FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with Veronika Golianová, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Slovak Impact Games

    Veronika Golianová Veronika Golianová photo: private archive

    BRATISLAVA: FNE spoke to Veronika Golianová, co-founder and co-CEO of Slovak Impact Games, about their current activities, as well as the state of the Slovak 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 Impact Games founded and what have been your main missions and strategic projects so far?

    Veronika Golianová: Impact Games is a select multidisciplinary team of educators, creatives, developers, graphic artists, game designers and communication specialists. We are not the standard “gamedev” studio, as for us the games are mainly a tool for achieving a social impact. Our mission is to bring education to games and play to schools. Through stimulating and thought-provoking gaming interactions, we expose children to environments where the more of their minds they tickle, the more interaction, retention and motivation they receive.

    Our current strategic initiative is to build the online learning platform Gamifactory, where teachers can find suitable games and methodological support on how to use them for education. The platform is currently undergoing a visual identity change as much more content is being added. The new version will be launched in the autumn of 2022. In partnership with the Butterfly Effect programme, we developed the mobile game Aaron’s Dilemma, which tells the story of a Syrian refugee fleeing the violent conflict in his country. In 2021, we also published follow me, a card game that teaches critical thinking and media literacy. We worked on this project with Doublequote studio.

    We have just celebrated our three-year anniversary a couple of days ago.

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

    Veronika Golianová: The gaming industry is growing everywhere and Slovakia is no exception. I was just reading the 2021 Industry Report, which the Slovak Game Developers Association prepares every year, and it is really impressive to see both the growth of the industry and also the increasing quality of the games produced. Obviously, we still can’t really compare with our neighbours, but it is improving and I believe we will get our Cyberpunk once (!).

    We also still have a long way to go in terms of gender representation within the sector. Women constitute only 16% of the staff of gamedev companies in Slovakia. This is way below the global average which is around 30%, which you know is also not ideal, but still much better.

    FNE: Film and games converge is a hot topic now. What can you tell us about the relationship between the gaming industry and film in your experience?

    Veronika Golianová: If there is demand, I don’t see why we should not pursue this. It is an entertainment industry after all, so if this will help us create more fun and immersive experiences for players and audiences, let’s go for it. I believe everything will be metaverse soon enough, so I don’t really understand why we should cling to the lines which will soon be blurred anyway.

    FNE: How important are full-motion/real-life footage game projects to your work?

    Veronika Golianová: We haven’t worked on such a project yet. I have seen some interesting ones and definitely see the benefit. Maybe in the future, why not?

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

    Veronika Golianová: This is not really my area of expertise.

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

    Veronika Golianová: The only project I am aware of is Mimi and Lisa, the TV series produced by Full Moon Film, which was adapted into a game by Darkvision Games.

    FNE: Which Slovak games would you single out that have had international success, on which you worked? Also which films or animations do you single out from your portfolio?

    Veronika Golianová: Our game Aaron’s Dilemma received the Global Education Network Europe Award for Quality in Global Education in 2021. Also, our portal Gamifactory was recognised by the SozialMarie Prize for social innovation in 2022.

    FNE: What projects are you currently working on?

    Veronika Golianová: Currently we are developing a mobile game called Cells in Action. The goal of the game is to help the player understand how the human immune system works. And we have many more projects in the pipeline, which I cannot talk about just yet, so stay tuned!

    FNE: How much is the turnover and how much % of expected growth in the Slovak Games industry?

    Veronika Golianová: Based on the data from the Industry Report I mentioned above, the total turnover in 2021 was 80 m EUR and it is expected to grow to 83.2 m EUR in 2023.