Ukrainian video game studio offers fans the opportunity to write a message about the artillery shell

Ukrainian video game studio Frogwares is giving fans the chance to write a personalized message on an artillery shell that will be used in the country’s war against Russia.

The promotion is a celebration of Frogwares success Starter campaign to finance his remake of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, an adventure game originally released in 2007 that pits the detective against the terrors of the Cthulhu mythos. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over $200,000, well above its original goal of $70,114.

The campaign ends on September 3 and to celebrate, the company has given its fans a surreal wartime opportunity. “A group of studio fans who are currently serving in the Ukrainian military have contacted the team to offer their assistance,” a press release for the promotion said. “The unit is part of the 24th Separate Assault Battalion and said they would be happy to give 3 fans the opportunity to get any personalized message of their choice written on a 152mm howitzer shell simply in exchange for sharing the campaign link over the past few days.”

“Hi everyone,” said an unidentified Ukrainian soldier in a video tweeted by the Frogwares account. “If you would like your personalized message written on an artillery shell and help our friends at Frogwares at the same time, please get involved. We look forward to sending these special deliveries to our unwanted guests. People who want the chance to write their own post just have to like and retweet the video.

Personalized messages written on artillery shells have become a popular way for Ukrainians to raise funds. Sites like sell the ability to sponsor tanks, write messages on shells, and even buy space on jets to anyone on the internet.

Frogwares Studio is an independent game studio famous for its series of adventure games starring Sherlock Holmes. In 2019 he released The sinking city, an open-world detective game based on the works of HP Lovecraft. The studio was halted when Russia escalated its war in Ukraine in March. According to a video on the Kickstarter for Sherlock Holmes: The Awakenedseveral members of the team joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces to fight against Russia.

“Frogware currently [has] 4 crew members serving in the military,” Paul Milewski, a public relations representative at Wire Tap Media, which works with Frogwares, told Motherboard. “All of them are deployed in the east right now.” He also said that several employees worked in various humanitarian aid groups in Poland and Ukraine and that their jobs at Frogwares awaited them when the war ended.

According to Milewski, a remake of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened was not what Frogwares intended to do next. “Development in general has been hit very hard,” he said. “Frogwares had to completely scrap their next game because trying to make something that is open-world and required regular iteration proved impossible in the situation. That’s why they went with this remake of Sherlock.

Things have been stable recently, he said, but still difficult due to working in a war-torn region.

“One minute you’ll be in a team meeting and the next half the people have to log off because there’s an air raid siren,” he said. “Internet and sometimes electrical connections come and go. Two people from the team are stranded in Kherson and the team regularly loses contact with them for days. Every morning people log into the dev Discord and there’s this unease where people are like, “Is it that late or did something happen?”

When Frogwares launched its Kickstarter campaign, fans funded the project within six hours. “The overall outpouring of support and kind words for the team through this campaign has been overwhelming. All of our backers have given us something really positive to focus on and a safety net that allows us to do the game at our own pace,” Sergey Oganesyan, Frogwares communications manager, said in a press release. “We will forever be indebted to those people who came to our side when it felt like our entire lives were collapsing.”

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