Development on Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl recently resumed, after being paused in February following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Studio GSC Game World was based in Kyiv but has had to help its staff and their families relocate, during which period it also changed the game's name: it's now Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl, reflecting the Ukrainian spelling of the region.
The game was still scheduled for a December launch though, given the circumstances, this seemed increasingly optimistic. At the Xbox and Bethesda showcase last night, a slide near the end of the presentation listing games coming out over the next 12 months showed Stalker 2 as now being down for a 2023 release.
✨ VIDEO GAMES ✨ pic.twitter.com/r48l1xE9lnJune 12, 2022
I contacted GSC Game World and asked if the slide was accurate. "It happened a little bit earlier than expected, we were actually planning to reveal it in the upcoming days," writes GSC's Zakhar Bocharov. "But yes, the game now releases in 2023."
A game's release date is of course unimportant in the context of war, but Stalker 2 is just one of many ways that Russia's illegal invasion has had knock-on effects in the gaming and tech industry. GSC Game World is currently in the process of relocating to Prague, and in March ceased operations in Russia (which resulted in the game's website being blocked in an act of petty censorship.) The studio has condemned the "inhuman cruelty" of the invasion, and this is a question of survival for its employees and their families.