Ukrainian Game Studio Releases New Sherlock Holmes Game Amidst War

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Frogwares' release of "Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened" during the ongoing war in Ukraine showcases the team's dedication and resilience.
Despite the war, the Ukrainian tech industry continues to thrive, demonstrating the determination and progress of the Ukrainian people.
Frogwares' social media platforms have given the world a glimpse into the daily challenges faced by game developers living and working during a war.
The studio's ability to adapt to the war conditions allowed them to continue working on the game, which would not have been as dark without the impact of the conflict.
By releasing the game during such challenging times, Frogwares has demonstrated its commitment to not only its craft but also its country, bringing attention to the ongoing conflict and supporting the Ukrainian army and providing humanitarian aid.

 

In a display of resilience against the chaos and horror caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv-based game studio Frogwares has released a new adventure game, “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened.”

This dark, bone-chilling detective adventure serves as both a testament to the team’s dedication and an attempt to shed light on the daily horrors occurring in Ukraine.

War-Torn Kyiv: The Heart of Ukrainian Tech Industry

Despite the ongoing war, the Ukrainian tech industry, centered in Kyiv, continues to thrive. The city boasts the highest number of university graduates in tech-related courses in Europe.

The Ukrainian Digital Ministry predicts that the number of tech specialists will rise to 450,000 by next year.

This growth demonstrates the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people to continue their progress amidst adversity.

Frogwares: A Glimpse into the Lives of Game Developers in War

Frogwares’ social media platforms have been used not only for game trailers and announcements but also to share information about what it is like living and working during a war.

Images of destroyed buildings, civilians in bomb shelters, and people working in makeshift conditions give the world a glimpse into the daily challenges faced by the team.

Personal stories of Frogwares employees, such as artist Svitlana Gunchenko, reveal the everyday chaos of life in Ukraine since the invasion.

Overcrowded shelters, near-miss missile strikes, and the constant struggle for survival paint a vivid picture of the situation on the ground.

The Making of “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened”

Initially, Frogwares planned to create an open-world game, but they ultimately decided to remake their well-reviewed 2007 title, “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened,” in the midst of the war.

The studio raised €250,000 ($274,000) through crowdfunding and began work on the game in March 2022.

The fact that the story was already predetermined by the original game made it easier to implement during the challenging conditions of the war.

The team worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the project, with their passion for gaming and dedication to their craft driving them forward.

The Ukrainian Digital Ministry predicts that the number of tech specialists will rise to 450,000 by next year.

Adapting to War Conditions

Frogwares temporarily closed the studio when the invasion began to allow employees to relocate or find shelter.

After a few weeks, the remaining employees in Ukraine and abroad resumed work under a hybrid model.

Some continued to work from home, while others returned to the office, depending on safety and electricity availability.

This flexible approach enabled the team to continue their work on “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened” despite the ongoing conflict.

The studio’s ability to adapt and persevere in the face of adversity is a testament to their commitment to their craft and their country.

A Dark Fantasy Adventure Game

The war has had a profound influence on the developers and “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened.”

The game would not have been as dark without the impact of the conflict, according to Sergey Oganesyan, head of publishing at Frogwares.

Players assume the role of master detective Sherlock Holmes, solving criminal cases through clever deductions, reconstructing crime scenes, and tracking down perpetrators.

The game, inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu myth, gradually veers into a bizarre and terrifying supernatural world.

In this dark fantasy adventure, players will face numerous challenges, including red herrings and dead ends, as they attempt to solve the mysteries presented in the game.

The developers have deliberately left players largely alone to solve the mystery, which can sometimes be frustrating but ultimately contributes to a more engaging and rewarding experience.

Release and Support for Ukraine

“Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened” was released on April 11, 2023, across various platforms, including PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

The game’s development and release highlight the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people, even as they face the horrors of war.

By releasing this game during such challenging times, Frogwares has demonstrated its commitment to not only its craft but also its country.

The studio has used its platform to bring attention to the ongoing conflict and the struggles faced by the Ukrainian people.

Each team member at Frogwares has reportedly donated an average of around €2,800 ($3,055) to support the Ukrainian army and provide humanitarian aid since the war began.

As the world continues to watch the events unfold in Ukraine, the release of “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened” serves as a powerful reminder of the human spirit’s ability to persevere and create even in the face of adversity.

The game is not only a thrilling adventure for players but also a symbol of hope and strength for the Ukrainian people and the global gaming community alike.

Craig Miller

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