The Game Developers Session (GDS) took place in Prague for the 20th time this year, and while the Czech gaming industry has been growing more profitable in recent years, our gaming scene has already experienced several notable successes and published critically acclaimed titles.
The Czech gaming industry has continued to grow rapidly, with 14 new studios being founded in 2021 alone, and had a turnover of 7.11 billion CZK (a growth of 33% over 2020). This is a continuation of a positive growth trend in recent years. In total, 55 new titles were published by Czech developers in 2022. With over 95% of the industry’s export being to international markets, the Czech gaming industry has become a serious actor on the global stage, and Czech developers have most definitely delivered products that live up to this position.
One of the most notable Czech titles in recent years has been Kingdom Come: Deliverance, released in 2018. The game explores medieval Bohemia during an era of rivalry between King Wenceslaus IV. and Sigismund, his half-brother and king of Hungaria. The game received wide acclaim mainly due to its detailed historical elements, absorbing storytelling and attention to detail.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been compared to titans of the RPG genre on the international gaming scene, such as Skyrim and Witcher 3. The game received “Best PC Game” at gamescom, the world's largest gaming event. Notably, the game was also voted the best Czech video game of the decade at the Czech Game of the Year Awards in 2020. On the Czech scene, Kingdom Come: Deliverance received the award “Křišťálová lupa” in the category “Project of the year”.
Another Czech title to make its way to the international gaming scene is Beat Saber, a music-rhythm movement/dance game released in 2019. It has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and was awarded multiple awards for its visual style. Its wide success and popularity is mainly credited to its seamless virtual reality immersion. Another major reason for the game’s success is the fact that it allows players to create and download custom songs. It is a great achievement to create a virtual reality game that plays so seamlessly and it is an amazing achievement for a Czech-developed game to be considered one of the best in the virtual reality genre.
The Czech gaming industry also has notable indie titles, such as Machinarium and Botanicula. Both of these projects were created by Amanita Design, a Czech indie game studio which started out as a graphic studio. Amanita Design are best known for their stunning animations entwined with gorgeous music. The studio’s projects received several awards for their visuals at the Independent Games Festival, which is the largest indie video game festival. On the Czech scene, the game Botanicula was awarded “Czech game of the year” at Anifilm, with the committee especially appreciating the game’s graphics and artistic contribution to Czech gaming.
While the Czech gaming industry is now more prominent than ever, this rise is thanks to long years of hard work that have been celebrated at home as well as on the international scene. Czech game development studios have a long history of creating titles that have a lot to say and inspire through their visuals, music, storytelling and technical improvements.
The figures on the economic growth of the Czech gaming industry were taken from the Czech Game Developers Association latest study.
Text by Eliška Unzeitigová
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