While Rise of Cultures loves to celebrate different cultural settings from around the world and across the past and present, highlighting a national holiday like we do now with the release of the time-exclusive German Unity Day questline is significantly new to the game, different to Forge of Empires, where we celebrate the St. Patricks Day every year.
Naturally, we are thriving to learn more about the German Unity Day questline from the Game Designer of the Rise of Cultures Team behind this very special questline, Michael Holzapfel, or Micha in short.

First off, for all readers who might not know about it: The German Unity Day, known to Germans as the “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” and commemorated on October 3rd each year, marks the German reunion of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in 1990.
At the same time, there are many other national days around the world which have a higher recognition worldwide like the Independence Day of the United States or the Labour Day in Europe.

Why did the Rise of Cultures team pick the German Unity Day specifically?

Micha: We have a broad variety of different cultures in our game that can be unlocked by technologies and experienced in our many events throughout the year. As InnoGames has its base in in the beautiful German city of Hamburg, where the “Bürgerfest” is also celebrated this year on the German Unity Day, we now would like to bring an important milestone within the German culture closer to our beloved players.

Of course, only setting a theme with the German Unity Day isn’t all the work that needs to be done. Can you explain briefly what steps there are from bringing the questline like we see it in the game to live?

Micha: Indeed, there’s much more going on than just settling on a theme for an event. Besides planning the workload and art assets, we discussed the quest givers and what we’d like to explain within the quest texts. Then there’s the balancing part for the quest tasks and the rewards that can be obtained by the players – we always try to make those challenging and interesting. Bringing everything together into the game is the easier part as we already have a good process to do so.

This makes the German Unity Day questline much different, right? For those who are not familiar with how events in Rise of Cultures usually look like, can you explain how this questline is distinct to the typical events players usually find like the Thai Event in terms of planning?

Micha: Compared to other events in Rise of Cultures, questline events don’t require any additional mini games. Players get a week time and can solve the quest tasks in their own pace, there’s no restriction for a specific event day to be reached. The challenge here is to still make those tasks interesting. Also, usually we give a certain event currency as rewards which is not the case in the questline event and requires a bit more thought and evaluation.

People familiar with the German Reunification all will agree that there are way too many historical details, and so much pressure to share correct historical information. Isn’t it very difficult for Game Designers to decide what information the questline should include, having players in mind that aren’t coming from Germany?

Micha: In my game design career I often got the opportunity to learn more about very specific knowledge, be it history, interesting locations, famous people and various cultures. In the past, I even had to research ancient lores and fairy tales! For the German Unity Day I already had the cultural knowledge with being born here, although I still did my research. Unfortunately, the quest texts are way too limited to explain all the details, so I leave that to the history teachers – maybe some players are going to do some research on their own?

Lastly, since you’re German yourself, how did you experience the Fall of the Berlin Wall? How impactful was this event for you personally?

Micha: Back in 1989 I had just started going to school, but I vaguely remember seeing lots of news about the event. There was an elusive emotion of relief – or hope? – in the air, as the Fall of the Wall also suggested the end of the Iron Curtain globally. Even though the impact on me personally wasn’t strong back then, it did touch me later when I grew up. Many young people were freely moving throughout Germany and so I sometimes visited the “new” capitol of Berlin (the government was based in Bonn before) and met new friends and great colleagues who were born in East Germany. For me, and I guess also for my generation and the younger ones, it has become quite normal to live in a united country (and even continent) where everyone can move freely and without fear.

Micha, thank you so much for your answers! Make sure to check out Rise of Cultures between October 2nd to October 9th 2023! And join the official Rise of Cultures Discord Server to leave your feedback about the German Unity Day questline for Micha and his team!

For more interviews from InnoGames’ game designers, we can recommend you the blog article Turning a next chapter in Elvenar’ history – Release of Chapter 21!

– Vivien Redmann –
Trainee Community Management, InnoGames