Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Everything We Know

The post-apocalyptic survival-shooter is on track for 2022.

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Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl has been in development for a long time, and that process continues into 2022. Fans of the original post-nuclear fallout survival-horror/shooter hybrid may be eagerly awaiting this gorgeous-looking sequel from GSC Game World, especially given that it was first announced (and even canceled) a decade ago. While we wait for the game's launch, here's everything we know so far about the once troubled, now promising genre-bender.

Stalker 2 release date

Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl was previously slated for a 2021 release, but obviously that's come and gone. Stalker 2's release date is now set for April 28, 2022. Naturally, some skepticism regarding that date is understandable, but until the studio announces a shift, it's best to pencil the game in for its late April launch.

Stalker 2 platforms and Game Pass

Stalker 2 will launch on PC and Xbox Series X|S. It will also launch on Xbox Game Pass on day one for both console and PC subscribers. Currently, a PlayStation launch has not yet been announced, but a leak seems to suggest the game will be a timed-exclusive on Xbox consoles for three months. After that, we may see the game head to other console platforms, though a Switch version seems unlikely (unless by way of a cloud edition) due to the game's demanding specs and it being a current-gen exclusive.

Stalker 2 is likely to make a big splash with its Game Pass launch.
Stalker 2 is likely to make a big splash with its Game Pass launch.

What is Stalker 2?

Stalker 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the cult classic original Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl from 2007. A PC exclusive back then, the game spawned two sequels in quick succession, in 2008 and 2009. A fourth game, which revives the series' use of numbered entries, was once planned for 2011 but was canceled in 2012 due to a lack of funding.

For years, the sequel seemed to have evaporated, but it made a resurgence in 2018 when Stalker 2 was re-announced. Following a small teaser by way of a single screenshot in the spring of 2020, the game got a fully-fledged announcement during the Xbox Games Showcase, which took place as part of an elongated E3 replacement series of online presentations in the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stalker 2 will see players once again taking on the role of a gas mask-wearing, rat-munching survivor in and around the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the site of the infamous 1986 catastrophe that has caused suffering for generations of people who were exposed to the nuclear reactor's effects.

GSC Game World explained how you play as a titular Stalker--a bounty hunter who delves into the contaminated zone looking for treasure and secrets. The monsters and factions inside the zone will interact with each other in a simulated living world, and the studio claims events will be happening constantly, whether or not you're there to witness them.

It also promises a branching story with loads of different endings based on your choices, and that its open-world will be one of the biggest to date. The story will be told in a non-linear fashion, which could potentially offer more insight into the game's take on the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

NFTs

GSC Game World courted controversy when the team announced it would be incorporating NFTs into Stalker 2. Unique in-game items were revealed to be in the works, and were intended to be sold initially in an auction house whereby ownership would then be transferred to players. Those players would then be able to re-sell their items at a profit--if they could find buyers. This is the intention of NFTs in games, and GSC Game World is looking to be among the earliest adopters, but almost as soon as the team revealed the plans, it was met with blowback from critics who cited the pyramid scheme-like structure and environmentally catastrophic consequences of NFTs.

GSC Game World briefly put out a statement the following day on Twitter, which read like one part apology and one part doubling down on the plans, but it quickly deleted the statement within a few minutes. A few minutes after that, the team put out a new, much shorter statement revealing that all plans to incorporate NFTs into Stalker 2 had been canceled.

Stalker 2 trailers

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To date, we've seen the game a handful of times, beginning with the above cinematic reveal trailer from the Xbox Games Showcase. More recently, we got our first glimpse at proper gameplay sequences via a developer diary, which you can see below.

It was in the summer of 2021 that we learned the game would be in Game Pass for Xbox and PC at launch, and that the game would be pushed back to April of 2022. Hopefully it's a date that GSC Game World can meet on a healthy schedule, as fans of Metro, Chernobylite, and other eastern European-set post-apocalyptic games.

PC system specs

GSC Game World has not yet revealed the specs to play the game on PC. We know the console version launching on Xbox Series X|S will be native to the platform and thus not running on an Xbox One build of the game.

Preorder Stalker 2

Stalker 2 is available for preorder on both of its announced platforms, including Xbox and PC via Steam.

Mark Delaney on Google+

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