

From the minds behind the harrowing Spec Ops: The Line, the debut title of the newly founded Indie developer Paintbucket Games in Berlin allows players organise the resistance in Berlin at the time of the National Socialism.

Through the Darkest of Times is a strategy game, that lets you play a resistance group in Third Reich Berlin. The game covers the entire time from Hitler’s seizure of power 1933 to Germany’s unconditional surrender 1945. You plan actions of your group while at the same time try to balance the morale of your members, get resources needed for the actions and avoid getting caught by the Gestapo. Big political events follow the actual historical time-line and influence your options and what happens to your group. Your members are fictional and procedurally generated on each play through. They come with different personalities, abilities and views. As leader of the group, it's your job to fight the regime by winning hearts and minds of the people, holding your group together and leading them through the darkest of times.

The game follows actual historical events and is based on real resistance fighters during that time. However, the characters of the resistance group are procedurally generated. This way every game is different, despite the same historical events, and players must face new challenges every time.

The game is set in rounds and chapters, where every round equals one historical week. The growing persecution of the Nazis increases the pressure on players and they must constantly try to raise awareness through actions, while avoid getting caught by the Gestapo.

The four in-game chapters are broken down by important time periods in history: Seizure of power in 1933, height of power in 1936, during World War II in 1940/1941 and the collapse in 1945.

Painbucket Games currently consists of two developers, Jörg Friedrich and Sebastian St. Schulz. Both have been an active part of the industry for over 15 years and have worked on games like “Spec Ops: The Line”, “Drakensang”, “Albion Online” or “Dreadnought”.

“Games are often viewed as the narrative medium of the 21st century. But if someone were to learn everything about the history of the Third Reich from computer games, the Holocaust would only exist as an afterthought", says Jörg Friedrich. "Players can invade Poland as Hitler in the fantasies and narratives of our medium, but the murderous racial ideology of the Nazis and the Holocaust are too often only casually mentioned.

With “Through the Darkest of Times” we want to show new ways how computer games can deal with the topic of National Socialism”, explains Sebastian St. Schulz. “We are certain that games possess much more narrative potential than they have utilised in the past.”

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