Russia To Fund Production of ‘Patriotic’ Games
Games with negative portrayals of military to be banned
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 14:10
The Russian government wants to aide development of “patriotic” video games. Meanwhile, games deemed to “distort” history could be banned within the country.
“The main thing we expect from the producers of video games is the realistic and historically truthful representation of events,” Arseny Mironov said. Mironov is an aide to Russia’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky.
These comments come form the Russian newspaper Izvestiya and were reported in English at the Hollywood Reporter.
He added presenting a “negative image of the Russian warrior,” would be deemed inadmissible and such games could be banned for sale in the country if they were deemed such.
So, the Russian government is cool with historically accurate video games, just as long as they don’t put the military in a negative light. Right then.
Once such game has already been banned. Sales of “Company of Heroes 2,” Relic Entertainment’s WWII-centric real-time strategy game, were halted after it was deemed to misrepresent Russian soldiers during that time.
Supporting historical games isn’t exactly nefarious, but the bit about banning games that don’t fit with the government’s view of history is worrisome. Add this to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ban of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” (basically, banning rights for LGBTQ citizens in Russia), and all but legalizing violence against sexual minorities and Russia starts to sound more and more like the scary totalitarian place my grandfather probably thought it was.
Russia’s not the only country investigating financial breaks for games. Certain regions of the United States have also experimented with the idea, but with infamous results.
The most famous case involved 38 Studios, a video game company founded by Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling. The company went bankrupt after an incident with a loan agreement from the state of Rhode Island fell through.
While the company was able to produce one critically acclaimed and financially successful game (“Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning”), it was unable to complete its primary massively multiplayer project because of the loan, and the subsequent legal issues surrounding it.
This case is often cited as a possible reason why the United States has been slow to adopt its own policies regarding game development funding.
Something more similar to Russia’s policies has been proposed in Great Britain. Last December, the United Kingdom established tax reliefs for game studios based on how much they reflected British culture. However, these breaks have yet to be enacted.
We’ll have to see what sorts of projects are accepted for the Russian program (or rejected for Russian sale) as time goes on. Hopefully, everyone’s favorite shirtless president will keep the fascism to a minimum.