During the addendum to the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, Stalker 2‘s rumored delay into 2023 was made more concrete. However, that was a foregone conclusion, as evidenced by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World’s video from March stating that development had “shifted to the sidelines” due to the war. GSC was headquartered in Ukraine up until February of this year, when Russia invaded the country and uprooted the lives of untold thousands. In an effort to give its community an idea of their current status, the team posted a dev diary highlighting its move into a new studio in Prague. In addition, it tells the stories of developers working out of bathrooms, watching beloved local haunts become holes in the ground, and writing about violent quests as sirens blare outside their door.
Several of the team’s members, including Narrative Designer Maksym Hnatkov and Lead A.I. Developer Dmytro Iassenev, have joined the armed forces in the fight against Russia. They were shown posed with weapons not unlike the ones they put into their games, and Iassenev commented that he never thought he’d live to see armed conflict break out once again on the European stage.
The team is seemingly making due and continuing to work under these extraordinary circumstances, but further delays should be more than understandable by even the most fervent fan. Xbox also tweeted in support of GSC Game World and the hard time it and its country is going through.
Stalker 2 was one of Microsoft’s big console-exclusive, third-party gets for the Xbox Series X|S in the last couple of years, meant to fill in as a tentpole game as production ramped up on a number of first-party titles. The delay is one of several kinks with Xbox’s slate of exclusives, with games like Perfect Dark and Everwild facing their own challenges while others like the Fable reboot have been absent from the public eye for a few years.