Vladislav Tsypljak

S1 EP14 – Ft. Vladislav Tsypljak

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Episode Transcription

ALEX: Hi, everyone! Welcome to another LocFact. This time we will be talking about card games!

LUCIO: Card games are my jam! I love building decks, learning strategies and combining unique cards to make the most out of a set of 40 to 60 cards.

ALEX: Being so classic, card games not only inherited a familiar format, but they also inherited certain limitations that are iconic, and that surely made more than one translator cry during those long, cold nights of work.

LUCIO: Character limitation is definitely one of the top challenges in video game localization, and the same can be said about card games.

ALEX: Now, for example, Yu-gi-oh! Duel Links is a great example of a game with very long text boxes. Printed versions might have been way too hard to read for most players, but thankfully, the game’s digital version allows players to scroll up and down the text box.

LUCIO: Hearthstone has gone one step ahead of this and has taken advantage of the pop-up features. We see a card with no more than 5 lines of text (although there are exceptions) with terms in bold. In such cases, the interface will show an annex text box detailing the abilities and rules necessary to understand each card.

ALEX: But there’s a more nightmarish challenge when translating card rules and effects: flavor text. Flavor text is not related to any game mechanics, but instead, it plays a main role in adding color and life to the game’s world. It usually contains descriptions, narrations, stories about the card in which it appears, and gives the players an additional element to understand the card other than just seeing the picture.

LUCIO: Flavor text is essential in most card games, but it’s not easy to include more text into the limited space of a text box. But worry not, there’s always a creative solution to this.

ALEX: In Hearthstone, game devs have come up with a great solution that surely makes the game experience more immersive: almost no in-game flavor text, but lots of voiced lines to add liveliness to the game!

LUCIO: Of course, any player can go into their library and check the details of any card, and a flavor pop-up text box will show next to it. But hearing your cards speak (or roar, grunt, hiss or chirp, depending on the card) just like a World of Warcraft character would surely get to those players who still remember the nostalgia of previous adventures. Those who actively play the game will surely find everything familiar as they explore the world.

ALEX: But let’s put a stop there and let’s save World of Warcraft for another LocFact. For now, that’s a wrap. See you on the next LocFact. Bye, guys.

FLOR: Hi, there! Welcome to another episode of Open World. Today here with us we had Vlad, one of the co-founders of Neon Doctrine. Welcome, Vlad. How are you today?

VLAD: Yeah, thanks for having me. Yeah, it’s great. It is great to be here. It’s evening here, so, you know, we’re in the opposite sides of the world, but. Yeah. Yeah, thanks.

FLOR: Well, we finally managed to arrange our calendars and make this happen, so we’re pretty excited to have you here. Thanks for joining us. So this is a recurrent question in this video cast, but this is the reason why we brought you here and we bring all of our guests here, because we want to know about our guests’ beginnings in the video game industry. So how did you start working in this field, and would you like to share with us more about your story?

VLAD: I mean, my first job was with EA in Spain, where I was a QA Manager at the team there. That’s when they still had the main headquarters, the European headquarters in the Madrid Peninsula. It wasn’t in the city, it was outside. I think now they moved to Belgium or something. Anyways. And yeah, I worked there for about almost two years, and after that, I didn’t work in the gaming industry for a while, did some other stuff. And then I ended up in China where I was doing my Masters, and I met one of our co-founders when I was in China. It was an evening at a bar where we were playing board games. And it turned out that they were living very close to where my apartment was, and they just got the first generation dev kits for Oculus and Samsung VR. So they were like, “Hey, you wanna come by and check out all this new VR stuff?” when it came out like eight years ago or something. I was like, “Oh yeah, hell yeah, I wanna check it out.” So I went there and kind of started hanging out, playing and, you know, the company kind of found it. Another indie at that time, but we re-branded to Neon Doctrine about half a year ago. So we all started in China. We’ve been there for like… The company started there about seven years ago, and about three years ago we opened up a new office here in Taiwan. So the majority of our team is now here in Taipei, but we still have our China team in Xiamen, in China, that handles all the China stuff, the publishing and the PR and all that jazz.

FLOR: And how many people are behind Neon Doctrine right now?

VLAD: I need do to the…

ALEX: Rough numbers. You don’t have to name them all.

VLAD: Seventeen, 16 people.

FLOR: Wow. That’s amazing.

VLAD: Yeah. We started with three of us working in our apartment.

FLOR: And everything started at a bar.

VLAD: Yeah. Yeah. And now we have grown.

ALEX: So what advice would you give someone who wants to get into the Asian market, who wants to publish their games in the Chinese market? Especially for a Western indie dev, right?

VLAD: Oh man, I…

ALEX: We don’t have so much knowledge about the Asian market, so… You do.

VLAD: When it comes to China, I did a bunch of speeches about this, and the short answer is, as a foreign developer, you really can’t do anything. The long answer is you need a partner. There’s two ways to go about it. You can either do it on local platforms, but for that you need a local entity and you need to give away your copyright ownership and IP ownership to that entity in China to help you get all the licensing and go through the government censorship. But because you’re a foreign developer, 99% of the chance, you will not be granted that license because they’re super strict, there’s a huge back catalog, and they’re prioritizing local Chinese developers to get the license, and all the games that get through are, you know, happy-go-lucky, very… non-political, non-religious, no blood, no gore, nothing like that can get through. The other way you can go is just, you know, do the proper localization of your game so it has good, simplified Chinese, and then you do all the PR and marketing and the social media and outreach. But again, if you have no connections, you need to either work with a PR firm in China or you sign with a Chinese publisher or a publisher that can publish in China, because, you know, all the social platforms are different because everything from the West is banned, so China has their own kind of Internet bubble. And plus, there’s cultural differences in how you approach press and media, how you approach influencers. So a lot of that thing is very… Well, it’s not the same as the way you do PR in the West, so you need to find somebody who knows their stuff.

FLOR: Like you guys, right?

VLAD: Yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s where we started. And, you know, nobody speaks English, so if you don’t speak Chinese, you’re kind of screwed as well. So, yeah, you need boots on the ground when it comes to China. It’s actually the same if you wanna publish your game in Korea, Japan and, you know… Southeast Asia is a little bit easier, but because it’s so fragmented, again, you need to find somebody who knows the market very well, that can target all these separate countries, because getting a PR firm for every different Southeast Asian country is very expensive. So for indie developers, it just doesn’t make sense. You’re better off with just a single entity handling this for you.

FLOR: And overwhelming as well, right?

VLAD: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so much.

FLOR: If you don’t handle the language, if you don’t speak Chinese or any other languages, for that matter, from the Asian market, it can be quite overwhelming.

VLAD: Yeah.

ALEX: Well, the answer wasn’t that long in the end. Get yourself a knowledgeable partner so they can do it for you.

VLAD: Yeah, that’s the short version. The long version is explaining why you should do it and why can’t you get the local license? Because you need to have a Chinese company, and you can’t found a Chinese company as a foreigner because a Chinese company in China can only be owned by Chinese people. So yeah, there’s just literally nothing you can do. Yeah.

FLOR: Yeah. We recommend or audience to follow Vlad on his socials because he usually, as he said, he’s a public speaker and he’s usually giving talks and sessions around different events and conferences, talking specifically about the Chinese market and how you can enter through this.

VLAD: I don’t call myself a public speaker, but yeah, when they ask me to talk about something, I usually say yes.

FLOR: Yeah. And your talks are very entertaining as well, so yeah.

ALEX: We don’t call ourselves YouTubers either, but hey, here we are.

FLOR: [Cut-off audio] to be.

ALEX: Yeah.

FLOR: So, since we are in the gaming industry, we would love to know, what are your favorite games? And if there’s anything that you’re playing right now that you would like to recommend to us and to our audience.

VLAD: Um, yeah, so that’s a tricky one because I always get stuck with this question when I get asked like, “Oh, what’s your favorite game?” Or, “What’s your most liked, most played game?” Like, I mean, I don’t know, I play so… Well, I used to play so many. Now, when I started working in the industry, I don’t get to play as many games as I thought I would.

ALEX: That’s a constant in all of our guest, in all of our teams.

VLAD: All of my friends who are not in the gaming industry are like, “Oh man, you must be playing video games all the time. It’s so awesome!”. I’m like, “Man, no.” Or the games I get to play are like unfinished prototypes or pitches from other developers, you know, not the full game.

ALEX: Yeah, it’s work.

VLAD: Yeah, it’s work. But I was actually a huge fan of MMOs when I was a kid, so I played a lot of World of Warcraft, played a lot of EverQuest, Guild Wars, the first one, then of course I played the second one. Final Fantasy XI and XIV, Lineage. So pretty much a bunch of MMOs that came out. Wildstar was one of my favorites, but that died. And yeah, a lot of Dragon Age, Mass Effect, like RPG type ones. CRPG ones like Torment, Pillars of Eternity. What else? A bunch of side-scrolling games, action games. Counter-Strike, a lot as a kid. We used to… So when I grew up, I didn’t have a PC when I was still a kid, so we had all these little internet cafes back in…

ALEX: Yeah. LAN parties.

FLOR: In Argentina, yeah.

ALEX: In Argentina, we had those too. By the way, I got caught up in World of Warcraft. What did you play, Horde? Alliance?

VLAD: I kept swapping back and forth. First, I used to start it with Horde, and then, when I was in Spain, my buddy recruited me into the Alliance because, like, they had this massive European guild, like Mano de Lobos, and so he was like, “Man, you gotta play with me.” So I started playing with them again. And then before that… Then I switched back to Horde and then… Just, for example, now in Taiwan, there’s this loophole. You don’t need to buy the game anymore. You just pay a subscription, you get all the latest expansions and everything.

FLOR: Cool. I didn’t know that.

VLAD: There was just some mishap between the two companies before. Yeah. But… Yeah, as a kid we used to rent out the internet cafes, so they would lock us up during the night in the Internet cafe for those like 8 hours, and we were, you know, a bunch of 11, 12-year-olds just sit there and like, play Dusk or, like, Mini Militia maps.

ALEX: All knife, please.

VLAD: Yeah, all knife. Or pistol or pistol versus… Yeah, all of that. You know, they had like those sniper maps and things like that. Yeah.

FLOR: I remember doing the same with Doom and, of course, also with Counter-Strike.

VLAD: Oh, yeah. Doom, Quake, Hexen.

ALEX: And Vlad, how much these games…? Because we’ve been talking before to our audience about Vlad’s favorite games and all, but I want to know how much all of these games that you played as a kid, right, inspire you nowadays in your line of work, right? If they have inspired how you choose the games that you work with.

VLAD: Funny thing, actually, because the games I used to play as a kid don’t really align with the ones that I like now or the direction we’re going with, because right now we’re really into, you know, metroidvania, horror, bloody gore, gory types of games. And as a kid, like, I couldn’t play those. Didn’t really had many of those available to us because, you know, we didn’t have Nintendos because it was all banned, so we got Chinese bootlegs like Dendy, those like thousand-in-one cartridges.

ALEX: Yeah, we had the same in Argentina, but it was called Family Games here in Argentina.

VLAD: Same stuff. Yeah. But I guess, I mean, I used to play a lot of Diablo and, like I said, like Doom, Hexen, these types of games, so I guess that did have some sort of effect on me. But because you were asking about right now. Right now… Playing what? The Ascent is pretty good. What Cyberpunk should have been. Our buddies at Akupara released Grime, so if you like, you know, hardcore 3D action, metroidvania type of games, that one’s really good as well.

FLOR: We’re gonna leave the link somewhere over there.

ALEX: Yeah. I downloaded The Ascent. I downloaded The Ascent on Game Pass…

VLAD: Pretty good.

ALEX: …a few days ago, but I haven’t got to it yet.

VLAD: It’s a bit more optimized on Steam than it is on X-Box.

ALEX: Okay, good to know.

VLAD: But it’s still pretty good. Yeah, quite, quite fun. Um, what else? No, no, nothing else. The rest is just our games right now, because we have so many games coming out and everybody is just…

ALEX: How many games do you have coming out in 2021?

VLAD: Well, the pandemic screwed everybody, so a bunch of games that we were supposed to release last year got pushed back because some of our developers got sick with COVID, so they got pushed back.

FLOR: I hope they’re okay.

VLAD: Oh, they’re better now. They’re fine. Yeah, because everybody’s kind of young and healthy, so. Still sucked, but nothing dangerous. So yeah, we have Lamentum coming out like at the end of this month, on the 31st of August, which is like an old-school survivor horror game. Then we have Jack Axe coming out the month after, which is a super hard co-op platformer. Well, single or multiplayer. I always mess up the description. You can play it alone or you can play it with up to four of your friends. And then, after that, we have the Legend of Tianding, which is the game developed with Taiwanese devs here, which is like a 2D kung-fu action game based on the colonial Taiwan when it was occupied by the Japanese in the early 20th Century. And then we have a bunch of games lined up like January, February, March as well. No fixed dates, but it’s just like… Because then there’s Hazel Sky is coming out, which is actually a studio from Brazil. Then we have… Oh, my brain is fried. Then we have My Lovely Wife, which is like a succubi visual novel, horror adult story. Then we have Project Altheia coming out, which is… I can’t really talk much about it because it’s still in development.

ALEX: Yeah. You left me hanging… Which was the conference that you were in showcasing all of the…?

VLAD: Guerrilla Collective?

ALEX: Yeah, I saw project Altheia. Looked great. And then you just said, “Oh, I can’t show you anything else.”

VLAD: Yeah, yeah. It’s so good, though. It is so good. But yeah, we can’t show anything yet. But next year we’ll have some stuff.

ALEX: Awesome.

VLAD: Yeah. Then we’re going to announce a new game during the Indie Houses event of later this month.

FLOR: Oh, that’s really cool.

VLAD: There’s gonna be a whole another kind of big presentation with us and a bunch of other publishers. Yeah, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy.

FLOR: Well, we’ll make sure that we follow you on your socials to keep up with all the news. So from what you’re saying, you’re collaborating with studios from all over the world, like projects from Brazil, also Latin America.

VLAD: Yeah. I mean, the majority of our developers are still from Asia, Southeast Asia, you know, China, mainly because there’s not many publishers here. Well, very few. Like I can count them on one hand, the people who are decent. And there is a lot of talent here, but most of the Western publishers don’t really look at Asia, so they all focus on Europe or, you know, North America, the States or Canada. So there’s a lot of missed opportunity. Actually, you know, when it comes to like South America, Middle East and Africa, still not a lot of exposure. So, yeah, most of our games are predominantly Southeast Asia, Asia, I’d say maybe like 75%, and then the rest we have some games from Europe and some from the States and some from South America.

FLOR: Great. So I want to go back to your early stages managing QA teams, because I’m very curious here, because you mentioned that you collaborated with big players such as EA games and also Microsoft, right?

VLAD: Oh, Microsoft had nothing to do with gaming. I was working… I was part of the team who did like networking for Windows 8, so there’s no crossover with that. I was engineering. Boring, boring engineering.

FLOR: But I bet you learned a lot about managing teams, right?

VLAD: Oh, no! It wasn’t that good. That’s why Windows 8 was so bad. When it released, a bunch of people quit because they were like, “We’re done with this.” Well, including me. And, you know, you got a month, two months later, when they released the 8.1 patch that fixed everything. So yeah. But yes, QA at EA.

FLOR: Yeah, okay, let’s hear all about…

ALEX: Focus on that one.

FLOR: Yeah. About your experience at EA Games as a QA manager, and I wanted to know if there are any best practices or any lessons that you learned from those times, because there’s not much information around QA specifically.

VLAD: Not to go into like technical details about, you know, storing your builds and setting up all the depots so that our teams who helped with the porting and QA and testing have access to those and you have the remote work set up so it’s easy to store your code and make it secure. But basically, our flow was like, the developers send us a build, and depending on how busy we are at the moment, normally like one, two weeks, then we provide them feedback. So the build is sent, and our QA team plays it, tests it, and then we pretty much set up a separate board for the developer that he can access. And all of our playthroughs are recorded, so we host it on our server. And then if we see like game-breaking bugs or like there’s like some general suggestions or like game balancing issues, all of that gets… the video gets cut, the clips gets uploaded, clips or screenshots, to tell the developers like, “Okay, this is broken, this is not working. Here’s some bugs, this is what you need to fix. Here is our general feedback. So you know, maybe this is better, maybe that is better.” And then they decide if they want to do it or not. And then regional suggestions for when it comes to, you know, Europe, America or China, for example, different controller inputs with the keyboard and mouse, and then the controller, because some of this stuff is not the same when it comes to Asia and the rest of the world, so some things need to be changed. And then we have a whole separate board when it comes to LQA. So for the localization part, it’s all separate. Because when we first get the build before we start localizing it, we do a little test on different languages to make sure that the text boxes and everything fits, especially when it’s like Russian or Chinese. The fonts that are being used can’t be converted in all these different languages because sometimes… Well, sometimes, most of the time it’s just a bloody mess. So make sure that is all in place before we start, you know, doing localization, implementing all the languages, because if you do that, then it just like breaks the game and it’s a headache. So make sure that that stuff works and, you know, the fonts are there, the Unity plugins or whatever you’re using is all correct and proper. And then we start implementing the text. And once the text is implemented, we do a separate QA for localization, so it kind of like branches out, like one is for the gameplay, controller, support, etc., etc., but when it comes to localization, it ends up being in a separate branch to see… just for the text, that it doesn’t break the text boxes, it’s all there proper, you can read normally, the spaces are normal because, you know, with Chinese, sometimes characters break, or you can’t read them or the phone doesn’t support. And with Russian, it also can be a mess because of the spacing, so sometimes it’s just five, six words that just merged together…

FLOR: And it breaks everything.

VLAD: Yeah. So it just ends up being a nightmare. So we do little tests before to make sure everything is fine and functioning, and then we dump the text and then start going through the game and checking out to make sure it all works. Another thing we do is we do a lot of open and closed betas, both on Steam and our Discord. So we have our own kind of like forms for people to fill out for their bug submissions and general feedback, and then we get all of those together, compile the reports and upload it to our, let’s say, Trello board and the developers can go through them and our QA team can go through that and see what makes sense or what doesn’t make sense, because not all feedback is good feedback. And another thing we have, well, this is not about kind of like QA, I guess it’s more of like bug fixing and stuff. We just have it set up in our Discord as well. When people play our games, if they encounter any bugs, we always suggest them to post it on Steam, but if they’re too lazy, we have a special channel in the server that they can post a little clip or screenshots or description of the bug there, and that automatically gets re-uploaded to our QA board with all the images and videos that get posted. So then it pings up directly for our QA team and the developer, so they can check out right away, so we don’t have to scroll through all the different feedbacks. Because, you know, we have a lot of games and there is just one channel, but it sorts by the game, so different developers don’t have to like, you know, scroll through other feedback, it automatically gets re-posted to their own specific board for their game, and then they can go from there.

FLOR: I think that it’s great that you involve the community and you listen to them and you apply…

VLAD: It’s been a massive help. And, you know, one thing we do is like everybody who participates in our open and closed betas and provide actually some tangible feedback, they always get added to the credits of the game as gestures or support. So people are happy, they get free games, they get to help out, they get to feel involved, and they give us some ideas and suggestions. And that keeps the community active and interesting as well.

FLOR: Absolutely.

ALEX: Well, you have over 10K members on your Discord server, right? If I’m not mistaken.

VLAD: There’s a counter on top.

ALEX: I know. That’s why I ask.

VLAD: Close to 11.

FLOR: Wow, that’s amazing. Yeah. We’re also going to leave the Discord link in the comment section as well.

VLAD: gg/nd. It’s very easy.

ALEX: Yeah. It’s super easy.

FLOR: Yeah. Everyone should join and check out all the games that Vlad has been mentioning, and also to check out the community because, yeah, it’s amazing how you can interact with them and take their feedback as you said. And this are some, well, the things that Vlad is mentioning are some of the benefits of working with a partner that knows what they’re doing, because sometimes indie devs don’t have the experience, the time, the money, the energy, or even the people to solve all these stages that you mentioned through the localization process, including QA.

VLAD: Yeah, because it’s just so much work when it all comes down to releasing a game. It’s not just, you know, making a game, but there’s a lot of other stuff behind closed doors, like a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork, especially if you’re dealing with the, you know, different platforms. And then, you know, they’re dealing with tax, with all the payments, like it’s your company’s property… All of that stuff is a nightmare to deal with. And there’s… If you’ve never done this before and you’re doing it for the first time, you’re probably gonna make mistakes and screw things up. So if you don’t want to deal with it, you know, just probably, normally, a good publisher will handle all of that for you, so you can just focus on making your game, and you don’t have to deal with anything else.

ALEX: On that note, is there any specific strategy that you apply when choosing the languages that you localize the games into? And to follow that up, are the devs involved, or do you get on a video call and you decide where you’re gonna target your game? How does that work?

VLAD: So in our case, you know, English and Chinese, we always do in-house. So there’s no question about it. And all the other languages, it really depends on what type of game it is and how many words there are and which state it’s releasing. For example, if it’s an early access title, we’re not gonna do a lot of languages because, with early access, there’s gonna be active releases of updates and all of that, and you can’t have like eight, ten languages for an early access title. It becomes a nightmare to QA and localize every little update you do. So you just focus on like a few major ones. Um, again, if the game has 250,000 words, then probably not gonna localize like in all the languages that we normally do. But a lot of it depends, like I said, like the genre of your game, the type of the game. So we kind of do some market research to see which regions perform well for these types of games. And we look at our previous titles and see where it’s sold, and then we compare the costs of the localization versus the actual revenue. And yeah, we sit down with the developers and then we figure out which languages we wanna do. Because, you know, a lot of the times we get requests for Spanish, but guess who doesn’t buy games? Spanish speakers. There’s a lot of them, they’re very vocal, but just the revenue’s in there, you know, you end up spending like 15,000, 20,000 dollars on localization… Okay, I’m exaggerating right now. It’s more like $4,000 or $5,000, so not a huge localization job. But then the revenue isn’t just there because everybody pirates the game, nobody buys it. You know, it’s the same story with a few languages. So we just have to kind of figure out where it makes sense. Obviously, if the developers are like from South America or Spain, like Spanish is gonna be there no matter what. Or, you know, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese. But unless there’s like a really good reason to localize in certain regions, then there’s just no point in wasting money because budgets are limited, you know? As much as we want to make it available to everybody, we also have to look at this through the marketing and business perspective. But normally we do… We try to do, you know, Chinese, English, Japanese, Russian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese. More or less.

ALEX: Yeah. You have your focus on the languages that you offer or that, after the market research, you recommend.

VLAD: Yeah. Where it makes sense, you know? And if the developers really wanna push a certain language, we’re not gonna say no. But yeah, just…

FLOR: Yeah. And going back to what you mentioned about piracy here in Latin America and in so many regions around the world, I believe, I mean, I’m hopeful that this is changing. I mean, especially since Steam localized their currency. At least in Argentina right now, they did it.

VLAD: To the regional currency. Yeah.

FLOR: Yeah. And I’ve seen a change in that as well. But yeah, it’s slowly, but hopefully surely changing.

VLAD: It was quite funny. You did the localization, and then everybody swapped to Argentina to buy cheaper games for cheaper.

FLOR: Yeah, I know. Well, I think you cannot do that anymore because it picks up, of course, where you are and if you do, like…

VLAD: You can still do it with a VPN.

ALEX: With a VPN. Yeah.

VLAD: And then there’s still ways to get the local currency on your account, which I’m not gonna talk about for obvious reasons.

FLOR: We’re not recommending this.

ALEX: We’re not recommending this at all.

VLAD: Yeah, please don’t do that. But also what happened is the big publishers, for example, like Capcom and Bandai and Namco, all their games, they just remove regional pricing. So, for example, if you go to Argentina or Russia or China and you check the price, the prices are still, you know, full $60 or $70 for that game no matter which region you’re in. So it kind of screwed some people over with that because, you know, people started abusing it. Um, yeah. When it comes to piracy, in our case, you know, we don’t really bother with it. I mean, if people were to buy the game, they would have bought the game. Like if they’re pirates, they will pirate and it doesn’t matter. Like it’s really hard to prove. Maybe they’ll pirate it, they’ll really like it and they’ll come and buy it. Great. But if not, it’s fine. You know, it’s just the way of life. It is what it is. And, you know, some people just can’t afford to pay full price for the games, and that’s also fine. So it’s not like it’s killing us or anything, so it’s fine.

FLOR: Yeah. It was way worse when we had the physical copies over here. I remember people gathering in parks and exchanging the pirates, the pirated copies.

VLAD: It was the underground metro station for me, where they would sell all these bootleg CDs and everything. Yeah.

FLOR: Yeah, same.

VLAD: In Russia, they had like these official piracy publishers, so they had their brand and they were like producing these pirated CDs and selling them in stores and everything. Since then they’ve gone official. I’m not gonna say who it is, but since then… They’re still a publisher, they’re still active, but they don’t do the piracy stuff anymore. They just publish games on Steam, things like that.

ALEX: Everyone has to start somewhere.

VLAD: Yeah. When I was a kid, they were the ones who were doing all the piracy discs and just selling those.

FLOR: [Cut-off audio] like us wouldn’t have had the chance to play games back then otherwise, so thanks to those folks. Good or bad, we got access to pretty good games back then, so yeah. So before going to the meme section, I want to ask you, young Vlad…

VLAD: Oh, God, what did I sent to you?

FLOR: Would young Vlad play the games that you’re actually publishing right now? What do you think?

VLAD: Well, some of them for sure, like the bloody, gory ones… So my parents wouldn’t see? Yeah. And… Yeah, probably… kid me would probably play the shit out of these games. Yeah.

ALEX: Maybe your parents wouldn’t approve, but at the same time…

VLAD: Oh, man, my parents still don’t approve.

FLOR: It would make it more fun, right?

VLAD: Compared to my previous jobs, they’re like, “Oh, what have you done with your life?”

ALEX: Well, we talk about with Flor sometimes that, in our line of work with video games and everything, when we, I mean, we get excited about things, right? And then we probably talk to our parents, and they don’t really comprehend the whole excitement behind it. So I think it’s a generational thing.

VLAD: Oh, yeah, definitely.

FLOR: Yeah, it’s like, I work in video games, I get paid to play video games. I make money out of it and it’s like…

ALEX: Right, yeah.

FLOR: Hey, I can’t complain. So let’s go to the meme section. So yeah, “With the new Switch version, we made the screen bigger. You fixed the Joy-Con drift issue, right?

ALEX: You fixed the Joy-Con drift issue, right?

FLOR: I love this one.

VLAD: I don’t think it… They took it apart, and some people said that they added a little phone cushion. So I don’t know if it fixed the issue or not, but like all of my left ones are [indistinct 36:57].

ALEX: They can always improve. “Where is my hand?“

VLAD: I had just finished binging “Loki” when you sent me that e-mail, so I was like, I need to put the little alligator in.

ALEX: I think everyone loves “Loki.” I mean, in my case, I love it even more now.

VLAD: It’s a good show, yeah. I really enjoyed it.

ALEX: “Dom, what are you doing here? You don’t want to do that to family.” The Vin Diesel family meme is everywhere right now.

VLAD: People hated it, but yeah, I was like, I found it quite funny. It was cringey, but it’s just something that always tickles me. You definitely don’t do that to family.

ALEX: It works in so many levels. That’s the thing.

FLOR: Exactly. “Sorry for bad English.”

ALEX: “If I make a mistake in English, please don’t correct me. I have no respect for this language.” Oh, that’s just me.

VLAD: Shots fired.

FLOR: Burn!

VLAD: Yeah, I know.

ALEX: That’s just me.

VLAD: It’s just… Yeah, it’s me.

FLOR: I always say like that, if you make mistakes is because it’s not the first language that you speak, your native language is something different, and it means that you speak more than one languages. And that is…

VLAD: Yeah. I never got the idea of people getting pissed off. I’m like, if somebody starts talking like in Estonian or in Russian to me, like if it’s like, you know, a bit messy and fucky, like, I don’t care, man. Good for you for learning, because it’s a pain in the ass to learn these. But we always get, you know, the native English speakers who are just being assholes. Especially here in Asia. Oh, man. The English teachers like I’ve met in China and here in Taiwan, sometimes it’s just…

FLOR: Oh, really?

VLAD: Too pretentious. Obviously, not all of them, but like the ones that are just here for the… Party. Yeah. Anyways. Moving on.

FLOR: It happened to me with German, actually, that I lived in Berlin for a couple of months and was learning German, and whenever they listened I was destroying their language, they automatically changed to English.

VLAD: Oh, yeah. See, they don’t do that in Spain. They’re just like, “Nope, you gotta speak French or Spanish,” and…

FLOR: Do your best, and your best is gonna be better than trying to speak in English, either in Spain or France.

VLAD: Yeah, the Wolverine. This one is because I only got one post that hit hot. It was a post about this promotion that China Telecom… China Mobile did like six, seven years ago, where they made a big-ass calculator that looks like an iPad. So we just took pictures and be like, “I ordered an iPad and this is what I got.” And then you turn it around, and it’s just like, it looks like an iPad, but it’s just like a massive calculator. Yeah.

ALEX: That’s your post that reached hot.

VLAD: Yeah. Yeah. Just the one. Wait, was this me? I don’t think it was me.

ALEX: No, no, no. We added a couple.

VLAD: I was like, what?

ALEX: Yeah. No, no, no, we added a couple.

VLAD: When the Queen wore that green thing, and then people started using it as a green screen and Photoshopping all sorts of stuff on it.

FLOR: Oh, man, that was great.

VLAD: I had to ask permission with one of our co-founders, because he’s from UK. I was like, “Can I, like, mess with this? Put like our company logo as her dress and stuff like that? Like, is it offensive?” He was like, “Nah, it’s fine.”

FLOR: [Cut-off audio]

VLAD: Yeah, yeah. I mean, he’s from Scotland, so he doesn’t like the Queen anyways.

FLOR: Oh, I see. Oh, this is another one from Lara and our team.

ALEX: “We play on the gaming chair,” for PC gamers. Console gamers play on the couch. Mobile gamers play in the john. Well, that’s pretty accurate.

FLOR: The throne.

ALEX: The throne.

VLAD: Yeah. I can’t even argue with this one.

ALEX: The face of the mobile gamer, poor guy. He’s like, why are you taking a picture of me right now?

FLOR: Yeah, it’s like, “Don’t bother me. I’m playing.”

ALEX: Yeah. This cracked me up even more than it should, I think. It just goes to show my sort of humor.

FLOR: …our meme round. We had so much fun.

ALEX: Thanks, Vlad, for sharing yours.

FLOR: Yeah. Thank you so much, Vlad, for joining us, and for sharing a bit more about your journey within this industry and your experience behind a publishing company. It was very useful for our audience.

VLAD: Yeah, no problem.

FLOR: And thanks again for staying up this late. I mean, I know it’s Friday night and…

VLAD: It’s not super late. Yeah, we’ve got lots of work to do, so it’s not like I’m going out to bars and partying, you know. Still kind of can’t… Well, actually, we can now, yeah. They lifted the whole thing, so I could be outside drinking, but…

FLOR: Well, I hope you get some rest, and we can’t wait to hear more about the new games you’re going to be publishing in the next couple months.

VLAD: I’d say, just mark your calendars for August 31st, because that’s when we’re gonna have the Indie Houses event with Neon Doctrine and then six other publishers. We got Akupara, Raw Fury, White Thorne, Fellow Traveller, Those Awesome Guys, and Toge Productions. It’s ’cause we’re gonna have a massive…

FLOR: A lot of friends!

VLAD: Yeah, yeah. Seven publishers.

FLOR: That’s incredible.

VLAD: There’s gonna be an hour-long segment, more or less. Probably more, hour and a half. So each of the publishers is gonna have their own, like, ten, 15-minute video or oral presentation thing about what’s upcoming. Then we’re gonna have a big event on Steam with a bunch of keynotes from the developers, you know, like free-to-play demos… well, demos to play for everybody. And then new game announcements, games on sale, things like that. So if you wanna know what’s gonna be next for us and our other friends, then just tune in for that, and you can see all the crazy stuff. And it’s gonna be me with a cat this time in the video. During Guerrilla Collective, it was…

ALEX: What’s the name of your cat? I don’t remember. I believe you showed it…


FLOR: He has two cats. And the other one?

VLAD: Let me see if I can get the fat one.

FLOR: Yes! Mission accomplished. Cat cameo.

ALEX: We made it.

VLAD: Oh! Here we go.

FLOR: Oh! Look at that fluffy ball.

VLAD: Yeah.

ALEX: Oh, my God!

VLAD: Almost seven KG.

ALEX: He’s a lazy one. Wow!

VLAD: Yeah, yeah. Almost seven KG. Okay, bye.

ALEX: I have no idea how much that is in pounds.

VLAD: Uh, I…

FLOR: Kilograms is fine.

ALEX: Seven kilograms. Yeah.

FLOR: Oh, thanks for sharing RT with us, too. Everyone tune in August 31st, you’ll hear more news about Neon Doctrine and all the amazing publishers that will be joining Vlad. And thanks again, Vlad, for joining Open World. Thanks everyone for tuning in. See you on our next episode.

ALEX: Thank you, everyone.

VLAD: Thanks for having me.

FLOR: Take care!

ALEX: Thanks, Vlad. Bye, everyone!

VLAD: Bye-bye!

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