|“A while ago, something terrible happened in India, my home country. A young girl, a student, was brutally mutilated by five men in a moving bus and died of her injuries shortly thereafter.
As a nation, it shook us to the core. Many of us realized that there was something fundamentally wrong in the relationship between males and females in our country. Every year, millions of female fetuses are aborted in India because males are preferred; it has led to the odd situation that if you’re going to have a baby, it’s illegal to find out if its a boy or girl.
This world, composed of individuals such as myself, seems to be a cynical, brutal and self-destructive place. When I find myself assigning responsibility for this mess to other individuals, I cannot help but see slivers of the same darkness within. This leads me to examine my life, and further, my work. About a year and a half ago, I started working in earnest on a new game concept. In the beginning, I worked on the gameplay and mechanics and once we were a ways into creating it, I started to think about the fiction of the game (the game world, characters, theme).
At this point, my daughter Sitara (means the Morning Star) was born and Shit Got Very Real. She had been born into a misogynist, violent world and it struck me that I couldn’t just sit there sharing articles on Facebook. The most effective tool I possess is my work creating video games. I decided to make a game that would strive to be fun without using violence, battle gender stereotypes and be engaging without deliberately creating addiction.
I was lucky to be part of a team that supported this direction for our game. We were aware of the consequences of these decisions; we were going against the market. Gratifying violence sells, and a female protagonist in an action game is considered out of place; but then this is exactly what we’re trying to fix.
Bird of Light has taken a year and half to make; for most of this time, we’ve managed to support ourselves through our part-time teaching jobs, client projects and loans from family. It’s been interesting, to say the least. At one point, you realize that a project born of purpose stops being work and becomes a central part of life; personal and professional challenges start to become indistinguishable. Survival starts to feel like victory and once you’ve lived like this for a while, the Fear leaves”
– Rahul Sehgal, Developer of Bird of Light