OverviewGFI Russia is a Russian game development studio. It was first established in 1997 as MiST land and its first project was the fantasy real-time strategy game BESTiARY. Due to problems with the publishers, it was eventually cancelled. The first released game became Napoleon's Battles. Work was started in 1999 and it was released in November 2000 on the Russian market. At the time the studio was also involved with contract and localization work. An English version of the game surfaced in 2003. Around 2002 the company started trading as ZAO MiST land South.
Its second title Paradise Cracked was released in 2002. It is a mix of a role-playing game with tactical combat and was also released internationally. Its third project was released in 2003: the space combat game StarCalibur developed together with Secret Sign. In the same year COPS 2170: The Power of Law was released as a prequel to Paradise Cracked, along with the expansion known in English as COPS 2170: The Power of Law - Police Stories in 2004, though there was likely never an English release for the add-on. In January 2005 the strategy game ALFA: Antiterror - Advanced War Tactics was released along with the add-on known in Russian as АЛЬФА: антитеррор - Мужская работа (translates as "ALFA: Antiterror - Male Work", but there was no English release).
In 2003 the company was acquired by Game Factory Interactive and in 2006 it was reformed as GFI Russia. The studio set out to develop two games in the Jagged Alliance series: Jagged Alliance 3 and Jagged Alliance 3D, but those were never released as Strategy First, the owner of the IP, withdrew the license. Originally a game called African Alliance was in development, but it was halted in September 2005 and the assets were moved to the Jagged Alliance 3D project. The Jagged Alliance 3 game was reworked as Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge and released in 2007.
Other titles developed as GFI Russia include the strategy games Warfare (2008) and Officers (2009). The studio has since also developed casual hidden object games such as Jessica: Mysterious Journey and Jessica: Secret of the Caribbean, both released in 2009 and developed together with Waterfall Interactive.
In May 2008 the main Game Factory Interactive company merged with the Russian distributor Russobit-M into the Bestway group.
It is not known whether GFI Russia still operates with that name, but between 2007 and the end of 2011 the company was likely involved with the localization and the operation of multiplayer-only games such as Audition 2, Mythos and NavyField for the Russian market. Since 22nd March 2011 all these multiplayer services has been unified under the name Belver.
Contributed by Sciere (402477) on Nov 13, 2012. [revised by : GTramp (51822) and Sciere (402477)].