Stalker 2 Is Back In Development After War In Ukraine Halted Production

Stalker 2's development continues after being interrupted by the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Stalker 2 heart of chernobyl ukraine
Stalker 2's developers have issued a statement on Ukraine's invasion by Russia. | © GSC Game World

Following Russia's shock attack on Ukraine, the developers behind the Stalker franchise have made a statement admitting that "the future is unknown" for the Ukrainian people and, by extension, the studio. GSC Game World is based in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and is known for making games that are critical of the former Soviet Union.

[Update: May 25, 2022]

Stalker 2 Resumes Development From Outside Ukraine

GSC Game World, which was based out of Kyiv before the start of the war, has revealed that development has restarted on Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl with the studio now based in Prague, Czech Republic.

On March 2, the developer announced that development had been brought to halt after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Much of the studio's staff reportedly relocated to Prague that same month.

News of the resumption of development was first reported by Polish gaming publication, GRYOnline, which claims a message posted on the official Stalker 2 Discord channel, from a GSC employee, stated that production "continues".

The game was originally scheduled for release on December 8 on PC and Xbox Series X/S, there is no word yet if that release date will be met. The game is expected to be available on day one on Xbox Game Pass.

The war has had another, more visible effect on the title, with the developers adopting the Ukrainian spelling of Chernobyl as seen in the game's name.

[Update: February 25, 2022]

'This War of Mine' Developers Responds to Ukraine Crisis

Mere hours after this article was written, detailing GSC Game World's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, big game studios are responding. 11 Bit Studios have issued a Team Statement denouncing the military aggression from Russia and pledging funds from any sales of This War of Mine will be given to the Ukrainian Red Cross.

Let this message resonate with everything you know about this war and how war kills people, devastates their lives and homes. Let us - players and developers together - do everything we can to support victims of war in Ukraine.

11 Bit Studios are the development team behind the highly regarded 2014 game This War of Mine. The game chronicles the plight of civilians in war-time and is one of the most incredible games for social change in the history of video gaming. This anti-war studio is based in Poland, and clearly takes influence from not just World War 2 but the countries' experiences under the Soviet Union.

This is important context, as with Russia invading Ukraine, former Soviet countries like Poland will all be fearful of the ramifications. Whilst not in such a critical situation as the Ukrainian developers behind the Stalker franchise, 11 Bit Studios condemned the invasion, saying that they "stand against the Russian invasion of Ukraine".

[ORIGINAL ARTICLE: February 24, 2022]

The statement, issued on Twitter at 2:55PM CEST, outlined the studio's position on the conflict and more or less confirmed that the developers are in danger of being affected by the violence. As Russian forces advance on Kyiv, the fate of GSC Game World and, less importantly, Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl is uncertain.

We would like to provide you with the full statement, first posted in a text Tweet along with a picture of the Ukrainian flag.

The Russian Federation has declared war on Ukraine.
The future is unknown, but we are sure of our Armed Forces and country.
We ask all: do not stand aside and help those in need.

Below the text we just shared is what seems to be a donation link to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. You will be able to access that information in the following Tweet, which also doubles as GSC Game World's second statement:

GSC Game World is urging in this statement for journalists like myself, and players like you to do whatever you can to help their cause. Whatever your choice in the matter, we hope that the developers can remain safe during these difficult times.

Stalker is a game franchise that takes place in Ukraine, in an alternative world's Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Whilst we won't go into the details of the franchise's narrative, Stalker has been published over the years by companies such as Deep Silver, THQ and bitComposer Games on Microsoft platforms including PC.

With GSC Game World being headquartered in Kyiv, it is uncertain what will be happening in the coming days. With many people fleeing the city at present, we could imagine that members of the development team will be leaving the company in whatever way possible. If this is the case then we hope that all of their corporate partners will assist them in this effort.

In addition, we want to clarify to any whom are concerned about Metro studio 4A Games that the studio and company moved its headquarters to Malta a few years ago. However, other publishers and developers also have offices and studios in Ukraine, including Ubisoft Kyiv.