"The problem was the outflow of the target audience. A lot of people who love video games have left the country," — Vladimir Obruchev from Bombor about the main thing for 2022

We continue the series of interviews in which we summarize the results of the year together with experts and top managers of the gaming industry (and related ones). This time we talked with Vladimir Obruchev, the head of the game direction at the Bombora publishing house.

Tell us what the year was like for you personally, where are you now, were there any things that you finally managed to realize and are proud of?

The year, like everyone else’s, was not easy, but it’s already clear to everyone. I stayed in Moscow and continue to actively work in the field of promoting books about games.

In addition to my main activity, I did a lot of business process optimization within the publishing house and took an active part in the launch of one of the information systems for its benefit. It wasn’t easy, but it was extremely interesting. At the same time, in the process, I felt like a business user, a Q&A system architect and many others at the same time.

What was the year like for the publishing house? What have you done, implemented, and what in general would I like to highlight in terms of achievements?

It wasn’t easy for everyone, and this year’s publishing house was no exception.

In the first half of the year, there were a lot of ambiguities about what would happen to paper and other printing materials (again, printing inks for printing products were included in some of the sanctions packages, I don’t remember which one).

One of the biggest achievements was the appearance of two production teams that help us with the preparation of books about games — one team specializes in development projects, the other in projects specifically on games.

Due to the rather significant uncertainty in the first half of the year, we released very few books about games, but in the second half of the year things generally got more interesting, and the end of the year turned out to be a shock at all.

In November, we finally finished one of our long-term projects and released a completely freaky encyclopedia on Assassin’s Creed — “The Assassin’s Creed Universe. History, characters, locations, technologies“. By the way, the circulation in the warehouse of the publishing house is almost over and we are thinking about reprinting.

Well, it is impossible not to mention the first book on Unreal Engine 5 in Russian — the work of Olga Maksimenkova and Nikita VeselkoProgramming in Unreal Engine 5 for a beginner igrodel. Fundamentals of the Blueprint Visual Language“.

A notable event was the book “I want to gamedev!” by Vyacheslav Utochkin and Konstantin Sakhnov.

Of the development books, I would also like to mention the books “Kill the Dragon! How to write brilliant scripts for video games” by Robert Bryant (Robert Bryant) and Keith Giglio (Keith Giglio), as well as the book by Robert Zubek (Robert Zubek) “Elements of game design. How to create games that are impossible to break away from.”

Well, among the works about games, it should be noted books on Baldur’s Gate, Resident Evil, Pokémon and Bioshock.

But in general, alas, it was possible to implement only a small part of this year’s plans.

How has the situation changed for the publishing house in the market? What new challenges did he face?

This year we had two main problems:

  1. All book publishers (and we, of course, were no exception) faced difficulties in their relations with foreign copyright holders. Many of them stopped working in the Russian market or put the relationship “on pause”. This led to great difficulties in acquiring the rights to new books (by and large, the situation began to change in a positive direction only in the fall, and then these changes are extremely small). Well, some copyright holders did not allow us to release their books this year. For example, Disney did not agree on two artbooks for their games.
  2. The second big problem for us was the outflow of the target audience. For well—known reasons, many people who love video games in all their manifestations – both ordinary players and developers – have left our country. Because of this, our circulation of books has naturally decreased.

What was the overall year for books about games?

Impressions of the year turned out to be twofold. On the one hand, more publishers have turned their attention to this segment of the book market and have started publishing development books, books about games and other, more fan stories. On the other hand, everything could have been much better and there could have been much more interesting books.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

We look forward to the next year with our usual optimism.

Firstly, we hope to release some of our “long—term plans” (which were planned for 2022, but, alas) – the book Level Up!, the book by Celia Hodent The Gamer’s Brain, a Power-Up book about the Japanese gaming industry, and a book on the history of The Witcher franchise (by the way, it has already gone to the printing house and, we hope, will already appear in stores in February).

Among the books about games, books about Super Mario, Fallout, Skyrim, Dark Souls, Uncharted, Persona, Red Dead Redemption, the history of Devolver, biographies of Peter Molyneux and Richard Garriott should be noted.

It is impossible not to mention the continuation of the book “Kojima — genius“. Terry Wolfe‘s new book “Genius Strikes Back” is dedicated to the further evolution of the Metal Gear Solid series.

Books on the development and creation of games will not be left aside. In the near future, we have both books for a relatively wide audience of developers (“Psychology of video games. How games affect our brain and how to establish a healthy trip to them“, “Game development without pain and crunches. A Guide for Game Designers“, “Game Design: Science and Art“, “Architectural approach to Level design“, “100 principles of game design“, “How to create Stories. The basics of game screenwriting and narrative design in 12 steps“), as well as new projects on animation in video games, creating music for games and many more interesting things.

Well, one of the main game projects of 2023 for us will be the book by Cliff Bleszinski (Cliff Bleszinski) Control Freak.

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