S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl would have been the first title from the Stalker franchise in over 13 years. It was slated for release in December 2022 but unfortunately, the situation between Russia and Ukraine has made that impossible.
The Ukraine-based game developer GSC Game World encountered setbacks in the game's development and had to move its operation to Prague, Czechia. It is reported that some members of the development team were forced to flee their homes while others decided to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Twitter user and Xbox insider @IdleSloth84_, tweeted earlier today a rumor that STALKER 2 won't be out until 2024-2025 due to staff departures because of the ongoing armed conflict. According to the tweet, the game is in a “state of permanent repair.” The tweet also disclosed that GSC Game World was forced to redo the game from scratch because of the departures.
The initial information shared by @IdleSloth84_ came from Vitaliy Kazunov, editor-in-chief of the Russian site iXBT Games. Kazunov, in a Youtube video, claims to have spoken to the people that worked on the game and they've relayed that ineffective management is also part of the reason for the two-year delay.
Kazunov details that only the first chapter of the game has been finished and that other almost finished parts are constantly being reworked as GSC is experiencing high staff turnover. He believes in the current state of the game, it will not be possible to beat it from start to finish.
Kazunov also remarks that GSC has no clear vision for many features in the game, as of 2022. The problem is further aggravated by the fact that most of the core staff that worked on the game have already left GSC.
The reporter discussed the possibility of it being released for early access while developers populate other areas of the game. This would have been a logical option to keep fans interested and updated on the project.
This rumor was quickly denied by a GSC developer and @IdleSloth84_ posted an updated tweet regarding the issue. According to the Discord chat that was posted, the release date will be in 2023. However, there is no specific month given for the 2023 release.
(Updated) One GSC developer has quashed the claims on discord. "The actual release date is 2023" pic.twitter.com/xnxGkMKlW6
— Idle Sloth💙💛 (@IdleSloth84_) September 22, 2022
We're curious to find out the truth behind STALKER 2. If it's going to release next year, we can expect to see more info about the in-development project soon enough.
In other news, we just found out that Microsoft always had big plans for the Xbox Series S/X next year. Unfortunately, due to the still-ongoing pandemic and other factors, Microsoft had to make a lot of changes. At the moment, Microsoft's biggest games planned for next year are Starfield and Redfall.