Game Studios Show Support For Ukraine
Russia openly attacked and invaded Ukraine on February 24 after weeks of mounting tensions between the two countries, with hundreds of Ukrainian citizens reportedly killed by bombings and Russian militia as a result. As the world watches this historical and terrifying event unfold, efforts have begun to aid civilians and organizations on the ground floor and those displaced, like the Ukrainian Red Cross. Many of these efforts have come from studios within the video game industry, some in the form of charity drives, others with public displays of support for Ukraine.
Game Informer will continue to update this story.
Epic Games announced that from March 20 through April 3, all proceeds from its popular battle royale, Fortnite, would be donated to humanitarian relief for people affected by the war in Ukraine.
One day later, the Fortnite Twitter account revealed that Fortnite players had already raised $36 million.
Update: As of March 22, Fortnite (and its players) have raised $50 million in humanitarian relief funds to support people affected by the war in Ukraine.
Update: As of March 25, Fortnite, and the Fortnite player base making purchases in the Fortnite Item Shop and elsewhere, have raised $70 million in humanitarian relief funds to support people affected by the war in Ukraine.
Update: As of April 4, which is the last day that Epic Games is donating Fortnite proceeds to Ukraine humanitarian efforts, the Fortnite community and Xbox have raised $144 million.
Our deepest thanks to everyone who joined us in supporting humanitarian relief efforts for people affected by the war in Ukraine.— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) April 4, 2022
Together with the Fortnite community and @Xbox, we raised $144 million USD for @DirectRelief @UNICEF, @WFP, @Refugees and @WCKitchen. pic.twitter.com/lPAa8lmfJn
World of Tanks developer Wargaming announced on April 4 that it will be leaving Russia and Belarus. The publisher-developer studio also revealed that after conducting a strategic review of business operations worldwide, it has decided "it will not own or operate any businesses in Russia or Belarus."
All In! Games
Chernobylite developer The Farm 51 and its publisher, All in! Games, announced a new DLC pack for Chernobylite on March 21. Titled Chernobylite Digital Charity Pack DLC, the total net income from this DLC will be donated to the Pure Heart Foundation, "a non-profit charitable organization established in 2013 that works with underprivileged communities focusing on humanitarian aid and youth projects," according to a press release.
The Pure Heart Foundation is distributing donated humanitarian and medical aid to those in need, including hygiene products, nappies, baby food, phones, sleeping bags, and medicine. The charity pack will be available from now until March 14, 2023 on Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG. It costs $3.99 and more details about it can be found here.
On March 18, Humble Bundle announced its Stand With Ukraine Bundle. Running through March 25, with over 120 games, books, and software, 100% of this bundle's proceeds will be donated to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. Games include Back 4 Blood, Metro Exodus, Fable: Anniversary, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, The Long Dark, and more.
More details about this Humble Bundle can be found here.
Square Enix, the publisher and developer behind the Final Fantasy franchise, announced on March 14 that it has donated $500,000 to The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to support the people of Ukraine affected by Russia's ongoing invasion of the country, which has resulted in war.
On March 5, Riot Games, the publisher-studio behind Valorant and League of Legends, announced that from March 5 to March 12, all proceeds from battle pass sales for Valorant, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift, as well as the new Bee skin line in League of Legends, will be donated to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and the surrounding region.
In addition to player-supported fundraising, Riot announced it would be donating $1 million across three humanitarian efforts:
- International Medical Corps
- Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
- Polish Red Cross
On March 9, Riot Games revealed that it and players of its games had raised more than $3 million to date and as of March 29, the total raised is $5 million.
Bandai Namco, the publisher behind titles like this year's Elden Ring and more, revealed on March 11 that it would be donating roughly $848,000 to Save the Children in support of Ukraine.
"The Bandai Namco Group has decided to make a donation of 100 million yen to Save the Children in support of their humanitarian cause for people affected by the crisis in Ukraine and seeking refuge outside the country. We hope that the people and communities affected by this crisis will be able to return to peaceful days as soon as possible."
Niantic, the studio behind games like Pokemon Go, revealed on March 10 that its games are no longer available for download in Russia and Belarus as a response to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Plus, gameplay for Niantic's titles has been suspended indefinitely in Russia and Belarus.
"We stand with the global community in hoping for peace and a rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine. Niantic's games are no longer available for download in Russia and Belarus, and gameplay will also be suspended there shortly."
We stand with the global community in hoping for peace and a rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine. Niantic’s games are no longer available for download in Russia and Belarus, and gameplay will also be suspended there shortly.— Niantic 🧭 (@NianticLabs) March 11, 2022
Nintendo is the latest company to halt sales and shipments of its products to Russia amidst its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Joining the likes of Microsoft and PlayStation and dozens of other game studios, Nintendo has suspended all shipments to Russia for the “foreseeable future" as of March 10. Still, the company did not say this was in support of Ukraine like most publishers and studios have, as reported by IGN. The publication reached out to Nintendo to ask if it’d be providing a message of support for Ukraine, and a Nintendo spokesperson said, “We would like to express our concern for all those affected by the conflict.”
“We have decided to suspend shipping all Nintendo products to Russia for the foreseeable future,” Nintendo told IGN. “This is due to considerable volatility surrounding the logistics of shipping and distributing physical goods.”
This news comes days after Nintendo placed the Russian eShop into maintenance mode, which prevents users from buying digital games, effectively suspending all sales and downloads in the country. As IGN points out, this wasn’t necessarily done in support of Ukraine either, at least not directly and publicly. Nintendo said its payment service no longer processed Russian Rubles, forcing the eShop to close temporarily.
On top of all of this, Nintendo delayed Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp yesterday due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It did not announce a new release date for the game.
Sony Interactive Entertainment announced on March 9 that it is suspending all sales and shipments of both hardware and digital goods in Russia amidst its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Joining the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo and dozens of other studios and publishers who have done the same, PlayStation is showing its support for Ukraine by effectively cutting Russia off from its services and titles. SIE called for peace in Ukraine in a statement to The Verge alongside this news.
“Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine,” a spokesperson said. “We have suspended all software and hardware shipments, the launch of Gran Turismo 7, and operations of the PlayStation Store in Russia.”
This spokesperson also said that Sony announced a $2 million donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the NGO Save the Children to support those affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Necrosoft Games, Itch.io, and More Than 700 Developers – Bundle For Ukraine
Necrosoft Games and Itch.io, a digital games storefront with a focus on indies, announced a Bundle For Ukraine on March 7 that will be live until March 18 and with it, 100% of proceeds will be split as donations to the following charities:
- International Medical Corps: This charity provides medical assistance in Ukraine. Itch.io writes that "they have very low fundraising overhead (1% of income), with 89% of donations going to medical aid and 10% to administration.
- Voices of Children: This is a Ukrainian organization that helps children cope with the horrors of war, PTSD, re-adjusting to school, and ultimately, getting back to being kids. Itch.io writes that "they have also been doing a lot of grassroots impromptu work during the war, such as helping set up shelters."
This bundle comes at a minimum "cost" of a $10 donation and donating at least $10 (although you're free to donate however much more you'd like) will get you nearly 1000 products like digital tabletop RPGs and books, as well as games.
"The people of Ukraine are under attack," Itch.io writes. "As game developers, we want to create new worlds, not to destroy the one we have. That's why we've banded together to present this charity bundle to help Ukrainians survive this ordeal and thrive after the war ends. This cause has resonated with creators around the globe, to the extent that our bundle contains almost 1000 games, tabletop RPGs, books, etc."
More specifically, this bundle includes almost 600 digital games, 300 analog tabletop RPGs, and dozens of "asset packs, books, zines, and comics, soundtracks/music, and a host of other products."
Epic Games announced on March 5 that it has suspended sales of its games in Russia as a result of the country's unprovoked attack and invasion of Ukraine. This news comes by way of GamesIndustry.biz, which first reported that not only have sales of Epic Games' titles been suspended in Russia, but in-game purchases are no longer allowed as well. However, Epic Games alludes that it is not ending all of its services in Russia in a Twitter statement.
Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. We’re not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: the free world should keep all lines of dialogue open.— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) March 5, 2022
Activision Blizzard has suspended all sales of its games, both physical and digital, and associated in-game microtransactions in Russia as a result of its unprovoked attack and invasion of Ukraine, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz.
The publisher, by way of President and COO Daniel Alegre, announced this to employees via its own internal messaging system before publishing the statement on its own website on March 5. In the statement, Alegre revealed the suspension of sales in Russia and said its priority remains the safety ot its employees, especially those currently affected by what's going on in Ukraine.
"The company is matching employee donations 2:1 to organizations providing immediate relief in the region," Alegre writes. "Together, we have raised over $300,000 in this effort. Next week, we plan to add additional charities to choose from for consideration and also will raise the company matching limit from $1000 to $10,000."
You can read Activision Blizzard's statement, in full, below:
Sad Cat Studios
Sad Cat Studios, the Belarus-based team behind Replaced, released a statement of support for Ukraine on March 4, making it clear that it is a studio against war.
"We are a Belarusian studio and we want to make it perfectly clear: we are against war," the statement released on Twitter reads. "We condemn Russian aggression towards Ukraine as well as Belarusian government's involvement in that aggression. There is absolutely no excuse for [the] war and suffering which is unfolding right now.
Our team has endured the rallies against dictatorship in Belarus in 2020 – one of us have been injured, one arrested. Now one of our own is caught amidst the chaos of war, defending his country, and we are incredibly proud to have such courageous people on our team. That being said, we have ultimately decided to focus on [the] well-being of our team as well as relocating."
A statement from Sad Cat Studios regarding recent events. pic.twitter.com/hgkAc821JS— Sad Cat Studios (@sadcatstudios) March 4, 2022
Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind Control, released a statement on March 4 in support of Ukraine, revealing it has donated 50,000 euros to the Red Cross to help victims of war.
“As Remedy Entertainment, we all stand united in our support of Ukraine,” Remedy Entertainment writes in its statement. “To help the people of Ukraine and alleviate some of their suffering, we have donated 50 thousand euros to the Red Cross to help the victims of war. We have given direct support to all our Ukrainian employees, and we are prepared to take action to aid their families and loved ones back home.
We are also providing support to our Russian employees, who are appalled by this brutal war. We do not blame those who are not responsible. We do not usually make public statements about world events, but the completely unjust invasion of Ukraine by the Russian regime has shocked and touched us all. We hope that peace will win.”
EA, the publisher behind sports franchises like NHL and Madden NFL as well as games like Battlefield 2042, announced on March 4 that it has stopped sales of its games and content, including virtual currency bundles, in both Russia and Belarus. Here’s EA’s statement, in full:
On March 4, Microsoft announced in a blog post that it was suspending sales of its products and services in Russia as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This presumably includes Xbox-related products like consoles, official accessories, and more, considering Microsoft owns Xbox.
This news from Microsoft comes just days after Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov publicly called on Sony and Microsoft to cut off Russia from its respective online gaming services immediately in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sony has not made a public stance or released a statement in regards to this war at the time of this writing.
Bloober Team, the Poland-based studio behind The Medium and other titles, announced on March 3 that it is pulling its digital store pages from Russia and Belarus.
The Pokémon Company
On March 3, The Pokémon Company released a statement in support of Ukraine on Twitter, pledging to donate $200,000 to its partners at GlobalGiving.
Our hearts go out to the kids & families of Ukraine 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/vsZuQtYmX6— Pokémon (@Pokemon) March 3, 2022
Perhaps the most forward show of support for Ukraine, Devolver Digital, the publisher behind this year’s Sifu amongst others, kept it simple with the following on March 3:
As you can see, Devolver Digital also includes links to charities people can donate to in order to help those in Ukraine.
John Romero, the famed co-creator of Doom II, announced on March 3 that he released a new level for Doom II and that 100% of the revenue from it will go to the people of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Red Cross, and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.
“One Humanity is a new level for the 1994 id Software release Doom II created by John Romero to support the people of Ukraine and the humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund,” Romero’s website reads.” 100% of the proceeds go toward these support initiatives. One Humanity is Romero’s first Doom II level since the release of the original in 1994. The .WAD contains a readme text file as well as the external mod data. Players must have an original copy of Doom II and a modern source port to play one Humanity.”
You can read more about Romero’s charity effort here.
GSC Game World
GSC Game World, the team behind S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, released a new video on March 3, detailing its current struggle in game development as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. GSC is based in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, which has been heavily bombed and targeted as a site for Russian takeover since the invasion began on February 24. In the video, the studio announced that it would be putting Stalker 2 development on the “sidelines” so that it can focus on keeping its employees safe during this conflict.
Here’s what was said, in full, in the video:
Avalanche Studios Group
Avalanche Studios Group, the team behind the Just Cause series and Contraband, released a statement of support for Ukraine on March 2. The studio revealed that it has donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Unity, a video game engine development company, released a statement of support for Ukraine, including how it’s going to donate money to Ukrainian publishers and others, on March 2.
“Unity stands with the people of Ukraine,” Unity writes on Twitter. “Here’s how we’re helping to support those affected: Internally, our employees are directly supporting four international humanitarian charities focused on helping the people of Ukraine with a triple-matching commitment from the company and our leaders. As of March 1, Unity and our employees have committed over $623,000 to supporting Ukraine.”
Unity also launched two initiatives on the Unity Asset Store, and you can read more about those below:
Update, 3/10/22: Plarium has pulled its games from app stores in Russia and Belarus until further notice. It has also stopped accepting Plarium Play & Plarium.com payments in Russia and Belarus as well.
Original Story: Raid Shadow Legends developer, Plarium, which is based in Ukraine, announced on March 1 in a new blog post that it has more than 700 employees sheltering in place throughout Ukraine and that its priority is the safety of its team. Plarium also revealed that it has donated $500,000 to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society alongside links and instructional help for people who want to help and get involved. You can read the statements, in full, by paging through the gallery below:
Ubisoft, the publisher and developer behind franchises like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, released a statement on March 1 to show its support for its teams and the people of Ukraine. Here is the statement in full:
Sweden-based video game media holding company, Embracer Group, has an extensive video game catalog consisting of titles like Saints Row, Dead Island, Kingdoms of Amalur, and more than 250 more. It released a statement on Twitter on February 28 to show its support for Ukraine.
People Can Fly
People Can Fly, the studio behind last year’s Outriders, released a Twitter thread on February 28 showing its support for Ukraine, promising to donate 1 Polish zloty ($.22 USD), up to 1 million, for every Polish zloty donated by others to Polska Akcja Humanitarna, a Poland-based humanitarian organization that delivers aid to countries that need it.
“Hard to find the right words,” People Can Fly writes on Twitter. “We are deeply saddened by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. At PCF, we firmly stand against war and any form of violence. We are doing our best to take care of our Ukrainian team members and their loved ones.”
Now we want to help all our Ukrainian friends. For this we have partnered with PAH (Polish Humanitarian Action). You can contribute from any place in the world under this link: https://t.co/3mY8ewv7Xr— People Can Fly (@PCFPeopleCanFly) February 28, 2022
Techland, the studio behind the recently-released Dying Light 2, released a statement of support for Ukraine on February 26. It’s also going to be donating roughly $225,000 to Polska Akcja Humanitarna, a Poland-based humanitarian organization that delivers aid to countries that need it.
… in supporting our neighbours from Ukraine by donating 1 mln PLN to @PAH_org – an organization that provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict.— Techland (@TechlandGames) February 26, 2022
Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. (2/2)
Crytek, the studio behind the popular Crysis franchise with an office based in Ukraine’s Kyiv capital, released a statement on February 25 to show its support for Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict happening there.
CD Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077 and Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red, which is based in Poland, released a statement of support for Ukraine on February 25. In it, the studio pledged to donate roughly $225,000 to Polska Akcja Humanitarna, a Poland-based humanitarian organization that delivers aid to countries that need it.
We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such injustice and we ask everybody to join in and help in any way you can. Together we can make a huge difference! (2/2)— CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) February 25, 2022
Raw Fury, the publishing label behind titles like Sable, posted a statement of support for Ukraine on Twitter on February 24.
Vostok Games, the studio behind Survarium, posted a show of support for Ukraine on February 24 in the form of a picture of the Ukrainian flag with the hashtag “#StandWithUkraine.”
Frogwares, the team behind The Sinking City and the Sherlock Holmes game franchise, tweeted on February 24 that it cannot stand by while Russia attacks its homeland, denying Ukraine of its sovereignty.
We're a peaceful nation, and in all the years since we gained our independence, we've never attacked or threatened anyone.— Frogwares (@Frogwares) February 24, 2022
Because of this situation, our work will be impacted and our lives can be destroyed.
Bungie, the developer behind Destiny 2, announced on February 24 that it will donate 100% of the proceeds of the first 48 hours of its Game2Give drive to humanitarian aid efforts in response to ongoing conflict as a show of support to Ukraine.
For those looking for ways to help, you can donate directly to the following organizations:— Bungie (@Bungie) February 25, 2022
Direct Relief - https://t.co/LyxMEsYQHP
Voices of Children - https://t.co/DJ7hFyNHpQ
International Rescue Committee - https://t.co/sgMM4o7ecj
11 Bit Studios
11 Bit Studios was one of the first studios to not only outright call Russia out, displaying public support for Ukraine and its efforts to defend itself, but it also started a charity drive on February 24. It put This War of Mine, a staunchly anti-war game developed by the studio, on sale on consoles and Steam, and 100% of the profits made during this sale are going to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
On March 3, 11 Bit Studios announced that it was donating nearly $700,000 to Ukraine. The studio also released this statement alongside its original drive, which details how the Poland-based studio feels about the ongoing conflict:
Game Informer will continue to update this story.