Xbox Reportedly Halts Stalker 2 Preorders, Offers Refunds

The decision was said to be made after Stalker 2's release date was pushed back to 2023 due to development delays caused by the war in Ukraine.

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The world has been awaiting the arrival of Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl with bated breath since developer GSC Game World announced it was in development over a decade ago. After a somewhat troubled development cycle, things finally seemed to be getting on track, and Stalker: 2 Heart of Chornobyl was planned for a December 2022 release. But after Russian mortar attacks on Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv (where the GSC Game World's headquarters are located) and other wartime events impacted the game's development earlier this year, production on Heart of Chornobyl ground to a halt, leaving the game's release date up in the air--and now preorders have reportedly been paused.

According to a report by Polish gaming website XGP, Microsoft has removed the ability to preorder the game from the Xbox Store and has begun refunding players who have preordered a copy.

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Microsoft's reported rationale for the change with preorders is due to the unconfirmed release date. It's currently unclear if Microsoft is refunding Stalker 2 preorders globally or just in western markets. The article claims that players who preordered Heart of Chornobyl from the Xbox store are logging in to find messages informing them their preorders have been canceled and the money they spent on the game has been refunded.

Originally planned for a December 2022 release, the game's developers were working on motion capture up until the Russian military attacked Ukraine on February 24. On March 14, the title of the game was changed from Heart of Chernobyl to Heart of Chornobyl, reflecting the traditional Ukrainian spelling and pronunciation of the infamous nuclear power plant, which is located in Ukraine and was even invaded by Russian military personnel earlier this year. Heart of Chornobyl's developers also posted footage of the destruction in surrounding GSC Game World's ruined studios in Kyiv, calling for more aid for the Ukrainian armed forces.

It's not uncommon for games with unclear release dates to have preorders canceled, and this doesn't necessarily indicate that further delays are coming.

Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl is currently planned for release on Microsoft Windows and Xbox X|S sometime in 2023, and will be available on Game Pass upon release.

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