‘Battle for Donetsk’: Video game blasts stereotypes in Ukraine conflict

A Belgian studio has created a computer game based on the real-life events unfolding in eastern Ukraine dubbed ‘The Battle for Donetsk’. The creators claim the game is intended to promote peace and raise awareness.

‘Battle for Donetsk is a war game with an anti-war message. It’s a confronting ‘topical game’,”say developers LuGus Studios, who claim they don’t wish “to take a political stance and do not condone violence and conflict.”

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the conflict in Ukraine. Its sobering character should provide some food for thought.”

LuGus say that while world leaders, countries and continents “maneuver around,” people in eastern Ukraine “face a war that is anything but cold.”

“The continuing conflict has driven a million refugees out of their homes and has claimed over 6,000 lives at a conservative estimate.”

In the scenario you can pick either side of the conflict - a soldier in the Ukrainian army or a member of the self-defense forces in war-stricken Donetsk Region.

“Are you ready? You determine the stakes,” says a slogan in a teaser of the game which showed the battle of Donetsk Airport.

One of the game’s characteristics is that no matter whether you win or lose, you will always see a ‘Game Over’ message on the screen, a symbolic maneuver which probably refers to a never-ending Ukrainian conflict.

“Game over! You won the battle but lost the game, a lot of civilians were killed.” This message appears on the screen after each battle, which shows the number of fatalities each time.

The game’s developer, Kevin Haelterman, told RT that LuGus Studio decided to draw attention to the conflict in Ukraine as a lot of Belgians don’t know exactly what is happening there.

“It’s possible to win, but it’s up to people to figure out how to do that,” he said. “There is no good or bad side.”

READ MORE: Shelling lights up night sky over Donetsk airport as fighting intensifies (VIDEO)

The creators note that the Ukrainian conflict has also affected Belgium “in the form of higher gas prices and fruit that have lost their main export market."

“Maybe for a change we could look at things from a slightly broader perspective.”

According to the developers, ‘Battle for Donetsk’ has recently made it into the top 100 of best new Android games.

Donetsk Region witnessed shelling on a daily basis before the latest Minsk ceasefire agreement on February 12. The shells hit residential buildings, schools, hospitals and communal transport killing civilians. Both sides accused each other of being behind it.

READ MORE: Constant shelling in Donetsk as peace talks in Minsk end in blame game

Pro- and anti-government forces were also fighting for the key area of Debaltsevo, a strategic railway hub, connecting the breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Donetsk Airport has remained a battlefield in the conflict since May 2014. Now the international airport – which used to handle some 5 million passengers annually – lies in ruins.

READ MORE: Laid to waste: Drone footage shows devastation at Donetsk airport (VIDEO)

In January, self-defense forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic claimed they took control over the strategic airport, following an exhausting standoff with government forces.

Since the beginning of the conflict last April, 5,826 people have been killed and at least 14,122 injured in eastern Ukraine, according to a UN report in February.