The game studio 5 Fortress on the world’s biggest stage

The games industry in Norrbotten has gained its first representative on the world stage at the PC Gaming Show. 5 Fortress was specially selected to reveal its new game – Striden.

The game studio 5 Fortress on the world’s biggest stage

5 Fortress, a local game studi from Boden, has made a journey that should not have been possible. In just two years, six people have managed to develop a game that is not only spectacular due to its grand graphics and references to Norrbotten, but also of such high quality that it was specially selected and highlighted during the PC Gaming Show – the world’s most influential event for gamers and industry professionals in the gaming industry. In 2023, the industry had global revenues estimated at $365 billion. 

– It’s hard to describe the feeling. This is enormously significant and I am incredibly proud of the team that has done a fantastic job, says Emil Darsbo, CEO of 5 Fortress. 

The event is broadcast live on YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming services, reaching a wide audience of several million viewers each year. 

The battle during the Cold War 
The game, Striden, is the first production from Norrbotten to feature at the PC Gaming Show since the event started ten years ago. Striden is set in the 1970s in a Scandinavia that has become uninhabitable after a nuclear war between the Eastern and Western powers. A small rebel group of survivors is now fighting for their lives to escape. 

In the worlds where the battles take place, there are detailed references from Norrbotten, but also other parts of Scandinavia. All parts of the graphics are handmade and the gameplay feels reminiscent of Call of Duty, but with a unique character. 

– The work that this team has done corresponds to a result that would require 60 developers at a larger company, says Emil Darsbo. 

How is this even possible? Much can be explained through the company’s founder and creative director Johan Sundqvist, who has a background as a director and producer in the film industry. There, he constantly challenged himself to find smart and efficient solutions to create the best possible results despite a tight budget. A mindset he has brought with him to the company. 

– For example, I do sound, level design, environments, project management, 3D, and gameplay. Everyone in the team has multiple roles, which makes us efficient, he explains. 

Both Johan Sundkvist and Emil Darsbo also highlight the advantage of being based at Boden Game Camp. 

– We have the opportunity to meet and recruit the greatest talents in various fields thanks to the proximity to the educational programs. It’s invaluable for the company. 

Young Entrepreneur of the Year
In April, Emil Darsbo and Johan Sundkvist were celebrated as the young entrepreneurs of the year at the business gala in Boden. Two months later, their game trailer was shown on the world’s biggest gaming stage. A big step for a relatively young company, but hardly unique in the gaming industry. 

– If you hit it right, it can go incredibly fast. We will see where it ends, but it feels fantastic that we have made a game that is selected in such a context, says Emil Darsbo. 

The games industry is one of Boden’s five designated growth areas. In 2022, the game companies in the country had a turnover of 32.5 billion kronor. 

Boden Game Camp is a unique ecosystem for the games industry in Boden. Here, tomorrow’s digital creators are trained in seven different programs, from high school to vocational college level, with about 250 students from both Sweden and around the world. Boden Game Camp is part of Boden’s Business Park, where two EU projects focus on the games industry. Several of Boden’s game companies have their studios here, enabling close collaboration and knowledge exchange between companies and education. The camp works for an inclusive environment within game education and the games industry, with initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion so that all talents can contribute to the industry’s future. 

Photo: Mats Engfors / Fotographic

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