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Ukraine game developers speak out in face of Russian invasion

Video game developers based in Ukraine have spoken out, amidst the ongoing invasion of their country by Russia.

Ukraine is home to Stalker developer GSC Game World, The Sinking City and Sherlock Holmes studio Frogwares and Suvarium maker Vostok Games, among others. Ubisoft has two studios in the country, including in its capital Kyiv.

“Our country woke up with the sounds of explosions and weapons fire, but is ready to defend its freedom and independence,” GSC wrote, calling for aid to be sent to Ukraine’s armed forces. “The future is unknown, but we hope for the best, are ever sure of our armed forced and our belief in Ukraine.”

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Ubisoft provided the following statement to Eurogamer, regarding its studios in Kyiv and port city Odessa:

“The safety and wellbeing of our team members is always our primary concern,” an Ubisoft spokesperson said. “We are monitoring the situation closely and have already implemented several measures to help keep our teams in Ukraine safe. We also are providing assistance and aid to all team members. We don’t have more details to share at this time but will continue to monitor and adjust to the situation as it evolves.”

In Montreal, Ubisoft manager David Tisserand detailed some of the work undertaken by the company’s Ukrainian team members.

“It’s hard to put a work-face on today as our Ukrainian colleagues are being invaded,” Tisserand wrote. “If you didn’t know, the teams in Kyiv and Odessa have been central in making the games we love more accessible since [Assassin’s Creed] Origins.

“Most of the customisation options our players have become accustomed to come directly from their passion and dedication to. They’re also the ones improving our engines to ensure we can push accessibility even further in the future.

“I’m scared for the friends I was still having meetings with yesterday.”

Kyiv-based Vostok Games, creator of Suvarium, simply tweeted this:

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In a follow-up post, Vostok said its team was safe “as things stand”.

Speaking to Kotaku, a Frogwares spokesperson said some of its team members had been woken by nearby shelling and rocket strikes.

“We have people all over Ukraine so a few woke today at 5am to the sound of shelling and rockets hitting nearby,” Frogwares said. “The bulk of the team are in Kyiv and they have said there is a fair bit of public unrest and commotion now in the streets as people start to either stock up on supplies or try to leave for the outskirts.

“As the situation keeps changing, Frogwares and the team are watching and adapting as needed. Work has slowed or stopped entirely within certain teams as individual employees set about doing what they need to do to ensure their safety first. Others logged in to at least have something to do / be able to talk to their colleagues and allow themselves some sort of distraction.”

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Sengi Games, maker of the Team17-published The Serpent Rogue, said this:

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Outside of Ukraine, several developers have said they will donate in response. All proceeds from the sale of Polish studio 11 Bit’s anti-war game This War of Mine will go to the Ukranian Red Cross for the next week. The Turing Test developer Bulkhead will donate £1000 to the organisation, while GOG will donate a cut of its sales also.

Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red has said it is making a 1m złoty (around £181k) donation to Polish humanitarian organisation PAH. Destiny maker Bungie, meanwhile, will donate to humanitarian efforts as part of its Game2Give programme.

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Updated with additional statements.

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