In fact, I have very big plans for “after the victory”. I want to meet with friends over a glass of wine, I want to visit museums again, go to the theater and watch a play without a break for air raids, take a walk through a demined forest, travel across Ukraine, visit all regional centers and hero cities. And of course, I want to calmly play all those games that we missed in this very long year. We missed hiding in bomb shelters and sitting “in the corridor”. We missed it because sometimes the desire to play didn’t even arise. We missed it because now it is better to spend money on the military aid than on games. But… much more than the missed Western AAA hits of 2022, I want to play the games that Ukrainians are creating right now and those that they will create after victory.
I want to play an ox-cart caravan simulator like The Banner Saga. A role-playing game about a Cossack magician. A step-by-step strategy about the times of the Hetmanate. A strategic game about the First Liberation War and tactics about Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters with mandatory management of the hideout. An adventure based on Ukrainian fairy tales and something like Mount & Blade about the protection of Ukrainian lands from the Mongol invasion. Puzzles with Ukrainian embroidered ornaments and quizzes on Ukrainian history. A platformer with a motanka doll and Diablo with evil power from Slavic legends.
And of course I want to see games about this war. Strategies, shooters, adventures. About our defenders, about the destruction of Moskva cruiser, about how civilians resisted the occupiers, about the resistance movement. I want to see a serious simulator of Bayraktar and maritime strike drones and a shooter in the spirit of Call of Duty with a burning Kremlin. A game about rebuilding everything destroyed by the Russians. And I know it will all come up. I am sure of it.
For many years in a row, I have been asking Ukrainian developers the same question. Why don’t you create games about Ukraine and on a Ukrainian basis? “It’s not the time!”, I was often told. “Who is interested in this?!”, “It will not be sold!”, “There are universal settings that are well accepted by users in the USA and in Asia!”, “Who could be interested in us?!”…
But the best games that were created by Ukrainians, based on the Ukrainian setting, are Cossacks and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Serhiy Hryhorovych said many times that the Cossacks are our samurai and cowboys, that we can be proud of this setting and should promote it to the West. It is already well known there, all that remains is to fix it in the minds of consumers and fix it as a Ukrainian setting.
And now Ukraine is well known in the world. If a year ago few people would have found Ukraine on the world map, now Ukrainian content, news, photos, videos, and music are spreading around the world. Ukraine has become synonymous with the words courage and victory. Being Ukrainian is honorable. So maybe it’s time to create Ukrainian games? To set a new trend, which, I am sure, will be picked up in the West as well. Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed about Ukraine are no longer just dreams and it’s only a matter of time when they appear.
So I urge Ukrainian developers to create games about their own, because no one but you will do it better. And yes, no matter how strange it sounds, it is also a question of the survival of the nation. Because as long as language, literature, and art develop, the nation lives. And games have long been more than just entertainment – they are an art that is perhaps more important to us than cinema.
In the next few years, I expect a renaissance of Ukrainian game development. And precisely because of the games created on the Ukrainian basis. I can already see it. We already have Island, and although I, for example, do not like city-building strategies at all and do not know how to play them, I will definitely try to play it after victory. We have already Ukrainian War Stories, and no matter how painful, I will still play this game.
More games are in development. The Sloboda strategy for the development of a village in Viysk Zaporizhia is approaching its release. The game Molfar: The Call of the Heart is under development – a mystery about Skoropadsky and granddaughter of the famous Ivan Sirko in an alternate universe. A modern shooter about the Russian-Ukrainian war Glory to the Heroes is in the works. And many, many more games we haven’t heard anything about yet.
Create your own. Add the Ukrainian language to your projects. Feel free to promote your country through games. Ignoring one’s own traditions and history is some kind of inferiority complex instilled in us by the Russians, it’s time to get rid of it!
Dear developers, send your games to the contest Indie Cup Ukraine ’22. Tell us about your projects, and we will gladly tell our readers about them. Because it’s interesting and it’s important. Every Ukrainian work, every Ukrainian game that will be discussed in the West is another step towards victory. Because as long as they talk about us, they don’t forget us and support us.
I hope that after the victory I will have something to play. There is no doubt that Ukraine will win. Glory to Ukraine!