A small Ukrainian indie studio TeamBavovna announced a visual novel about the Russian-Ukrainian war The Nightmare Winter, the first part of which should be released already on November 30, 2022. The editorial staff of Mezha, who believe that we need more Ukrainian games about Ukraine, including about this war, took the opportunity and asked several questions to the team representatives. Until recently, this game was called The Endless Winter, the name was changed literally during this interview.
What exactly is your game about?
The Nightmare Winter is a multi-part visual novel, the plot of which is based on each of the player’s choices. Based on real events in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. We offer to see the events of the war through the eyes of Alisa – an ordinary student from Mariupol, whose family wakes up at 4 in the morning from explosions outside the window. The purpose of Alisa’s life after that morning changes and she now has only one goal – to save herself, her mother and sister by leaving the city, which is under constant shelling. She needs to get to her grandmother in Zaporizhzhia. During this day, you can learn more about Alisa’s family, establish a relationship with her mother, see the experiences of children of war through the eyes of the younger sister of the main character, and find the answer to the question: what happened to her father?
During the game, you are accompanied by various people close to Alisa, one of whom is her friend Stas, a blue-haired guy from Mariupol, with whom the heroine is in contact all the time. How long will they last? Can you survive February 24th? Everything depends on you and your choice, but remember that even after the end there is a chance to change everything.
Tell us a little about TeamBavovna? Who are you, where are you from, do you have experience in game development?
Four people from our team are from Kyiv, one from Kyiv region, and another from Kherson. Currently, all but one person are in Kyiv. One is an internal migrant, the other is a refugee abroad.
Before this, we had no experience in game development, but our team is filled with a huge amount of enthusiasm for game development, despite a complete lack of experience.
A musician who plays in the street and writes songs.
An artist who didn’t graduate due to a full-scale invasion.
Another artist studying 3D modeling.
Screenwriter studying at Taras Shevchenko University at the Faculty of Ukrainian Philology.
A PR manager who did not do this before, but continues to study as an artist.
And a schoolgirl who will become an artist.
We are absolute newcomers in this field, and here is a brief overview of who we are and what we do:
Susanna Zubchenko (Bisususa) – idea, script, character concept, final part, coding, sounds;
Mariia Smolyar – script, translation, news voice;
Yehor Barbarskyi (BarBADroid) – the basis of the artistic part and background;
Veronika Mashkovska – promotion and media, translation editing;
Moki – art and background concepts;
Slava – sounds and music.
The person who organized all this had the idea of The Nightmare Winter back in May, during volunteering, but the courage to implement it appeared only in September.
We are all friends who suffered in one way or another because of the war, who wanted to somehow show the world the experience of thousands of people, even if it is just a game.
The war affected everyone on our team, without exception. Someone was forced to leave their city, someone was under occupation or had relatives who were under it, and someone lost their relatives forever. We were all furious and our hearts were breaking with pain. Our goal was to show how we felt and how we would act if we had the chance to make things right.
What are your goals for this project?
Our goals are:
1. Since the game will be in Ukrainian and English, we want to give foreigners the opportunity to learn more about Ukrainian realities.
2. An opportunity to reflect on what we might change if we returned on the morning of February 24.
3. To contribute to the Ukrainian game industry.
4. Show the feelings/experiences/thoughts of different people, be it an ordinary student or a little girl. And how war affects everyone, even animals.
The Nightmare Winter is a paid game or a free-to-play game, like the Ukraine War Stories which is similar in spirit?
The game will be completely free and we have absolutely no budget. We do it on our own initiative. We think making this game paid is just damn wrong. It would mean earning on someone else’s tragedy. This is not a story about money, but about our goals. If people want to support our game to improve and develop, they can donate, but we were not going to take money for it and we are not going to.
Where and how will The Nightmare Winter be released?
The game will consist of 9 parts. You will see the first one soon, on November 30, the others – a little later.
Parts will be released about once every two months, maybe we will speed up over time as we improve our skills and production methods each time.
Look for The Nightmare Winter on Game Jolt (a social gaming network and platform for young people – ed.), at this link. The version for Windows, macOS and Linux will appear on this profile on November 30.
Thank you for the answers. Good luck and we are looking forward to the release.