Video gaming has grown leaps and bounds as an industry in Russia, turning into a $500 million industry.
Akella is at the forefront of all that, and we recently had the opportunity to play one of their upcoming games, A Stroke of Fate, which is a WWII adventure title coming out in a few months.
“Fate” is looking like a pretty solid game. It has beautifully detailed scenery and compelling mini-game puzzles like playing poker with Nazi officers to earn their trust and flirting with a receptionist to get information.
Here are my concerns: The English script needs work. It still feels like the Russians translated it into English. They need to have a native speaker rewrite it entirely to adapt it to an American audience. Also, some of the puzzles are not very intuitive and require going back and forth between four or more rooms.
Finally, there’s no voice acting, just text. I called Akella out on that, especially since they’ve been working on the game for almost two years. In response, they’re adding an ethnic German voice track — it won’t be English, but it will breathe some life into the characters.
“We’re working on voice over. All NPC and male hero speak perfect German,” said Akella’s Boris Tolkachev.
What really impresses me about this game is the amount of research and work that has gone into it so far. They recreated the “fuhrerbunker,” where Hitler took refuge as the war turned against him. The developers also researched Nazi artwork and German decor at the time.
The game’s developers from SPLine Games spoke to Blast through Tolkachev, who is our English-language contact over there.
Tolkachev said SPLine worked with a history consultant and pulled a bunch of history books, and bear with me because I’m going to list some things here —
- Walter Warlimont: “Inside Hitler’s Headquarters”
- “The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel”
- Antony Beevor: “Berlin: the Downfall, 1945”
- William L. Shirer: “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”
- ¯‘â‚¬¾²¾¹ ‘â‚¬º°´¸¹ ¤µ´¾‘â‚¬¾²¸‘â€¡: “’¾»‘â€¡‘Å’¸ »¾³¾²°: ´¾»‘Å’‘â€ž "¸‘â€š»µ‘â‚¬ ½° ²¾¹½µ, ² ¿¾»¸‘â€š¸ºµ, ² ±‘â€¹‘â€š‘Æ’”
- Leonid Mlechin: “Hitler and his Russian Friends”
- B. V. Sokolov: “Hunt for Stalin, Hunt for Hitler”
- Chuev S. G.: “Special services of the Third Reich”
I have no idea what the book is that’s in Russian, but they also gave me a list of like 30 website references too. Take a look at that here.
“In other words, we were very serious about it,” Tolkachev said.
But enough of that, people work hard to make every video game that comes out there (okay, most of them). Why is Stroke of Fate any different? It’s really a self-answering question. This is a chance to play a WWII adventure from an authentic Russian perspective, and I guarantee that no matter how many History Channel specials you’ve seen, there’s a lot about the Russian involvement in WWII that Americans don’t get exposed to.
The game, with voice acting and maybe a few more interactives like non-linear elements and repeatable minigames, has real potential. It’s mouse-driven, so you’ll do a lot of clicking, but what we seem to have is a good, cerebral adventure game with real historical backbone.
This is not a game you may have heard of. Gamespot hasn’t covered it. Blast is the first American media outlet to take an interest in the game, and we’re publishing the first hands-on review of it. Don’t expect Fallout 3 or a billion-dollar game. It’s a gutsy, conversational, alternative history lesson.