After Russia’s Invasion, Ukrainian Game Developers Still Have Hope

Game developers across Ukraine are bracing for the worst on Tuesday as Russian workmanship continues along the country’s eastern border. Over the past week, Polygon has reached out to more than a dozen teams in that country. Many say they are making contingency plans to protect their employees. Others hope to remind the world that they have had to live with war not for hours or days, but for eight long years.

In 2014, after weeks of protests in Kiev and all over Ukraine, more than 100 Ukrainians died in the revolution later known as the Maidan revolution. As a result, Ukrainian lawmakers voted to remove the country’s pro-Russian president, an event that Russian President Vladimir Putin has labeled an illegal coup. Then, when a new regime stabilized, Putin annexation of the eastern province of Crimea. The result was a conflict that spanned the entire region, with numerous skirmishes and small battles beginning over the course of a decade.

Tensions have escalated over the past month, with more than 190,000 Russian troops mass concentration along the border – including in Belarus, to the north of Ukraine.

“The current situation on the border with Russia is tense, and we [have seen] Oleg Yavorsky, business development manager in Kiev, writes Vostok game, on the second night. “We should not forget that Ukraine has been in this state of aggression from Russia since 2014, and more than 14,000 people [have been killed in that time]. So unfortunately we are used to [living] in this dangerous situation. ”

Yavorsky calls his team and their families the company’s most valuable resource, and says potential relocation plans are already in place. Many other technology and game companies are doing Similar plan.

Yaroslav Singaevskiy, lead game designer at Red Beat, on Friday. “Everyday life in Kyiv goes on, but in the shadow of what might be. No one is making any long-term plans at the moment. Honestly, things get surreal sometimes. And we learn to appreciate more mundane things (like a peaceful family dinner).”

“The situation in general reminds me of 2014,” Singaevskiy continued. “There are a lot of uncertainties, rumors and fakes. […] The main difference is that the state of the Ukrainian army is now more capable, better trained and prepared thanks to 8 years of ongoing war. Support from the West – especially over the past few weeks – is also important.”

Speaking as an individual rather than on behalf of his company, 4A Games owner Andrew Prokhorov remains hopeful but tenacious.

Oleg Yavorsky stands behind Voxtok Studios with a large bust of Stalin.

Oleg Yavorsky was behind Vostok Studios in 2013 with a bust of Vladimir Lenin recently removed from the facade of a nearby building.
Photo: Charlie Hall / Polygon

“I believe everything will be fine,” Prokhorov told Polygon in an email last weekend. He is currently on a personal sabbatical from the company, best known for Metro’s first-person shooter series. “Our army is ready, [our] the nation is ready, and if [a] sick old man [does decide] to invade they will be kicked out. Especially with the help of a lot of dangerous toys that we have received from [the] United States and other Western countries. […] Our Javelins, [and] Stingers, [are] Grease, process and wait for metal foods.

“I hope for peace [to end] he added, “but if something bad happens, the good guys win.”

Late on Monday, President Putin once again raised tensions by recognizing the sovereignty of the breakaway Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, two Ukrainian territories at the center of the conflict since 2014. The Russian military, including armored units, has since moved into what Russia calls a peacekeeping mission. This move caused an international outcry, including by members of the United Nation.

The polygon will continue to cover the situation as it develops.

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