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Ukraine studios call for support, express defiance after Russian invasion

"We hope for peace and most importantly freedom, and the whole civilized world should look for the same."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 25, 2022

3 Min Read
Photo by Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash

Developers in Ukraine have appealed for support after Russia launched an invasion into the country.

Hours after Russian military forces begin their assault on Ukraine, studios from across the country sent out messages of defiance on social media and called on their industry counterparts to send aid.

Stalker developer GSC Game World, based in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, asked industry peers to support the armed forces of Ukraine by sending money to a special aid account.

"As of today, the Russian Federation has officially declared war on Ukraine. Our country woke up with the sounds of explosions and weapons fire, but is ready to defend its freedom and independence, for it remains strong and ready for anything," said the studio in a statement.

"The future is unknown, but we hope for the best, are ever sure of our armed forces and our belief in Ukraine. We thus address all of our colleagues in the gaming industry. Players, bloggers, or anybody else who sees this post in their newsfeed: share this, do not stand aside, and help those in need."

The Sinking City developer Frogwares, also based in Kyiv, called for people around the world to help "force [Russian president Vladimir] Putin to withdraw from our lands."

"We're a peaceful nation, and in all the years since we gained our independence, we've never attacked or threatened anyone," said the company on Twitter. "Because of this situation our work will be impacted and our lives can be destroyed."

Speaking to Game Developer via email, Frogwares CEO and founder Wael Amr described the current mood in the capital as "tense and very fluid," and explained the company has been working with its employees to help where it can -- but for safety reasons chose not to discuss those plans openly.

When asked whether the studio would consider relocating if the invasion continues, Amr said Frogwares "cannot exclude" that option but described it as a last resort.

"The fact the EU is opening its borders to Ukrainian refugees in some capacity is helpful. But it will never be simple to convince over 90 people to abandon their homes, lives and extended family for what in the end, is just a job. Ukraine is their home and this is where their lives are," he added.

Echoing the studio's recent social media post, Amr encouraged onlookers to keep pressure on Russia and stand in solidarity with Ukraine. "We hope for peace and most importantly freedom, and the whole civilized world should look for the same," he continued. "Closing their eyes or quickly moving on within a few days to the next 'trending topic' will have terrible consequences for the world."

The CEO believes tech companies should also "take a stand" against Russia, suggesting that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google do more to combat propaganda and misinformation. 

"The video games industry is a part of the tech world and we have bridges between us and the major technology companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, internet providers, and mobile operators who need to also take a stand," said Amr.

"Their technology is heavily used in this hybrid war -- for information, intel, and fast reaction services -- but their tools are also being hijacked to disseminate Russian propaganda, target independent journalists reporting on the conflict, or to just spread false information to essentially force many to turn a blind eye. Tech companies should do their part drawing a clear line in such a time of crisis."

Amr added that anybody keen to support Ukraine can find useful links on the government-backed Ukraine Crisis Media Centre website.

Other studios in the region, including Metro developer 4A Games and Fear the Wolves creator Vostok Games, responded to invasion by posting an image of the Ukrainian flag on their respective social media feeds. When contacted, a representative from 4A said the studio isn't commenting on the current situation. Game Developer has yet to hear back from Vostok Games.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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