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What Russian developers have to say about 'patriotic' video games Exclusive

What Russian developers have to say about 'patriotic' video games
October 10, 2013 | By Mike Rose

October 10, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive

Russia's government wants its local game developers to be more patriotic -- but how do Russian game developers feel about that?

This week, reports emerged that the Russian Military History Society will encourage Russian studios to make games that paint the country in a positive light. The government also plans to offer grants to developers who join the cause.

I was interested in finding out how Russian developers felt about the move, so I asked a handful of Russian studios about the initiative, and wasn't able to find a single studio that has been contacted by the government. Indeed, it would appear that the cogs have not yet been set in motion, and the plan only exists in concept. But a number of devs I talked to weren't exactly taken with the idea.

Anton Yudintsev of War Thunder studio Gaijin Entertainment, for example, theorizes that the government has no intention of reaching out to and vetting developers to make these games. He believes the whole initiative is a "scripted" farce -- that the government has already chosen game companies to make these patriotic games, and to receive grants, and that there's no widespread reach-out happening.

Alexey Sazonov of HeroCraft, meanwhile, found the government's plans questionable. "In our upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf game we will add Russian weapons, and characters will eat borscht with vodka," he laughed.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf.jpg"But seriously, government is far from business here," he continued. "And most developers are proud that they never used any kind of support from the government - which doesn't exist anyway. We don't have tax breaks, subsidies, grants and international marketing support like in many other countries."

He notes that studios like Wargaming and Gaijin have been making historically-accurate games for years, and questions why the government doesn't just support them instead.

"I doubt the government would offer enough to develop gorgeous games from scratch, so I worry we'll see some Army-skinned Tetris or something like that," he adds. "That would be a shame for our video games industry."

Anatoly Subbotin from 1C Publishing was a little more complimentary, as he noted that his company has been creating games that could be deemed patriotic for years.

"The original IL-2 Sturmovik was released back in 2001, and was telling gamers about the history of World War II from the Eastern front, from the Soviet side," he says.

"We're currently developing IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad which is going to bring the IL-2 series back to the Eastern front and reconstruct one of the crucial battles of WWII."

Whatever the case, it would appear that the Russian government's plans are still in the preliminary stages, and that getting Russian devs onboard with the message might be easier said than done.

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