The hackers threatened to publish dozens of gigabytes of materials about the yet-to-be-released STALKER 2 game, demanding an apology from the Ukrainian developer GSC Game World for “unworthy treatment of players from Belarus and Russia.”
In March 2022, GSC Game World announced that it would not sell STALKER 2 in Russia. At the same time, the company changed the name of the game from Heart of Chernobyl to Heart of Chornobyl (according to the transliteration of the city’s name not from Russian, but from Ukrainian) and stopped updating its official VKontakte account.
In the summer of 2022, GSC Game World announced that the game would not have Russian voice acting – only English and Ukrainian. In this case, the player will have the opportunity to select subtitles in Russian.
In Russia, in April 2022, access to the official website of the game was blocked. Presumably, this could happen because of an appeal to fans posted there – in it, the developers condemned the invasion of Russian troops and called for help to Ukraine.
On having access to “a huge amount of material” about the March 11 game informed administrator of the group “Bulletin of the same Stalker” in VKontakte, one of the largest communities where fans of the franchise communicate. According to the group’s administration, the information they received includes the plot, cut-scenes descriptions, concept art, and global maps.
As evidence, the administrator posted several screenshots. He stated that he would not publish all other information if GSC Game World met three conditions by March 15:
- “will come to his senses and rethink the attitude towards players from Belarus and Russia” and apologize for the “unworthy attitude towards ordinary players from these countries.”
- will return Russian-language localization to STALKER 2.
- unlocks the banned “for nothing” profile of the VK community on the official forum of the game.
“Until the 15th, we are waiting for a change in the company’s policy towards adequacy and acceptance of its own fans, wherever they may be, as well as the return of ro-localization, if not by release, then at least in the form of an add-on,” the statement said.
Studio GSC Game World responded to what happened the next day. In an official tweet, she confirmedthat the account of one of the employees was hacked. They noted that this is not the first case of hacking, threats and attempts to “damage the production process and the company’s reputation.”
“We are a Ukrainian company, and, like most Ukrainians, we have seen much more terrible things: destroyed homes and lives, the death of loved ones,” GSC Game World said, calling attempts to intimidate developers “useless” against this background.
Also, the creators of the game asked their users not to watch leaks and not to share leaked information, so as not to spoil the impression of the game.
After the response from GSC Game World, the community administrators on VKontakte released several more posts in which they posted photos of the concept art of some characters. “Unfortunately, the company takes the request to reconsider relations with ordinary players with hostility, but we don’t want to lay out the most important until the last moment,” they said, promising to post on March 15 10 of the 30 gigabytes of materials they allegedly have.
STALKER 2 is one of the most anticipated games in the history of the industry. The start of its development was first reported back in 2010, however, the first official screenshots and trailer of the game were published only in 2020. At the same time, the release date of STALKER 2 was announced for the first time – 2021. Subsequently, however, this date was postponed several times – first because of the desire of the developers to “finish the game”, then – because of the outbreak of the war (most of the studio’s employees were in Kiev). Now the developers promise to release the game before the end of 2023, there is no exact release date yet.