“Work begins with sirens.” Developers of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 speak about the war (and the game)

During the Xbox Games Showcase Extended event, quite unexpectedly, the Ukrainian GSC Game World studio revealed some new details about the sequel to the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl, as well as the video diary of the developers, who have been working on the game during the war. AIN.Capital reports the gist of the presentation.

  • Gamers have been waiting a very long time for the second installment in the cult post-apocalyptic game series about the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone and the stalkers who explore it, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl. The release of the sequel was announced several years ago, and since then, little by little, the developers have been sharing the details about the future game and showing gameplay videos.
  • The game is developed by a Ukrainian studio. So the full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine, of course, affected the development process and the company in general. At the event, it was confirmed that the game’s release was postponed to 2023.
  • But what really surprised the audience of the event was the screening of the Ukrainian developers’ video diary, where they spoke about their work during the war, about basements, sirens, and their colleagues who had taken up arms to defend their country. This is surprising mostly because companies like Microsoft usually make every attempt to avoid any negativity at their entertainment events. Showing the war, bomb shelters, and guns at an Xbox event may indicate the high level of support for Ukrainians from the world’s biggest IT companies. Microsoft announced that it ceased operations in the Russian market back in March, 2022.
  • In their video diary, the developers from GSC Game World share how they work in the time of the war. They show how the war in Ukraine looks like: sirens, buildings smashed by missile attacks near the company’s office, ravaged Irpin, the evacuation of the staff members.
  • Not all of the team members could evacuate. The video shows how their workday begins with air raid alerts and how they hide in a shelter during heavy shelling.

“This is a carrier for my cat, who died back on the first day of the war,” one of the employees says.

  • Maxim Tkachenko, the Community Lead, shows his bathroom: now it is his usual workplace. Daria Tsipkova, the Narrative Designer, says that she has been living and working in her corridor for over two months. She lives with a one-eyed dog rescued from shelling in Hostomel.
  • Many of the company’s staff has joined the Armed Forces (ZSU). One of them, the Lead AI developer Dmytro Yasenyev, says he has never imagined that a full-scale war could break out in the middle of Europe in the 21st century.
  • Previously, it also became known that the company had removed the Russian language from the list of voice-over versions of the game, leaving just Russian subtitles. The civilized reaction of the Russian gaming community to those news can be viewed, for example, here in the comments. Their outrage and threats not to buy the game look all the funnier, because in the very beginning of the war, the company announced that the game would not be distributed in the RF.
  • The developers have also renamed the game, changing the transliteration to Ukrainian. Chornobyl not Chernobyl.