Sherlock Holmes studio Frogwares shares a defiant look at life inside Ukraine

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

Ukrainian studio Frogwares has been very outspoken about the Russian invasion of its home country. Employees were forced to flee the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in May, but just a few days later Frogwares announced that it was beginning work on a brand new project, partially as an act of defiance: "A clear middle finger to those who thought they could just roll into our country hoping to disrupt and ruin our lives," the studio said. As a reward in an August crowdfunding campaign for a remake of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, Frogwares' first game, it also offered followers a chance to put messages on artillery shells that would be fired at Russian forces—and flat-out rejected criticism of the move.

Yesterday the studio shared a status update on Twitter, not on the state of the game but on life in Ukraine, which the studio said has been "quite difficult" over the past couple of months.

"After a summer of relative 'calm' and the ability to create some sort of routine, the wave of missile and suicide drone strikes that started in October have taken quite a toll on us mentally," Frogwares tweeted. "Each morning, you wake up hoping it will be another normal-ish day. Instead you need [to] be prepared to be greeted by explosions at any moment.

"When it happens, you gather your family and pets and go huddle in basements, shelters or bathrooms. Surrounded by a sea of air raid sirens, anti-aircraft fire, and missile blasts, all you can do is sit there, wondering if this is your time."

(Image credit: Frogwares (via Twitter))

The studio also noted the "rolling electricity cuts" and interruptions to water, heat, and internet connectivity that continue to plague Ukraine. Russia began targeting the country's infrastructure with drone and missile strikes, primarily Ukraine's electrical grid, after Ukrainian counterattacks pushed Russian forces out of the regions of Kharkiv and Kherson. Frogwares had some sharp comments about that, too.

"Each time Ukraine has a decisive win on the battlefield (which we WILL all absolutely celebrate) we need also be ready that the next day, the Russians with their fragile little egos will lash out at civilian targets," the studio tweeted. "Useless cowards who have run out of ideas how else to win a war they started so they resort to trying to demoralize, freeze and starve ordinary people."

Frogwares said that, from its perspective, the constant attacks on civilians is having the opposite of their intended effect: "It reminds us why we need to keep resisting, keep fighting, and never consider negotiating." The studio obviously doesn't speak for all of Ukraine, but I have to think it's a fairly widely-held sentiment.

(Image credit: Frogwares (via Twitter))

"To everyone who has been with us through in some way this horrid time, thank you," Frogwares tweeted. "We hope you all have a good holiday break and we'll see you all soon in 2023."

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.