TIGS: Vasily Zotov Interview

This must be one of the most extraordinary interviews ever to be featured on a games site. It’s subject is Vasily Zotov, the creator of bizarre adventure title, Quite Soulless. The topics covered include Zotov’s strange art style, the reason behind his creativity, the status of the mentally ill in Russia, homelessness, the status of immigrants, and Zotov’s troubled move to California. Here’s a sample quote:

I am the different bee, I mean my literacy sucks, anyway I wanted is to create story, and I hate to be an artist (but I am capable of that), the games are my only window to literacy. I wanted to be a writer and was not capable of, may I say my games are not an art but this BRIDGE.

Zotov has a new game out, a free puzzle game called Space Spy, which you can get here.


  1. Vinraith says:

    Is it me, or does that read exactly like Pathologic dialogue?

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Haha, I agree, but pathologic dialogue is even more difficult to get your head around. I can’t believe that nobody has re-written it in decent English yet. Hell, I’d even do it if they gave me a big document with all the dodgy English to replace.

  2. robrob says:

    Pags is going to love this

    • Pags says:

      I did a double-take when I saw Vasily Zotov’s name in big letters as I was idly scrolling down. Absolutely mind-bending interview, I’m so glad he actually talks the same way he writes. More people need to play Quite Soulless because it is absolutely out of it’s mind and completely broken, but impossible to tear yourself away from.

  3. Psychopomp says:

    What the fuck did I just play?

    • AndrewC says:

      Interestingly, Zotov is already an ellision, originating from the time he set fire to the monkey enclosure.

  4. Helm says:

    I fear the interview on tigs conveys a slightly exploitative tinge. Perhaps it was created and published with respect to the author of these games but I’m skeptical.

    The notions that the author conveys, behind the broken English are often fascinating.

  5. Zanchito says:

    Reading the comments on the original interview site makes me wonder, as many people seem to have trouble understanding what he is saying, while it was very easy for me. Maybe us non-native english speakers have some kind of advantage understanding broken english?

    Anyway, that was a really interesting interview, and I totally believe what he says about his experiences in Russia and with the US Department of Justice. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t heard stories like those somewhere else…

  6. Kamos says:

    Native speakers of a language will often not understand sentences with what seem to be minor mistakes. I guess they are not used to reading a broken version of their own language, while we do it all the time. :)

  7. terry says:

    I love the bit about the inappropriate handjob to the actress.

  8. Gutter says:

    RPS has to stop reusing images for games!

    This and the MW2 shoot made me close the page twice because I though that you were still on Friday’s news.

  9. rei says:

    Whenever I read about people with genuine difficulties in their lives, I feel a little disgusted with myself for thinking I have problems, when really I’m ridiculously lucky. Interview made me sad :|

  10. Remarque says:

    Its hard to tell if he has really bad English or is just batshit crazy.

  11. KIN says:

    BTW, his on Indiegamer for Quite Soulless (MUST READ).

  12. fuzz says:

    hey, i interviewed vasily. just saying that i didn’t mean to exploit him in any way, he liked the interview too, so it seems like everything’s fine?

    sorry if it came off the way you thought it did, i just used all the answers he gave me.

    • Frye says:

      Not at all mate, nice interview.

      I am usually not one for generalizations, but Russians (read: the two i lived with for 3 years) are definitely less worried about keeping up appearances than at least where i come from (Netherlands). More like: this is who i am, if you don’t like it : screw you and leave me alone.

      On some subjects (like mental illness) that can come across as somewhat overly honest.

  13. amishmonster says:

    I don’t think that it seemed exploitative, though I was wondering why there wasn’t more in there about Zotov’s background. Maybe there was some foreknowledge about his troubles and such that I lacked (or maybe the somewhat disjointed stream of consciousness), but I just felt like references to schizophrenia and deportation got tossed around and not really questioned or addressed until the end.

    His talk of abuse by authorities just gave me a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, compared to the little stuff I have to deal with (like rei, above).

  14. fuzz says:

    well, i took the questions out of the order he replied to them in, to give the interview more flow, but maybe that mixed up the background info? i think he sort of assumed that the readers would know a bit about him from his forum posts, etc.

  15. amishmonster says:

    Quite possibly. Reading about this here on RPS, all I knew was that I’d heard of Quite Soulless, so much of the confusion probably came from there.