#FuckTheWar: Game studios pledge support for Ukraine as Russian invasion continues

Flag of Ukraine
(Image credit: NurPhoto (Getty Images))

Earlier today, Stalker studio GSC Game World issued a statement on social media decrying the "inhuman cruelty" of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where it is based, and called for worldwide support for the country's armed forces. "Our country woke up with the sounds of explosions and weapons fire, but is ready to defend its freedom and independence, for it remains strong and ready for anything," it wrote. "The future is unknown, but we hope for the best, are ever sure of our armed forces and our belief in Ukraine."

Since then, as Russian forces continue to push into Ukraine, other studios have shared their support for the country. Frogwares, also based in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, tweeted, "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."

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"We're a peaceful nation, and in all the years since we gained our independence, we've never attacked or threatened anyone. Because of this situation, our work will be impacted and our lives can be destroyed."

The developer of the city-building game Ostriv shared somewhat more pointed thoughts: "Woke up today at 5 am to the sounds of Russian shelling. Those fucking 'peacekeepers,'" the studio wrote, referring to the language Russian president Vladimir Putin used when he ordered forces into parts of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.

Survarium studio Vostok Games, another Kyiv-based developer, posted an image of the Ukrainian flag and the hashtag #StandWithUkraine.

(Image credit: Vostok Games (Twitter))

"As things stand we are safe," the studio tweeted. "We continue our work remotely for the moment and will react to the situation, depending on how it develops."

Developers and publishers from other parts of the world are also taking a stance against Russian aggression. Polish developer 11 Bit Studios, the creator of the acclaimed anti-war game This War of Mine, pledged to donate all profits from sales of the game over the next week, across all stores and platforms, to the Ukrainian Red Cross.

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"Today Russian military forces attacked the free country of Ukraine—our neighbors. As a Polish game studio and creators of the globally recognized anti-war game This War of Mine—one that directly speaks about the suffering and misery of civilians who are affected by war—we'd like to hereby announce our company statement: We stand against the Russian invasion of Ukraine," 11 Bit Studios wrote, using the #FuckTheWar hashtag.

"Let this message resonate with everything you know about this war and how war kills people, devastates their lives and homes. Let us—players and developers together—do everything we can to support victims of war in Ukraine."

Alongside the public message, 11 Bit CEO Przemyslaw Marszal sent a powerful, personal entreaty to studio employees, which was shared with PC Gamer:

"I’m writing to you in a moment of my great personal anger and sadness. Russian politics decided to invade Ukraine. One country has invaded another. And civilians, normal people will bear the consequences. We, as the team that created the antiwar This War of Mine, as a team consisting of people with empathy and goodwill, no matter what the nationality, must help."

Fellow Polish Studios All-In Games, The Farm 51, and PolyAmorous Games, the makers of Chernobylite and Paradise Lost, also pledge one week's sales of both games to the Ukrainian Red Cross.

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Alex Nichiporchik, CEO of indie publisher TinyBuild, said the company is taking steps to ensure the well-being of its "team members and partners" in Ukraine. TinyBuild is the majority stakeholder in Secret Neighbor developer Hologryph, based in Lviv.

"We have a team of strong leads coordinating efforts of getting people to safety. Logistics, finance, housing," Nichiporchik tweeted. "The best thing to do is keep a cool head, think pragmatic, and anticipate the situation. Nobody gets left behind."

CD Projekt has also spoken out against Russian aggression, saying the invasion of Ukraine "left us shocked and outraged." The studio has pledged to donate 1 million PLN ($243,000) to aid organization PAH, which is preparing to provide humanitarian support to Ukrainians forced to flee their homes.

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"We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such injustice and we ask everybody to join in and help in any way you can," CD Projekt said. "Together we can make a huge difference!"

Separate from that effort, GOG—which is part of the CD Projekt Group—promised to donate its share of the profits from sales of This War of Mine and the grand strategy game Slipways to aid agencies. Slipways developer Beetlewing joined 11 Bit Studios in pledging to donate 100% of profits earned from the game over the next week to the Polish Red Cross' "Help Ukraine Fund." 

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Destiny 2 studio Bungie has also pledged to donate all proceeds raised in the first 48 hours of its Game2Give drive to humanitarian aid efforts.

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Indie studio Amanita Design, based in the Czech Republic, condemned the invasion and said it will donate all of next week's earnings from Machinarium, Chuchel, and Creaks to Czech aid agency PIN.

(Image credit: Amanita Design)

Metro studio 4A Games, which relocated its headquarters to Malta in 2014 following Russia's initial incursion into Ukraine, apologized for the delay in responding to the invasion, saying it "needed time to take care of our families and each other."

"There are no simple words to convey the horrors that happen in Ukraine at this very moment, in the country that is home to many of us," the studio said. "None of us has ever thought that the world of the 21st century can get to the borderline beyond which our game scenarios start resembling reality. We're neither politicians nor superheroes—we're game developers. Our large family includes people from all over the world, and all of us want just one thing—for the horrors of war not to ever break out of our imaginary worlds.

"But the war has already knocked on our doors. And now we can only do one thing—support Ukraine and each other. We bow to the courage of the Men and Women of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who currently defend the country."

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Warframe studio Digital Extremes has donated $100,000 to humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine via the Canadian Red Cross, and invited its fans to support the effort as well. The government of Canada will match individual donations to the Red Cross for aid in Ukraine up to a total of $10 million.

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Fellow Canadian studio Hinterland Games, the maker of The Long Dark, made a $125,000 donation to the Ukrainian Red Cross, "to provide emergency services and first aid, as well as to provide clothing, food, and shelter for civilians. Remember that children are also the victims of this unprovoked attack."

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Totally Accurate Battle Simulator developer Landfall Games said it is working on a program to help game developers who are attempting to flee Ukraine, including "coordinating co-travel, safe spaces in neighboring countries, financial help, visa information, and whatever else we can help with."

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In a new statement sent to PC Gamer, Ubisoft said that after monitoring the situation in Ukraine for the past few months, it advised its employees to "take shelter in a place they consider safe" last week. It is providing "support and assistance" to its teams in Ukraine, including funding for travel and relocation, advance salary payments, housing in neighboring countries, and hotlines to answer questions and address needs. 

"We will continue to adapt and reinforce our assistance as the situation evolves," Ubisoft said.

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Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.