Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is a game that has been out for six years now on PC, and has also been ported to the PS4 and Xbox One. Next month it’ll be hitting the Nintendo Switch, which might not sound like big deal, except for the fact it’s a port that’s practically a miracle effort considering what the Ukrainian developers have been through over the last month.
Frogwares, a studio that specialises in games based on the British detective’s exploits, is primarily based in Ukraine, and since the Russian invasion have seen their work — and the lives of their developers — plunged into chaos. While team members in remote and overseas offices are safe and able to work from home, others have temporarily left their positions to “become full-time volunteers in the humanitarian efforts around the country”, while some have even “joined the defence forces” and are/will be fighting the Russians.
In a statement released by Frogwares updating fans on how they’re doing, the company says:
As you know, Ukraine is embroiled in a horrendous war with Russia, which of course affects the lives of millions of people, including our team members.
Put simply, we need to keep the studio alive and functioning to the best of our abilities now more than ever. Nobody on the team is expected to work, only those who can and want to. Some on the team have become full-time volunteers in the humanitarian efforts around the country. Others have joined the defence forces. The rest are in various, safer locations abroad or around the country and have made themselves available to work remotely. We continue to pay all of these people on the team. For those fighting or volunteering, each of their spots on the team will be waiting for them at the end of the war.
But essentially it is through a collection of staff that either fled Ukraine to neighbouring EU countries and those who have relocated to safer areas who are keeping Frogwares going right now. We are an independent studio with no external financing, investors, or parent company keeping us afloat. So it’s up to us alone and through the support of our players wanting to play our games that will keep this studio alive. And as this war drags out more and more, we and people all around Ukraine are seeing that even if they are not involved in the fighting directly, they need to somehow keep things moving forward. So that when this is all over and it’s time to rebuild and restart, we are not starting from zero.
Regards, Your Frogwares Team
This team has sure been through it. Even before this, Frogware had been embroiled in a series of bizarre legal battles with publishers, so to have to deal with all that and then a full-scale invasion of your country, and still be able to release a game on the Switch (and some DLC for another title!), is incredible.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is out on Nintendo Switch on April 7, and it’s available for preorder now.