A Ukraine-based game developer who worked on World of Tanks has called on the game’s publisher, Wargaming, to add an in-game message or news article alerting players to the situation in Ukraine as the Russian Federation carries out its invasion of the country, bombarding cities across Ukraine.
“Ukrainians are dying, thousands are sitting in shelters,” writes ‘Vitaliy T.’, who is now the chief technology officer for a private transportation company, in a LinkedIn post. “The lives of your employees, ex-employees, their kids, their friends are at risk.” Vitaliy includes several images of destroyed tanks and armoured vehicles, as well as a bombed-out bedroom with a computer monitor covered in dust and debris.
“I guess it was a boy’s room,” Vitaliy writes. “Look closely at his monitor – he could be using it to play [World of Tanks] at this moment if there were no war outside.” Another image, posted in the comments, shows an apartment building struck by a bomb. Vitaliy says it’s located just “a couple of buildings” from his home.
Wargaming is based in Minsk, Belarus, a country whose government is now supporting the Russian invasion. The company has studios around the world, including the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the Russian cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Vitaliy asks Wargaming to use its influence with Russian players to discourage support for the war.
“Your players – young Russian boys in their twenties – are burned alive inside real tanks as invaders,” he writes. “It is not glory for them, it’s a shame. And you can help the world stop this and shed the light on the truth.”
Vitaliy’s plea joins similar exhortations from Ukrainian developers and government officials, including vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who has requested major games companies and platform holders to block “all Russian and Belarusian accounts” in order to increase pressure on the Russian government to end hostilities.