Overnight, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into Ukraine – what he called a “special military operation”, and what Ukraine’s foreign minister says Dmytro Kuleba is “a war of aggression”. Russian troops entered Ukraine on several fronts and dozens of Ukrainians died, Vox reported.
Game developers around Ukraine told Polygon last week that they were preparing for the worst as the country braced for an attack. Some intended to move staff out of Ukraine, while others spoke of years of violence they had already experienced. On Thursday, following Russia’s initial attacks on Ukraine, Ukrainian game studio GSC Game World, in conjunction with other companies and local esports players and teams, is now asking the global fan base to support Ukraine and its army.
“As of today the Russian Federation has officially declared war on Ukraine,” GSC Game World tweeted of the two. his official account and his STALKER Twitter page. “Our country woke up to the sound of explosions and gunfire, but it is ready to defend its freedom and independence, because it remains strong and ready for anything. The future is unknown, but we hope for the best, are always sure of our armed forces and our faith in Ukraine.
“We are addressing all our colleagues in the gaming industry[,] gamers, bloggers, or anyone who sees this post in their newsfeed. Share this, don’t stay away[,] and help those in need.
GSC Game World directs supporters to a National Bank of Ukraine account opened specifically to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
GSC Game World is based in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where explosions and gunshots have been reported. The BBC reports that residents of Kyiv are taking shelter in shelters, while others are trying to leave the city. Some residents, the BBC said, move normally through their day. Vostok Games, another Kyiv-based game studio, posted a Ukrainian flag on Twitter on Thursday morning.
Last week, Vostok Games business development manager Oleg Yavorsky told Polygon that the company has a plan for “potential relocation.” Other Ukrainian studios are taking similar steps, Axios reported.
“The current situation at the borders with Russia is tense, and we [have seen] several provocations have happened over the past few days,” Yavorsky told Polygon. “We must not forget, however, 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 have already become accustomed to [living] in this dangerous state.
Beyond GSC Game World and Vostok Games, Ukraine has a large gaming industry community. Metro Exodus Developer 4A Games was founded in Ukraine but moved to Malta after the 2014 violence. The sinking city Developer Frogwares is headquartered in Kiev, and major publisher Ubisoft has offices in Ukraine. The country also has a growing indie game development scene, as well as an active esports community.
Natus Vincere (Navi) Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev tweeted Thursday morning that his city had been bombed. ZETA Department Apex Legends player Kirill “9impulse” Kostiv, a Belarusian player living in Kyiv, said Thursday he moved to a shelter for a few hours before returning home to Kyiv.
Aleksey “WhiteRa” Krupnyk, a StarCraft 2 player based in Odessa, Ukraine, posted a video showing people gathering in what appears to be a town square. He called Putin a “dictator” and thanked fans for their international support.
Team Liquid founder and co-CEO Victor Goossens reported on Thursday that Team Liquid had opened up its Netherlands-based apartments to a Ukrainian player unable to return to the country. “We will open our apartments in the Netherlands for him and all our friends or colleagues in a similar situation,” Goossens said.
Ukrainian esports team Navi also released a statement on Twitter regarding the attack. “Russia attacked Ukraine,” Navi tweeted. “And now there are hostilities taking human lives and destroying real destinies on the territory of our country. It is impossible that during this war we pretend that all is well. It’s not. We are devastated. Our main focus right now is to try to stay calm and take care of ourselves, our loved ones and those who need help. We are all in this together. And together, we will get through this.