Today, we had a chat with participants of the Ukrainian pavilion, who will have not only branded stands but also access to separate meeting rooms where you can talk to studios’ representatives.
Meet Frogwares, renowned for the Sherlock Holmes series and Lovecraftian-themed titles, Frag Lab, the developer of an AAA free-to-play FPS Shatterline, and Fishing Planet, with which you can enjoy fishing without leaving your home.
Join us as we delve into various topics with our participants, both concerning their recent activities and the game dev industry in general.
Ukrainian Game Dev: What Is It Like Now?
As you might have noticed in our previous article, one of the key goals of the Ukraine Pavilion is to showcase the incredible resilience of Ukrainian teams and stand strong in support of the industry, especially during these tough times. Speaking of challenges, let’s take a closer look at how these awesome teams are tackling them.
Igor, Frag Lab: I believe the biggest challenge for game development companies in Ukraine is ongoing russian aggression. I don’t have the authority to assess the overall state of the industry, but I’d guess that many companies in Ukraine were in a similar position as we were, when it was necessary to look for a new publishing partner after the war started. It was a big challenge for us, as very few companies want to invest in the country where all major cities are under constant missile shelling.
Also, many Ukrainians left their homeland after the war started, but luckily, the majority of companies developed effective remote work pipelines during 2 years of the COVID pandemic. We believe that the future of the industry in Ukraine is bright, though we have definitely entered a huge turbulence zone.
Traditionally, Ukraine has lots of talented people and we are pretty sure that there will be lots of demand for their ideas and skills.
Dmytro, Fishing Planet: On the one hand, our market, pushed forward by COVID, is developing very quickly and needs professionals and new games. On the other hand, some employees have joined the armed forces of Ukraine, and it was a one-way journey for some of them. It is also difficult to set exact deadlines given power outages and blackouts.
Still, we’ve maintained our performance despite these issues. To my mind, many companies continue developing fascinating and high-quality products.
Sergey, Frogwares: I’d say the biggest issue is uncertainty and the literal life-threatening conditions we all have found ourselves under. However, once the war is over, I believe the Ukrainian game dev will quickly rebound and grow.
On the bright side, there’s a silver lining for the entire industry, even in the midst of the chaos that the war has brought. The market is still alive, it is developing and scaling, all thanks to the remarkable strengths of Ukrainian teams.
Sergey, Frogwares: I believe that our resilience makes us stand out. We also have a big pool of talented devs, skilled in all disciplines, art, programming, ans design; and I feel we are quite good at immersive storytelling and thought-provoking narratives in our games, often quite dark and tragic. This probably isn’t a big surprise given what we have been through as a nation.
Dmytro, Fishing Planet: Ukrainian game dev is so diverse, and there are always companies that specialize in complex and large-scale developments. Such projects require impressive budgets, take lots of time, and do not guarantee profit. Every title of such a scale as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Cossacks, and Metro means great budgets and big risks. For every project, there are five to ten less known or even unknown titles. So, it is good that Ukraine is home to both mobile games and studios that make AAA games for PCs and consoles.
Another noteworthy fact is that even though the heart of each company resides in Ukraine, they grow internationally. They’re expanding their horizons by recruiting talents from around the world and creating games that resonate across the entire globe.
Peeking into Projects and Technology
Having said that, let’s take a closer look at the exciting projects our talented participants are immersed in. Brace yourself for some big reveals at Gamescom – you won’t want to miss a visit to the Ukraine Pavilion, where a world of captivating showcases awaits your exploration:
Dmytro, Fishing Planet: We are currently working on three projects. We are about to reveal an unannounced one at Gamescom, so now we’re keeping the intrigue. As for the Fishing Planet updates, we’ll add new locations soon – Saltwater location in the open Ocean (you’ll find out which one exactly after this update goes live) and Kherson.
Igor, Frag Lab: Our current game Shatterline is in early access for almost a year and it’s available on Steam. We’ve made a lot of changes over the last year and doing our best to release the game as soon as possible. We are still planning to release Shatterline on all major platforms.
Sergey, Frogwares: We released our latest title, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, a few months ago, and are currently in pre-prod of a new unannounced survival horror game. This year at Gamescom we are looking to share experience and network with devs and partners all across the globe!
Curious minds want to know – we’ve also had a chat with our participants about the cutting-edge tech they’re using. Now, not all secrets can be spilled, considering they’re always on the hunt for new tech innovations to try out, but still, we’ve got something fascinating to share:
Sergey, Frogwares: The biggest innovation for us is the use of Unreal Engine 5 in our next project and all its blows and whistles like Lumen, Nanite, Metahuman animations etcetera. The leap in creative and technical quality these tools bring to the table is insane!
Dmytro, Fishing Planet: We’ve been using photogrammetry since 2014 when it was just starting out, and now we follow a generative approach in our titles to create spaces over hundreds of kilometers long. We also benefit from the opportunities provided by the new approach of Unity – HDRP. In terms of technical innovations, we are also finalizing the integration of the QUIC network protocol.
Countdown to Gamescom: Join Us for Exciting Encounters!
Still, being part of Gamescom 2023 means much more than just showcasing Ukrainian projects and innovations within one first-ever Pavilion. It’s a collective effort, a way to demonstrate the industry’s unity in the face of significant challenges.
Dmytro, Fishing Planet: Participation in the Ukrainian Pavilion is an opportunity to show that game dev in Ukraine keeps developing. On top of that, we are looking forward to communicating and networking, as well as presenting our brand. Interestingly enough, we are more known among the Western than Ukrainian audiences.
Sergey, Frogwares: The war has really strengthened our sense of national unity, and Ukrainian game devs are determined to show the world that Ukraine is a force to be reckoned with. We are proud to be part of that force.
Igor, Frag Lab: When we first heard that there will be Ukraine Pavillion on Gamescom, there were no debates if we should participate. We are really proud of Shatterline as a game made by a Ukrainian company and wanted to tell the world about this. We believe that it’s really great idea to have the Ukrainian booth in Cologne with so many talented companies representing Ukraine and celebrate Ukraine independence day with players and colleagues from the entire world.
Filled with anticipation and a bundle of dreams, we’re all eager to connect with anyone who wants to dive into the world of Ukrainian game development. As Frogwares’ Sergey rightly puts it:
We want to commend our fellow Ukrainian devs and the entire nation really for the resilience and determination they show in the face of adversity. We hope that the war ends soon and that peace can be restored. We also encourage everyone to continue to help Ukraine in any way that they can, your support helps keep our sanity in check.
Let’s catch up at Gamescom – where all the excitement begins! And hey, if you’re as excited as we are, give this article a share with your pals. Your support means the world to us! 😉