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Russian studios encouraged to produce 'patriotic' games
Russian studios encouraged to produce 'patriotic' games
October 9, 2013 | By Mike Rose

October 9, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

The Russian government plans to produce "patriotic" video games with help from local game developers, while foreign games that paint Russia in a negative light may find themselves banned.

Speaking to Russian daily newspaper Izvestiya, and as reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Arseny Mironov, an aide to Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, noted that games created with a negative image of Russia are unacceptable.

"The main thing we expect from the producers of video games is the realistic and historically truthful representation of events," he said. "A video game has to have not only an entertainment value, but it also has to teach and be conducive to patriotic education."

With this in mind, The Russian Military History Society has been put in charge of producing the Russian government's first patriotic video game, with a focus on the inception of Russian military aviation during the First World War.

The game is due to be released sometime in 2014, and will be developed in collaboration with several Russian video game developers (no studio names have been provided as of yet.)

Russian studios who choose to make patriotic video games will also be provided with government grants. Meanwhile, any foreign games that "discredit the Russian soldier" and "distort historic facts" could face an import bans.

Company of Heroes from Relic Entertainment, for example, has apparently upset Russian officials thanks to its depiction of Russian WWII soldiers. This game would face a ban under new potential laws.

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David Paris
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Sounds bad overall, but I am interested to see a positive depiction of Russian military. I'm sorry they didn't simply choose to make some good pro-Russian games, rather than get censorish as well. They definitely had better options available.

Maria Jayne
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Agree, the idea that they want to promote a more positive impression of their people is perfectly reasonable. The talk of banning other games that don't conform to their ideals gives a less positive impression, before they even release anything.

Rui Mota
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"Patriotic" and "Historical correct" don´t play very well. Good that more country's are looking in to there game development industry bad that is for the wrong reasons.

Chris Atkin
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This is really bad news. The recent debacle in World of Tanks over the re-introduction of Stalinist slogans on Soviet Tanks, while historically accurate, was brought about by Russian players who wanted to 'stick it to the West'. The EU server team had made the very sensible decision to remove the name of a man who is viewed in the West and, most especially, in Eastern Europe as a war criminal at least on a par with Hitler. However, WoT's lead developer, Sergey Burkatovsky, whipped up such a fuss when he found out the name had been removed that the slogans were re-introduced in the 8.8 patch. This was preceded by protests from the EU community and many Russian players trolled the forums with some pretty ridiculous defences of Stalin and denials of his abysmal record. A brief perusal of the Russian forums on this subject will leave no-one in doubt as to the general feeling in Russia about how wonderful Stalin was and how the West needs to have their nose rubbed in his 'glorious memory'.
The soviet-style attitude of (Parent company of WoT) towards both customer service and dissident voices on their forums is a clear indication of the Belorussian attitude to the West - and the Russian attitude is no better. Their staunch defence of a man so indefensible as Stalin is utterly bizarre.
It seems the Russians love a dictator - and they have one with Putin. The loyalty of the Russian people to their dictators creates such incredible self-delusion that they are able to forget (and even deny) all his excesses.

Daneel Filimonov
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Don't count your beans on the vocal minority. Those that say they have appreciation for Stalin are either trolling or severely lacking a proper education (or perhaps both). Russian sense of humor is sort of twisted, compared to the West. Some things are joked about and taken lightly while others are unspeakable, full-stop.

Chris Atkin
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I completely accept your concern that one should not count on the opinions of a vocal minority. However, no matter how small that minority may be - they succeeded in persuading a strong and successful company to change its mind and to issue a statement of 'historical accuracy' that reflects this minority view. This means either that they are sympathetic to that view or they were persuaded by the minority argument. This seems to indicate there are people in decision making positions at WG who are sympathetic to the view that Stalin was a great man. As for the Russian sense of humour, I am unclear as to how this explains the actions of WG in supporting the views of these trolls.
The shocking truth is that, whether or not the view that Stalin was a great man is held by only a vocal minority; it appears that nobody inside Russia is prepared to counter that view as vocally as thos who hold it. Why is this? The most likely explanation is that the vocal minority are not a minority and they are encouraged by a regime that seeks to perpetuate strong leadership (dictatorship) as a proper form of government for the Russian people. If Karl Marx were observing Putin's Russia today he would shudder at the striking similarities that exist as a continuum from Tsarist Russia to the Present: A large and thoroughly indoctrinated proletariat governed (and opressed) by a self-appointed elite whose only interest is to remain in power. Propaganda and indoctrination are the tools of this elite and they are being wielded ever more brazenly as the OP story indicates.

Maurício Gomes
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It is not hard to defend your war hero when the enemy is Hitler.

Granted the Russians also love Ivan the Terrible... (and they gave the nickname "the Terrible" to him by themselves...)

Kujel s
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I'm not really a fan of "patrioic" games but at least maybe this time the west will be the bad guys cause let's face it the western powers treat the rest of the world pretty badly and act like it's their right. These games will likely be just as boring as CoD or Battlefield but they wont be demonizing non-western powers for once.

Michael Thornberg
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*sigh* Some never learn.. but keep on falling on the same tuft, over and over and over and... ad nauseum.

John Trauger
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I was just going to say "...surprising nobody."

The Russian economy has tanked in direct proportion to assertion of government control. Putin is setting himself up as a later-day Czar. their military is in a shambles as traditionalist generals resist western-style reforms, there's cronyism and corruption everywhere...

...and they're encouraging the Russian game industry to make what comes suspiciously close to propaganda.

Maxim Zogheib
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Being Russian and all, I was about to fly into a rage at some of the commenters, but then, that wouldn't be constructive argument, now would it.

Despite my dislike of people who are quick to point fingers and shout "dictator" and "murderer" before even attempting to look into the reasons for widespread national regard of the war and it's participants with respect, I'll not contest any of that here, as this is not the time and place to do so. The game development scene is international and, hopefully, mature enough to be able to address such touchy subjects with the respect they deserve... although a lot of evidence points to the contrary at the moment.

However, the initiative itself is exceptionally troubling. Now, as a developer, I have nothing against patriotic games... as long as those are made based on the sole volition of a developer, not coming from or being financed by the government. That, as a general rule, tends to go pear-shaped regardless of the country of origin.

Additionally, considering the way grant-based projects of ANY KIND tend to be handled in this country only compounds my concerns.

So there. Controversial? By the gods - yes! But not for any reasons to do with our history and heritage.

@John Trauger - yes to the Czar, yes to the military, yes to the corruption... just as long as you leave the common folk out of it, we have an established history of being politically apathetic and bowing to the established regime whatever it may be. I guess it's a national character fault...

Daneel Filimonov
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Indeed, considerably troubling. The openness of their statement to ban anything posing Russia in a negative light seems to be quite disconcerting.

Chris Atkin
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I did not mean to show any contempt for the Russian people in my comments. I wholeheartedly support your comment about the enormous sacrifice of the Russian people. Free people all over the world owe a debt of gratitude for the part ordinary Russians played in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
You mention that it may be a national character fault that ordinary Russians tend to be politically apathetic - the truth is many people the world over are politically apathetic, but not all of them live in dictatorships.
I am only attacking the political elite (not only in Russia, but everywhere). I guess that what I mean is that I know I can write what I like about the leaders of my country and I will be safe in doing so - I wouldn't feel as safe doing it in Russia.

Michael Joseph
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I think French director François Truffaut said "there's no such thing as an anti-war film."

Maybe the same is true of anti-patriotic games?

I'm trying to think of anti-patriotic games made by Americans? Even games like GTA which depict nihilistic, dysfunctional, psychopathic American characters, seem to end up glorifying American culture.

Even so called anti-western's like Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" seem to wind up glorifying the old west.

Troy Walker
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I feel like a little alone American here, but the Russian Military proved to be quite the historically significant force required to turn WWII against the Germans at the battle of Stalingrad. It was a pretty significant event, and things like that should in fact be portrayed appropriately... so if they feel that some modern misconception about Russian history is wrong, they have the right to try to build the appropriate image.

I have no problem with this.. even if it is taken to a propaganda level.