In times of war, there are so many stories that put nations in awe. So much fear, panic, and loss that cannot be expressed in one simple storyline. Millions of Ukrainian residents are forced to flee from their homes in hopes of safer shelter.
I know far too well the status of the refugees from Ukraine as my family has evacuated to different parts of Poland and Germany. Luckily, in desperate times like these, there is a beacon of hope for the people of Ukraine. Somewhat like the Batman, the Ghost of Kyiv serves as a symbol of justice for Ukrainians.
As Russians continue to commit war crimes on innocent Ukrainian civilians, it has been reported that they have left up to 5,000 ukrainians dead in the streets of Bucha. Ukraine is in an unprecedented time right now and I don’t think people truly embrace the reality of Russia’s cruelty.
My ultimate hope would be to inspire a video game that sheds light on the cruel nature of the war. There is still a one liner from that Call of Duty “All Ghillied Up” mission that I know by heart. It was when you, the player, was making their way through the playgrounds and malls of Pripyat. Then Captain MacMillan gave the iconic line, “Fifty thousand people used to live here… Now it’s a ghost town”. Hearing this line continues to sting me with goosebumps and a realization of what really happened here. Much of the community would also agree, this is the most influential scene in the game of Call of Duty Modern Warfare. This, to me, is what I would want a game with a character like the Ghost of Kyiv to strive for.
There is another hero on the rise for Ukraine and he has been dubbed as the Ukrainian Reaper. He currently has 20 confirmed kills under his belt as a Ukrainian sniper. Is that not the most bad-ass sounding achievement??? He would make a great addition to a game with the Ghost of Kyiv and potentially even open up the battlefield as the Ghost of Kyiv will probably spend a lot of time in the air.
So I know what you are probably thinking now- how can the Ghost of Kyiv be a main character if he is going to be fighting in the air so much??
Well, the Ghost of Kyiv is truly that- a GHOST… No one truly knows his identity or if the claims of his victories are even real. Regardless, this hero can be an iconic figurehead for the glory of Ukraine (To be the figurehead of Ukraine’s glory is a HUGE deal. This is Ukraine’s national salute, “Slava Ukraini” which means “Glory to Ukraine”). Nevertheless, this opens the world to fantasy for creators and interpreters alike.
To give an idea of what I am talking about, I will describe the Ghost of Kyiv with my desired interpretation…
I can envision the Ghost of Kyiv to be something like the Tony Stark of the real world. Back when Iron Man had nothing but became an icon. This kind of vision can make for excellent character building as we see the Ghost of Kyiv rise to greatness. This is also where we can begin to add the many stories of Ukrainian people that experience loss or victory but we will talk about that later.
The main storyline as the Ghost of Kyiv would begin with the unforeseen first strike from Russia. Some people have seen this day coming with the propaganda in the past decade. Putin was definitely looking forward to this as he describes Ukraine to have put Russia through eight years of genocide and bullying.
Most of the rest of the world was entirely blind-sided with the severity that Russia came with. Not much is known about who the Ghost of Kyiv is so that is entirely left up for interpretation by readers! This makes it even more exciting for us writers as the doors for our imagination opens up.
To start, you would wake up on a regular day in the life as the Ghost of Kyiv. Whatever they may be doing is not so important but just to give an example… In the opening scene of the game, you would be biking on the way to work. You would see the couples sitting outside enjoying their morning coffee, the birds flying around and through buildings, children playing at the playgrounds, and the peaceful, simple life in Ukraine.
Hopefully this helps the player feel at place and at home and enjoy the trip cycling through town.. Then, out of nowhere, BANG! A Russian warhead is lodged into the side of the coffee shop. It has not yet detonated but the sheer force that came along with the warhead has split the coffee shop in half and segments of the building are scattered across the street. The panic is immediately apparent- visually, with a blurred screen and audibly, with the sharp white noise you would hear from a flashbang.
From thereon, the main storyline would take off as you become the hero as the Ghost of Kyiv. Also, just like I mentioned earlier, there could also be an interesting twist with a dual-perspective between the Ghost of Kyiv and someone like the Ukrainian Reaper or President Zelensky.
Working throughout the war with multi-perspective can benefit our storyline with more subjects, settings, and it can better portray the complexities of the war. This will also give us more of an omniscient perspective so we have much more information to work with than characters do which could lead to different characters making painfully wrong decisions or it could display something of a miracle.
There is so much potential for the Ghost of Kyiv to become an icon amongst gamers which could bring a lot more attention to the atrocities that go on in different parts of our world. Many different stories from real Ukrainian people can be added into this game to add a touch of reality and immersion. It would all be experienced through a symbolic fantasy fighter that helps the player scope and unveil the emotions of the modern-day war.