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Poland and the Russian Federation accused the Ukrainian game studio of Nazism for the game about the concentration camp, because of the video of the Polish pranker

A studio from Odesa Aliens Games was engaged in a game called Cost of Freedom, where you can play as a warder or a prisoner of a concentration camp. The Polish pranker took the footage from the game, put a sound track on them with an offensive context for the Poles. Having watched the video, the Polish deputy addressed the prosecutor’s office with a demand to investigate the situation. The topic was picked up by the Polish and then the Russian media, broadcasting a message that the Ukrainians are making a game about Auschwitz, urging to play for the fascists and insult the Poles. As a result, the case is considered in the Polish prosecutor's office, and the studio has turned off the development of the game. The editors looked at the details of this story closely.

Indie Studio Aliens Games has been working on the online game Cost of Freedom. In fact, this is not even a studio, but just two gaming amateur developers who made an online session about a concentration camp for about half a year on their own money. This was a session where you could play on the side of the warders or on the side of the prisoners.

Last summer, the deputy of the Polish Seym, Yusef Brinkus paid attention to the game. In his address as of August 26, he clarified that it was unethical to make entertainment out of the tragedy of millions of people, and that, in particular, there were scenes in the game where SS men kill and mock people, send them to gas chambers, etc. He also noted that the words “Polish death camps”, “where is your honor, Polish dogs”, etc., in the promotional materials of the game are offensive to the Poles.

In the same address, he indicated that “the official developer of the game is a Ukrainian company, but its real authors are Russians, and above all, Dmytro Dybin from Odesa, who was associated with the Moscow studio Studcinemafest for years.” At the same time, the appeal was published by the Polish Institute of National Memory. The appeal also includes phrases about “Polish dogs” and “Polish concentration camps” in the video that advertises the game.

At the request of the Institute, the Warsaw Prosecutor’s Office began investigating the situation. Meanwhile, news about the Ukrainian studio, which wants to make blood money for the tragedy of Auschwitz, appeared in the Polish press, and later they were picked up by the Russian media. The publication in the newspaper Rzeczpospolita is called “They want to make money on the tragedy of Auschwitz: the Ukrainian game under the magnifying glass of the Polish prosecutor’s office.” The publication says that in this game you can play for the Nazi, who shoot people and put them in gas chambers, and again, the phrase about “Polish dogs” is quoted. The topic with the Ukrainian game, where you can play for the fascists, was picked up by the Russian media (here are some more examples).

“Nowadays, it’s especially convenient to convert the tragedy into hard currency when the Ukrainian authorities aren’t obsessed with the resurrection of nationalism,” REN.TV.

Ukrainian media also did not ignore the topic. In the majority of news stories, phrases about “Polish dogs” are repeated and the title of the game’s promo The Cost of Freedom is a game about polish death camps.

However, the YouTube video with the title The Cost of Freedom – a game about polish death camps, where offensive phrases sound, was not created by a Ukrainian company. This is a montage from the trailer of the game, written by Pierro Cocco, who took the footage from the game and voiced it with his own track (the phrase “Polish dogs, where is your honor” sounds here).

Pierro Cocco indicated a link to the game site under the video among other things. But, as the editorial board of AIN.UA was told by one of the game’s authors, Dmytro Dybin, Pierro Cocco has no relation to the game, the authors are not familiar with him, and have repeatedly complained to the YouTube administration about this video. Partially the accusations towards the studio are true: there were indeed elements in the game that allowed associating it with Auschwitz (for example, the inscription Arbeit macht frei on the gate), and it was possible to play for the warders, however, these elements were removed from the game as soon as there were first complaints.

Ukrainian journalist Alexander Zinchenko found information about who Pierro Cocco is. He noted that the “musical” accompaniment of the video sounds in Polish (considering the content of the video and the sound series selected for it, one can understand what angered the Polish authorities). The journalist looked at the address of the blogger indicated on the YouTube channel of Pierro Cocco, googled the conflict between a certain vloger Tomasz Turka and Krzysztof Kononovich, during which Thomas’s address was indicated, similar to Pierro Cocco’s address, and suggested that Pierro Cocco is Tomas Turka, who wanted to offend the Institute of National Memory with such video.

“On the day when the head of IPN [Editor’s note: Institute of Memory] Jaroslav Šarek lodges a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, another video appeared on Pierro Cocco’s channel called “Important news for IPN haters” with some kind of nonsense that the young man pronounces in a changed voice… (video is no longer available – ed.). IPN robi mi loda is indicated in the official captions for the video and a link to the official report on how Sharek asks the prosecutor’s office to investigate the appearance of the video. I find it difficult to find a non-vulgar Ukrainian correspondence of the translation of the Polish idiom robi mi loda. In fact, lody stands for ice cream in Polish. “Doing Lodi” means something completely different… What this character had in his mind is probably completely understandable. However, what is not clear is what did the Polish prosecutor’s office spend two months on,” writes Zinchenko.

Dmytro Dybin says that the authors of the game did not intend to insult the memory of the victims of the concentration camps. “There were no Nazi symbols or references to Poland in the game. We wanted to be tied to historical facts, however we were asked to remove them, and we removed them all, made it an abstract prison. Regarding the ability to play for the warden, it can be viewed as a psychological experiment, whether an adequate person can play for the bastard,” he says.

As for relations with Russian companies: Studcinemafest is a festival of student short films, which is held in Moscow. Dybin said that previously he was directing, shot short films, and in 2012 sent his video to festivals, including to the Moscow festival, respectively, he is listed among other participants.

The development of the game has so far been stopped, and there was an announcement posted on the website of the game that the Pierro Cocco’s video is not related to the game.

“I saw the accusations that this is some kind of a promotional campaign. However, it is not very pleasant to see footage from the trailer of his game on the channel “Russia-1” with the words about fascism in Ukraine. We stopped the development of the game, I lost the money invested in the project. So where is PR?” says Dmytro Dybin.

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