Ukrainian studio Starni Games has announced Ukraine War Stories, a collection of visual novels telling stories about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The game is set to arrive on Steam later this year, and it won't cost you a penny to play it.
What is the aim of Ukraine War Stories?
If you've heard Starni Games' name before, it might be from the time Russia accused its game of being Nazi propaganda back in 2020. Now, Starni Games is about to do something else that might well annoy Russia; it's releasing a collection of visual novels telling the stories of Ukrainian citizens displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In total, there will be three stories. The first, which is also available via the game's Steam page as a demo right now, will be set in the city of Hostomel. The second takes place in Bucha, where Starni's Oleksandr Androshchuk "hid in his garage basement for a whole week" under Russian occupation. Finally, the third story will take you into the world of Mariupol, where Ukrainians valiantly attempted to fight off Russian invaders.
Starni says that each story in Ukraine War Stories is a "dramatization of eyewitness accounts and real events", with gameplay largely consisting of reading text and taking in the art (which is based on authentic war photographs). The game will be entirely free with "no catch"; if you want to support Starni in their endeavor, all you need to do is wishlist the game and follow it on Steam. There's also a Discord channel you can join if you want to talk directly to the developers of Ukraine War Stories.
How has the gaming industry responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
As you might expect, the gaming industry has largely condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Shortly after the invasion began, companies like Microsoft and Games Workshop halted operations in Russia, and bundles to support Ukrainian relief efforts were launched by Itch.io and Humble. Just a few days ago, EA announced that the upcoming FIFA 23 wouldn't feature Russian clubs or the national team, so it doesn't look like Russia is repairing its relationship with the Western gaming industry anytime soon (and rightfully so).
You can check out Ukraine War Stories on Steam right now, where you can also download the demo containing the first story from the game. The full release will arrive in October this year, although we don't have a more specific release date than that just yet. If you do want to support the project and its developer, make sure you add it to your wishlist; every little helps, after all. We'll bring you more on Ukraine War Stories and the situation in Ukraine with regards to the gaming industry as soon as we get it.