Grutte Pier Donia, Savior or Pirate?

This is an article I’ve been looking forward to personally. One of the biggest issues we faced when writing the story of Pier, is how we would portray him. Would he be a savior and liberator of his people? Or would he be a brute, a pirate and a vigilante who only cared about his personal gain? As it turned out, the truth lies somewhere in between.

The truth behind the story of Grutte Pier is scattered over many different documents, reports and stories. On the one hand, there is the story about how Pier defeated his enemies, and gave back the land to the Frisians. This story is the one told most in books and schools, simply because it’s glorifying a legend and it makes the people proud of their heritage. On the other hand, the stories tell about a man who was a mercenary and fought for whoever was paying him that day. Turning against yesterday’s friends was supposedly something that Pier and his “Black Band” did not have any problems with.

Savior or Pirate

Savior or Pirate

Both extremes are likely to be partially true, simply because there are two origins of the stories. The one is from the people who actually were liberated by Pier and his Band, and the other by villages who fell victim to the battles taking place. Our take on the subject would not be choosing whether or not Pier would be good or bad, but rather how to display the conflict that was raging from within Pier himself. We chose to tell the story about a husband who loses his wife, a man who had lost his reason for existing, and the man who took up the challenge of getting revenge for the crimes that were done to him. What he would not know, is that his actions from that moment on would define the legend that we now know as Grutte Pier Donia.

On his quest, Pier encounters many challenges of which the outcome should determine how the people could have seen Pier. Will the player cause chaos and destruction on his path, or will he spare the villagers and take out the enemy when the innocent are out of harms’ way? In a way, we hope to create a feeling of responsibility when our audience plays Cross of the Dutchman. The way in which you play the game will make you see how a person can turn into a legend, or strike fear in the hearts of anyone who would stand against him.

4 Comments on “Grutte Pier Donia, Savior or Pirate?

  1.  by  Marygold

    Ah the question within, to be a Savior or a Pirate. Looking at my self, I would like to try to be a savior. But doing some mischief just because you can (you are not really hurting anybody in a game) and sometimes just doing what you want is very tempting.

    From Piers point of view I would also be pissed and fight back, but hurting innocent people would be something I think he would avoid. What do you guys think?

  2.  by  USSGreatePier

    Just imagine losing your family like he did… If that were to happen to me I don’t know what I’d do exactly, except for totally dismembering and BBQ’ing those responsible of course… I can imagine I’d probably start to care less about other stuff, like the people they fought or robbed… After such tragedy strikes your senses and emotions are bound to get numbed a bit, except in the anger department…

    Knowing Pier’s history and stories well, I’d say: yes, he IS a savior… He’s on a quest for revenge, to take back what was stolen, get payment for what can’t be replaced and to add a little interest… But he’s ALSO a pirate; I mean Pier and his cronies need to make a living too… And especially if that’s over the backs of the Dutchmen it’s all quite ok :)

    So, I can imagine this savior to be a little less interested in the well-being of people other than those in his circle of friends…

  3.  by  Remco

    That’s exactly what I wanted to hear, both of you already have a different angle, but I think both would also work very well for the game. It’s all about how you pick your battles that determine what an impact Pier will have on the people around him. Don’t think of it as a choice between good and evil, but knowing what you’ve caused after the battle took place :-)

  4.  by  Markos

    In my personal opinion Pier is neither purely good nor purely evil. He was just the type of man you do not want to mess with, and he was determined to get back at those responsible for his misfortune and tragedy – he would hunt them down to the moon if that’s what he had to do. Revenge was (and is) a very powerful motivator. I can really get into that, myself.

    -“but knowing what you’ve caused after the battle took place”

    Does that mean the game will have an outcome that follows the choices you make in the game? That you can choose what to do in situations, good or bad? You see a castle, you can either burn it down to the ground or friendly advice the people to stay inside and lock their doors? ;)

    Anyway, Pier may have been an angry man but he wasn’t a psychopath. He still has to be sympathtic. I think it’s good it’s a balanced story though. You don’t want to offend the non-Frisian audience. :)

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