Experience Russian Sadness and Loneliness in It's Winter

Recently released on Steam, It’s Winter gives you a feeling of what it’s like being alone on a winter night living in an old panel apartment building

On March 7, a game titled IT’S WINTER was released on Steam and quickly gained attention of the most exquisite gamers. The description states that it could be classified as ‘’sandbox, post-soviet, sad 3d, Russian sadness’’ — a game about living in an old panel house and going around your daily routine.

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The game has ‘’no room for adventures and breathtaking plot’’. It’s a walking simulator above all, but the one with no exciting story. The protagonist simply goes around his life, puts on a kettle and fries some eggs. And you, as a player, can only walk around the flat and the yard, interacting with some completely ordinary objects.

See the trailer below:

‘’Every person, I think, can sometimes feel lonely, including me. And that’s okay. In the end, it’s the feedback from friends that motivates me to do this. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be interesting,’’ — says Alexander Ignatov, It’s Winter’s developer.

Undoubtedly, the key point of the game is its atmosphere, and the developers tried to emphasize it using visual and audio effects. The color scheme has all shades of grey, the lights penetrate snowy fog, and the light bulb in the building makes a buzzing noise.

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However, some Steam reviews indicate that the game still has some room to improve: ‘’Cigarette butts are scattered everywhere, but you can’t smoke. What is ‘Russian melancholy’ without some nicotine?’’. Another user was disappointed that eggs don’t explode in the microwave.

But most of the players felt positive about It’s Winter. They praise the game’s cold melancholic setting, calling it more of an art piece, rather than an actual game.

‘’This is genius. National Russian sense of longing and hopelessness, contemplation and the complete absence of goals. The existence for the sake of existence. To hear the sound of a microwave, to see the noise on TV, to stand before the decaying flare candle, and, finally, to watch the snow fall, staring into the sky scorched by the city lights.’’

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It’s Winter is a result of cooperation between 22-year-old Alexander Ignatov from Petrozavodsk (a small city in the north of Russia) and Moscow-based musician and poet Ilya Mazo. The game is a part of Mazo’s project, which he himself calls ‘’digital opera’’.

It’s based on his poem of the same name and is tied to the numerous video and audio materials that he published before. The idea behind the performance according to Mazo is that you ‘’read the book, listen to the album, play the game, and each time you feel that something is missing’’. This feeling ties everything together, and the end goal is the aftertaste of experiencing everything in the right order. The project ends along with winter itself on March 28 with a live performance in Moscow.

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For the developer Alexander, It’s Winter was more of an experiment. He wanted to convey a very specific mood through the game environment and setting, inspired by everyday life. While creating games for him is more of a hobby, he publishes his works since 2016. It’s Winter took him 2 years to develop using Unity engine and Blender 3D modeling software.

According to the creators, no other games are planned in the scope of the project. It’s Winter is available on Steam for $7,89/€6,47/£5,68, including a 21% launch discount.