Update Feb. 25, 1 p.m. ET: CD Projekt Red announced it'll support humanitarian efforts amid the invasion.
Update Mar. 3, 6 p.m. ET: Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov has called upon the video game industry to cut support for Russian and Belorussian users.
What you need to know
- Ukrainian studios like GSC Game World, Frogwares, and others have spoken out against the Russian invasion on Thursday.
- GSG Game World called for support from across the industry.
- There's a huge video game development presence in Ukraine, with over 400 companies represented.
Russia launched an attack on Ukraine early Thursday in a move that's already had a huge impact the world over, from sanctions to bombardments of population centers. Video games, like many industries, has a presence in Ukraine, and studios are calling for support.
GSC Game World, the studio behind the STALKER series and the upcoming entry, STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl, put out a statement on Twitter to ask for people to "help those in need."
"Our country woke up with the sounds of explosions and weapons fire, but is ready to defend its freedom and independence ... We thus address all of our colleagues in the gaming industry, players, bloggers or anyone who sees this post in their newsfeed: Share this, do not stand aside," the post said.
There are other video game studios based in the country as well. 4A Games, which is behind the Metro franchise, has offices in Ukraine and Malta and was founded in the capital, Kyiv, in 2005. In an interview with Polygon last week, studio owner Andrew Prokhorov (speaking for himself and not for the company) said that he believes everything "will be fine."
"Our army is ready, [our] nation is ready, and if [a] sick old man [does decide] to invade they will be kicked out," he said. "I hope for peace [to end] the situation," he added, "but if something bad happens victory will be on the side of good guys."
In a follow-up statement to Fast Company, Saber Interactive, which acquired 4A in 2020, said it's continuing to monitor the situation, but doesn't think the attacks will impact development due to a lot of developers working remotely.
"We are prepared to support our employees however we can and remain fully committed to the physical and emotional well-being of all of our teammates, and are in touch daily with studio leadership as the situation develops," it said.
Frogwares, the developer behind the Sherlock Holmes games and The Sinking City, is based in Kyiv and condemned Russia's advancement.
"We can't just stand by. Russia attacks our homeland and denies the sovereignty of Ukraine. We are trying to stay safe, but this is war, there are no two ways about it," a statement on Twitter read. "We call on everyone to force Putin to withdraw from our lands."
We can't just stand by. Russia attacks our homeland and denies the sovereignty of Ukraine. We are trying to stay safe, but this is war, there are no two ways about it.
We call on everyone to force Putin to withdraw from our lands #StopRussianAggressionWe can't just stand by. Russia attacks our homeland and denies the sovereignty of Ukraine. We are trying to stay safe, but this is war, there are no two ways about it.
We call on everyone to force Putin to withdraw from our lands #StopRussianAggression— Frogwares (@Frogwares) February 24, 2022February 24, 2022
Gameloft, a huge mobile game publisher, has two studios in Ukraine. It tweeted a statement of solidarity with its Ukrainian employees, adding that it's also been monitoring the situation.
Vostok Games, which is based in Kyiv and developed Fear the Wolves and Survarium, went the simple route, tweeting out a photo of the Ukrainian flag with the hashtag #StandWithUkraine. Business Development Director Oleg Yavorsky told Polygon that there is already a plan in place to relocate team members if necessary.
Ubisoft also has a studio in Kyiv, which it describes as one of its biggest, that provides quality control and supportive development on company-wide projects. Ubisoft told Fast Company that it's monitoring the situation. Multiple Ubisoft employees have also tweeted their support for their colleagues in Ukraine.
It's worth noting that there are dozens of video game studios in Ukraine, more than we can talk about here. Other huge studios with a Ukrainian presence include Playrix, World of Tanks developer Wargaming, Plarium, and many others. While most of the companies are headquartered elsewhere, they employ thousands of video game professionals. According to a talk by video games HR expert Alina Mudraya on the state of the Ukrainian video game industry, there are over 400 companies with over 30,000 employees.
Narrative designer James B. Jones tweeted out the graphic below from a 2018 report about Ukrainian video game development that will give you a better idea. According to the report put together by ACHIEVERS HUB and UNIT.City Innovation Park, over 70 Ukrainian companies were surveyed and were found to be representative of almost every area in the nation. They also span multiple sizes and develop for almost every platform, including mobile, PC, and console.
I don’t think people quite understand how much the Ukrainian game dev scene has grown in the past ten years. These slides are taken from a 2018 report, too - the number of studios has only grown since then. https://t.co/8ofNLdw0iQ pic.twitter.com/kwsfLiMU59I don’t think people quite understand how much the Ukrainian game dev scene has grown in the past ten years. These slides are taken from a 2018 report, too - the number of studios has only grown since then. https://t.co/8ofNLdw0iQ pic.twitter.com/kwsfLiMU59— James B. Jones (@TheJamesBJones) February 24, 2022February 24, 2022
How can you help?
GSC Game World suggests donating directly to the Ukraine armed forces through a special bank account set up by the National Bank of Ukraine following the declaration of martial law in the country. The number is UA843000010000000047330992708, and accepts multiple international currencies, including U.S. dollars, euros, and pounds.
Verified Ukrainians put together a list of resources that includes donating money for military and medical supplies to organizations like Come Back Alive and Razom for Ukraine. It also suggests supporting the English-language publication The Kyiv Independent.
Meanwhile, other Eastern European studios are doing their part. 11 bit studios, which is based in nearby Poland, posted a statement on Twitter announcing all profits over the next several days from This War of Mine, a survival war game that focuses on the civilian point of view, will be put into a special fund to be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
CD Projekt Red announces it'll donate to humanitarian efforts
Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 developers CD Projekt Red have weighed in on the crisis on their border, announcing it'll be donating one million PLN to Polska Akcja Humanitarna (PAH)
"We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such injustice and we ask everybody to join in and help in any way you can. Together we can make a huge difference!" the statement on Twitter said.
The recent invasion on Ukraine, our friends and neighbours, left us shocked and outraged.
In solidarity with all victims of this act of aggression, the CD PROJEKT Group has decided to support humanitarian aid efforts by donating 1 million PLN to the @PAH_org (1/2)The recent invasion on Ukraine, our friends and neighbours, left us shocked and outraged.
In solidarity with all victims of this act of aggression, the CD PROJEKT Group has decided to support humanitarian aid efforts by donating 1 million PLN to the @PAH_org (1/2)— CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) February 25, 2022February 25, 2022
PAH announced early Thursday morning that it will be providing aid to people who have to flee their homes in Ukraine. Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine, said that it was preparing for up to one million refugees.
Ukraine calls on "all game development companies and esports platforms" to cut support for Russia and Belarus
Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov has called on gaming firms for help in shutting down Russian access to video games during the ongoing conflict. Writing in an open letter posted to Twitter, Fedorov called on "all game development companies and esports platforms," alongside other prominent tech firms, requesting support amid current world events.
You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market! pic.twitter.com/tnQr13BsSv@Xbox @PlayStation
You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market! pic.twitter.com/tnQr13BsSv— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 2, 2022March 2, 2022
"I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarus," Fedorov stated.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.