Russians leaked 15 GB of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, as GSC Game World did not give in to blackmail
Russian “gamers” who blackmailed the Ukrainian studio GSC Game World and demanded an apology and Russian localization in response to the company’s principled position did, in fact, publish 15 GB of leaked content.
There are various design documents, art books, concepts, sketches, and, according to the Russians, the plot of the game. Therefore, we advise adequate people to ignore the mentions of the leaked files, which may be circulating in the Internet in the near future.
What did Russians want?
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.
The studio reacted to this with an official statement, where it said that it will not give in to 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.”
What was in the leaked files?
In response to the company’s principled position, the blackmailers did publish 15 GB of leaks. According to the Russians, the files contain the following information:
- various design documents, art books, concepts, sketches, etc.;
- information about future DLCs and locations included;
- description of plot items (detectors, containers) and plot cutscenes;
- the plot of the game (appearance and death of key characters, answers to the main plot questions from the category “What is the Heart of Chornobyl?”);
- details about the development of the game world;
- screenshots from various builds of the game. Particles tests, animations, and more.
Even during the first stage of the Russian blackmail, the studio called on all adequate players who are sincerely waiting for the release to refrain from watching the leaked materials, not to spoil the first impression of the iconic game.
“In the event of any leaks, we ask that you refrain from watching or distributing information about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl. Outdated and work-in-progress materials may dilute the impression of the final idea that we have put into the game. We encourage you to stay patient and wait for the official release for the best experience possible. We believe that you will love it.”
Why is it important?
Russian “gamers” started blackmailing the Ukrainian studio in the second year of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, with tens of thousands of citizens dead 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 a 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.