Verdansk was captured, dictator Valeriy Volodin poisoned his predecessor with polonium, and the general secretary was eaten by a dragon. Three games and one book that predicted the war in Ukraine

Dmytro Rayevskyi
Tetyana Lohvynenko
Verdansk was captured, dictator Valeriy Volodin poisoned his predecessor with polonium, and the general secretary was eaten by a dragon. Three games and one book that predicted the war in Ukraine

Getty Images / Kate Ban / «Бабель»

Russiaʼs full-scale invasion of Ukraine came as a surprise to many Ukrainian and Western politicians and analysts. Just like in 2014, when few could have predicted the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas. But while politicians were powerless, some computer game developers, screenwriters, and writers gave fairly accurate predictions. "Babel" tells about two computer games, one board game, and a fictional novel, which quite accurately predicted Russiaʼs aggression against Ukraine.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game series

Call of Duty is a series of shooters from the Activision company, first of them was released in 2003. The first parts of the series were devoted to the Second World War. But since 2007, developers paid attention to modernity and began to release games under the Modern Warfare brand. All of them are devoted to the struggle of US and European special forces against the evil Russians.

The first part was released in 2007. It takes us to 2001 when the economic crisis begins in Russia. In this context, the ultra-nationalists, led by the terrorist Imran Zakhaev, are strengthening their positions, whom the protagonists eventually defeat. In the second part, we will learn that in 2016 the power in Russia was seized by the ultra-right movement led by Vladimir Makarov, who is scaring the whole world with nuclear weapons.

And in Modern Warfare 2019, the developers presented direct allusions to Ukraine and the Middle East events. There is the unrecognized country of Kastovia, in which "LPR/DPR" is easily recognized, and Urzikstan, which resembles Syria. The the main plot takes place in the Middle East, but in multiplayer mode, the player can visit the capital of Kastovia — the city of Verdansk. There, inquisitive players found buildings and streets similar to the real Donetsk. But the developers did not depict a full-scale war in the plot. The main antagonist, General Barkov, acts independently in Kastovia without an official order from Moscow.

Call of Duty

Wargame Combat Mission: Black Sea

Combat Mission is a series of tactical strategies from the company Battlefront Studios, which was released back in 2000. Most of the games are devoted to the Second World War. But in 2014, Combat Mission: Black Sea was released, which takes place on the territory of Ukraine. The developers started writing the story for the game back in 2009. And unexpectedly, a lot of events were predicted.

According to the chronology of the game, in 2016, there was an uprising in Kyiv, and Russia did not like it. So Russia entered Crimea, seized it and started agitation in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. And then it brought in the troops. The developers admitted that they wrote this plot not just for nothing but trying to understand how Vladimir Putin will continue his foreign policy. And they were not surprised when the real events turned out to be very similar.

“It’s not because we’ve got crystal balls. It’s just because this is what that bastard [Putin] has done before. The guy’s not all that creative. It’s the same thing that he’s done about four times before, and he is copying more or less what his predecessors have done," Battlefront Studios co-founder Steve Grammont told reporters.

Combat Mission

Shadowrun board game

Shadowrun is a table role-playing game, the first edition of which was released in 1989. At the heart of this universe is the unexpected appearance of magic on Earth in 2011, called the Awakening. At the same time, high technology continues to develop, so the Shadowrun genre is a rather unusual mixture of fantasy and cyberpunk. Awakening also influenced world politics, so in many ways, it is also an alternative history. Which has Russia.

In the Shadowrun universe, the USSR has collapsed, but Russia retains its political features without a temporary transition to democracy. The country is governed by the General Secretary. Until 2016, it was pro-Western General Secretary Chelenko who was killed by mercenaries. Then the evil Boris Kropunin came to power and brutally suppressed a rebellion in Yakutia that wanted to secede.

In 2030, Kropunin starts a war with Europe. He captures Ukraine and Poland, Russian troops advance to Berlin. Russia is opposed by a coalition of Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In 2033, the war is unexpectedly ended by Great Britain, which strikes all the command centers — both Russia and the coalition. In 2035, due to the defeat in the war and the failure of domestic politics, Kropunin resigns, and the Alliance for Democratic Restoration comes to power in Russia, which begins reforms.

If you were saddened by the fact that the creators of Shadowrun underestimated the Ukrainians, letʼs add that in 2064, another Russian General Secretary was eaten by a dragon.

A detailed history of the Eurowar in the timeline of the Shadowrun universe appeared in 2009. It also has the Shadowrun Returns trilogy of PC games, but they are set in the 2050s and have nothing to do with Russia.

The novel Command Authority

The last novel of the American writer Tom Clancy was written in 2012. The writer died in October 2013, before the book was published. According to the plot, former KGB agent Valeriy Volodin, who resembles Putin, comes to power in Russia. The new president is launching a campaign of anti-American propaganda. He orders the FSB to conduct several secret operations that should become a pretext for a war in Ukraine. First, the head of Russiaʼs foreign intelligence service is blown up in a restaurant. Then their predecessor is poisoned with polonium. Volodin blames NATO for these deaths. Subsequently, FSB-inspired anti-Ukrainian protests began in Sevastopol. Volodin starts a war and sends troops to Kyiv.

When Clancy wrote this novel, the main features of Putinʼs policy were known — the war in Georgia in 2008 had already taken place, and the protests in Russia in 2012 had been suppressed. However, the novel was written before the 2014 Maidan in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and the start of the war in Donbas. So Clancy was a good forecaster. We will not spoil it, but everything in the novel ends quite well.

Translated from Ukrainian by Olya Panchenko and Anton Semyzhenko.

The developers predicted a war in Ukraine, and Babel predicts victory for Ukraine. Your donations inspire us: Patreon 🔸 [email protected]🔸donate in cryptocurrency🔸in hryvnia.