Russian gamers blackmail S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 developers. The attempts are futile

Russian gamers are blackmailing the Ukrainian studio GSC Game World, which is working on the continuation of the cult classic game — S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The blackmailers demand an apology and the Russian localization of the game. Otherwise, the studio is threatened to release tens of gigabytes of stolen data about the new game. The studio did not give in to the blackmail.

  • On March 11, the Russian VK group «Вестник «Того Самого Сталкера» with 13,000 subscribers posted a message from its admins (specifically, the admin nicknamed Nick Frost) with a goal to blackmail GSC Game World. The author claimed to possess tens of gigabytes of the new game contents, in particular, information about the plot. He threatened to make it all public if the studio:
    • will not apologize to players from Russia and Belarus for their “unworthy attitude” (the studio publicly has a pro-Ukrainian position, donates to the Ukrainian army, and in the summer of 2022 announced that it would remove Russian voice acting from the game);
    • return the Russian voiceover for the game by March 15, 2023;
    • unban the NF Star community admin on the game’s official Discord.
  • Russian gamers addressed this “appeal” to the Ukrainian studio during the second year of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, after tens of thousands of dead citizens and entire cities destroyed by the occupying army. GSC Game World has been working on the game under shelling, from basements and bomb shelters, and many of its employees entered the ranks of the Armed Forces.
  • In December 2022, the famous S.T.A.L.K.E.R developer Volodymyr Yezhov died in battle near Bakhmut. Since the beginning of the invasion, the studio has removed its games from the Russian segment of Steam, and the Russians started massively review-bombing the game.
  • Over time, this ugly story suffered new details. The admin of the Russian group Nick Frost, who is probably a resident of Yenakievo (the city is indicated in his VK profile), says under the topic discussion that his ban was “because of politics” and this conflict is “not about politics”. He also calls himself a “participant of the SMO (Special Military Operation)”, posts photos in uniform, and writes about “Donbass being bombed for 9 years,” which is a classic Russian propaganda piece.
Russian gamers blackmail S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 developers. The attempts are futile
Image: the screenshot of the VK group topic discussion
  • Even some of the group followers warned the admin that blackmailing the developers is not the best way. To this, he replied that his blackmail is, per se, not really blackmail, and he doesn’t want to harm the game. Right here, there are similar vibes of Russian TV propaganda, which tells that the Russians were forced to bomb a neighboring country and kill its people.
  • The studio reacted to this with an official statement, where it said that it will not give in to the blackmail.

“We are a Ukrainian company, and like most Ukrainians, we have experienced many things that are much more terrifying: destroyed houses, ruined lives, and the deaths of our loved ones. Attempts to blackmail or intimidate us are completely futile. Our unwavering commitment to supporting our country remains unchanged.”

  • The company also urged not to distribute any leaked materials of the game and wait for its official release.
  • In response to this, the Russian group has already started to publish game materials, in particular, the concept art of characters and monsters. AIN.Capital also urges not to distribute them and not spoil the first impression of the game.

This whole story is like a miniature mirror of the Russian attitude towards neighboring states and the world as a whole. They steal someone else’s property, blackmail the studio working on a game under missiles, whose employees were killed by the Russians during its war of aggression. And at the same time, they wonder why they are treated unworthily.