FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with Chairman of Czech Game Developers Association Pavel Barák

    FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with Chairman of Czech Game Developers Association Pavel Barák source: Pavel Barák's archive

    PRAGUE: FNE spoke with Pavel Barák, chairman of the Czech Game Developers Association (GDA), about the association's current activities, as well as the state of Czech game development industry.

    Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most important locations for global games developers and studios, and artists in the region are increasingly working for both film and games. FNE looks at how these two sectors of the entertainment industry are converging and why this trend is important for the future development of both.

    FNE: When was the Czech Game Developers Association founded and what have been your main missions and strategic projects so far?

    Pavel Barák: The association was founded in 2018 and our main goals were (and still are) to improve the game development education and to increase the number of programmes and courses in game development. Since then we are trying to increase the number of new people getting into the industry, ensuring easier financing options for startups and young studios, and to overall to raise awareness about game development within the Czech Republic.

    FNE: What is the current situation in the Czech gaming industry and what distinguishes it from the industry of other countries?

    Pavel Barák: The Czech gaming industry is doing very well. It is a long-term very fast-growing industry, which is confirmed by data from our studies. A specific feature of the Czech games market is the continued dominance of the development of PC and console titles, AAA and indie, over the development for mobile devices.

    FNE: Film and games convergence is a hot topic now. Are there any companies in your association working across both and what are they working on? What can you tell us about the relationship between the gaming industry and the film in your experience?

    Pavel Barák: Among our members there are only game development companies. There have been rumors that there is a film or TV series in production based on the game Kingdom Come: Deliverance by our member Warhorse Studios. Our association is closely cooperating with the film industry on the preparation of the transformation of the Cinematography fund into an Audiovisual fund, which should cover gaming projects as well.

    FNE: Are games going to IPO on Czech stock market and do the companies going to IPO include a film person or film projects?

    Pavel Barák: It hasn't happened yet. The largest game studio in the Czech Republic, Bohemia Interactive, considered an IPO and entry on the Prague Stock Exchange, but in the end they decided not to. Unfortunately, I don't know about any other cases.

    FNE: Are there any Czech films that are being turned into games or Czech games that are being turned into films or TV series?

    Pavel Barák: There are some games based on films. For example, the feature film Medieval by Petr Jákl, produced by J.B.J FILMS PRAGUE, which is planned to have its premiere in September 2022, has two games in production. One of them is an AAA 3rd person action-adventure game title, while the second one should be a mobile game.

    In the past there were other cases, for example the film The Ro©k Con Artists / Rock podvrataku by Karel Janák (2006, produced by Mr Film Production), for which a game has been released.

    An example of a film based on a game should be the film/TV series based on Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which I mentioned earlier.

    FNE: Which Czech games would you single out that have had international success?

    Pavel Barák: There are many of them. The whole Mafia franchise, military and action games like Operation Flashpoint, Arma, DayZ or Vigor by Bohemia Interactive, indie hits like Factorio or games by Amanita Design, such as Samorost, Machinarium, Botanicula, Chuchel. Or the global leader in VR games Beat Saber by the small Prague-based studio Beat Games. These are all Czech games and there are many more, such as Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Space Engineers, Shadowgun or Dead Trigger.

    FNE: How much is the turnover and how much is the percent of expected growth in the Czech games industry? What can you tell us specifically about your company numbers?

    Pavel Barák: Currently the turnover is more than 240 m EUR / 6 billion CZK with an average growth of more than 15 percent each year in the last five years. We expect the industry to grow even by 10 to 20 percent in the future years. There are currently 135 game development studios in the Czech Republic and more than 50 games produced every year.

    FNE: How do you see the development of the relationship between the film and gaming industries?

    Pavel Barák: As I mentioned before, we are working closely with the film industry on the transformation of the cinematography fund, that could possibly lead to a more frequent cooperation between game studios and film productions, and we can expect more cross-over projects.