We haven’t been tracking the development trajectory of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl very closely, particularly since it’s projecting a December 2023 launch with the addition of multiplayer sometime after that as a free update. Even so, it has arrived to the headlines for a pretty unfortunate reason, as Ukraine-based development studio GSC Game World has suffered a hacking and attempted blackmailing from a pro-Russian group.
The hack in question affected one of the studio’s work-with-images applications, which gave hackers access to 30GB of concept art, maps, and cutscenes that reveal the game’s story. The pro-Russia perpetrators posted demands on Russia’s VK social media site, calling for a “[rethinking of attitudes] towards players in Belarus and Russia,” a return of Russian localization, and an apology for the “unworthy attitude” towards Belarusian and Russian players. The hackers have threatened to release the data they stole if their demands aren’t met.
“The fact that we have not made all of the material available to the public speaks of our friendly attitude towards you,” the post reads. “Don’t let the STALKER universe die because of your politicization.”
GSC Game World does not appear to be bothered by the hackers’ threats. “Our unwavering commitment to supporting our country remains unchanged,” reads part of the studio’s announcement. “We are a Ukrainian company, and like most Ukrainians, we have experienced things that are much more terrifying.”
GSC Game World has made no attempts to bury its national pride in the face of Russia’s war, with determined messages, images of STALKER-themed patches worn by Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines, and video footage of the devs drowning out an air raid siren with harp music.