GSC Game World has delayed the releaseof S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl in order to allow the development time to help the game meet both studio and fan expectations.
Originally slated for release on April 28th for the PC and Xbox Series X|S platforms, developer GSC Game World announced on January 12th that they have decided to delay the game by just over seven months.
“Stalkers,” begins a statement shared by GSC Game World to the title’s official Twitter. “We have made a decision to postpone the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl to December 8th, 2022.”
“These additional seven months of development are needed to fulfill our vision and achieve the desired state of the game. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is the biggest project in the history of GSC, and it requires thorough testing and polishing,” they added. “We are convinced that development should take as long as necessary, especially in the case of such a project.”
The statement concluded, “This decision is not an easy one, but we are doing the best possible to deliver you a game that can live up to the expectations. With more information, updates and showcases coming, we have an exciting and important year ahead. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
One reason for the delay may be due to GSC Game World’s recent cancelling of all NFT-related content for the game.
Though the announced NFT features were completely optional, with the first proposed use being to allow players to bid on the chance to appear in-game as an NPC, widespread backlash caused GSC Game World to cancel them just 24 hours after they were announced.
Another factor may be the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to see the world’s various governments enforce some level of lockdown order.
Numerous games have been delayed during this time, one of the most recent of which being Final Fantasy XVI, which received a six month delay from its as-of-yet-unannounced release date thanks to the pandemic conditions.
For those unfamiliar, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is set in Russia’s Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. After the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, attempts to the repopulate the area were thwarted by a second incident in 2006, killing most who lived there and creating “The Zone.”
Along with mutated animals and plants from the first disaster’s radiation and experiments, the second’s effects have created bizarre, reality-bending anomalies. The first game saw players awaken in the Zone with no memory, and only a tattoo that reads S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and a PDA bearing the sole note, “Kill Strelok.”
In addition to requiring players to fight hunger, patch up their own bleeding and avoid radiation poisoning, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. also forced players to contend with numerous scavengers and factions vying for control of the area and seeking possession of various “artifacts” – objects given strange powers after being warped by the aforementioned anomalies.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl promises to continue blending the series’ signature first-person shooting, horror-influenced story, player freedom of choice, unprecedented scale, and advanced graphics.
Past developer diaries and trailers have promised a number of impressive features, including NPCs with individual smiles, the ability to install gun mods as you explore, and the option to revisit locations from past games.
What are your hopes for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl? Let us know on social media and in the comments below!