Collected in one material all the rumors, leaks and speculations about the upcoming shooter from GSC Game World
The shooter STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl from GSC Game World has been in development for many years, but not much is known about it. All information available in mid-2021 about the new product is in this article.
How it all started
The sequel to the original trilogy was first announced on August 13, 2010. Back then, GSC Game World was doing well. In 2009, The Call of Pripyat saw the light, negotiations were underway to film the game, in parallel, the browser version of STALKER was in development, and the original series appeared on Steam.
The official statement about the beginning of the development of the sequel appeared on the company’s website on August 13, 2010. The shooter was supposed to work on a new cross-platform engine and would see the light of day in 2012. “After the official sales of the series all over the world have exceeded the mark of 4 million copies, we are finally convinced of the need to create the next big game in the STALKER universe,” said Sergei Grigorovich. In the same year, game blogger Anton Logvinov visited the studio. Describing the impressions of the developments he saw, he noted that gamers are waiting for “the highest detail in the world.”
Concept art for STALKER 2 (2011), artist – Nikolay Gatilov
Until 2011, the developers continued to work on the game, without telling anything about it publicly. At that time, rumors were actively circulating on the network that the Shooter would again become the protagonist, who, after the events of the third part, would return to the Zone. It turned out they were true – in 2021, old studio files leaked online, in which fans discovered early level sketches and a storyline. I really would have had to play for Strelka, who, after the events of the third part, worked as a scientific consultant at the CHAZ Research Institute and died almost at the very beginning of the campaign (for more details on the content of the files, see our separate article ). As the founder of the public “Bulletin of the same Stalker” told us, X-ray 2.0 build 514 Dec 7 2011 has hit the net. The OldConcept modding team is currently working on it to make it possible to play STALKER 2 that matches that old concept.
The release planned for 2012 fell through – on December 9, 2011, the founder of GSC Game World Sergey Grigorovich announced the closure of the company. As he later explained, he had several reasons , but the main one was “the romantic desire to be free.” By coincidence, it happened on the same day when the leading game designer and screenwriter of STALKER 2 Alexey Sytyanov was preparing to present his developments over the past six months.
Over the next months, the former developers repeatedly posted various concept art, presets and ready-made scenes online. For example, on January 30, 2012, former art director Nikolai Gatilov posted 16 of his works on the game on the blog . And on April 3 of the same year, animator Sergei Zhukov published a video demonstrating the animations of stalkers and a bloodsucker.
Concept art for STALKER 2 (2011)
The fate of the game was in question. Someone said that the team was looking for investors, someone said that development would continue after the New Year holidays. Alexey Sytyanov clarified the situation. In April 2012, in an interview with Shpil magazine, he denied rumors about the search for investors and said that the development of STALKER 2 was frozen and the team was disbanded.
At the end of 2014, GSC World resumed operations. However, instead of STALKER 2, the studio turned to Cossacks 3 (the game was announced in May 2015). And only 6 years later, on the night of May 15-16, 2018, Sergei Grigorovich published a message : “Today, 05/15/2018, I officially declare: GSC Game World is developing STALKER 2.” In the text, he attached a link to a site where a banner with familiar letters and numbers was hanging 18.104.22.168. At first, many players even thought that it was prank and Grigorovich was hacked, but the information was confirmed by Sergey Galenkin, director of publishing strategy at Epic Games. He posted on Twitter a link to the project’s website, and also said that the new product is being developed on the Unreal Engine – without further clarification.
At the end of 2019, STALKER 2 developers took part in Games Gathering 2019 in Kiev ( our interview from the exhibition is here ). Six months later, on July 23, 2020, the STALKER 2 trailer was shown at the Xbox Games Showcase. And the most recent gameplay trailer debuted about a month ago, on June 13, also at Microsoft’s E3 event.
The main character
The new protagonist was not the Shooter, as many at first thought, but a completely new character Skif – a loner or, perhaps, a mercenary. Judging by the gameplay trailer, the hero does not hesitate to kill for money. However, with all this, he is not alien to compassion.
Fun fact – a stalker with such a nickname has already appeared in the Zone. True, not in the official games, but in the “Golden Wagon Train” – a fan modification of “Call of Pripyat”, which was released in 2015. In it, the players were assigned the role of a newcomer named Skif, who decides to find a treasure chest hidden by the grandfather of the legendary owner of a bar in Skandovsk.
Meeting a stranger scene from June STALKER 2 trailer
PR manager of the studio Zakhar Bocharov said that it will take players about 100 hours to complete the story campaign and additional tasks. It is also known that the story will develop non-linearly, and the developers are preparing several endings. There are no other details about the heroes and their adventures yet, but fans have already composed several theories. According to the most plausible of them , the stranger that Skiff met in the June trailer is none other than the Ghost, the former Shooter’s partner who died in Lab X16. Therefore, he says that the Zone gave him a second life.
In this case, the person whose murder they are discussing is the Shooter, the only stalker who poses a real threat to the Zone. Perhaps this scene is one of the possible endings.
In the trailer, which debuted on the Xbox Showcase, several rogue stalkers tell Skif stories around a campfire. Perhaps they were needed to decorate the transitions between different themes in the trailer, and we will not see them in the final game. This is also hinted at by the appearance of Sergei Grigorovich, who wishes the player a successful hunt. However, among these heroes there is a certain Mityai, who appeared in the two previous issues of STALKER. Considering that many years have passed since the events of Call of Pripyat, we have before us a real legend of the Zone.
The developers assure that in the Zone players will meet many characters with an interesting fate. And also – with very different faces. GSC even created a special plug-in for teeth so that the smile of every stalker they meet was unique.
But who will really appear is Bolshak – a mechanic dancing in a destroyed gym to classical music (from him Skif learns where to find the entrance to a certain “Foundation”).
The developers promise that STALKER 2 will have a large open world (64 sq. Km) without loading screens. There is no exact list of locations yet, but the videos already available provide a lot of information for thought.
STALKER 2 Trailer Shown In July 2020
For example, the first trailer begins with the show of the famous Ferris wheel in Pripyat in the central area of the city. This location has already appeared in “Shadow of Chernobyl”. According to stalker tales, you cannot look at the wheel, otherwise you will not have time to look back, as you will find yourself in a booth raised by an anomaly to the very top. It is unlikely that this feature is implemented in the game, but, you must agree, such attention to the lore added points to the game, at least in the eyes of the fans.
The second location is a dark tunnel illuminated by red emergency lights with an elevator at the end. Most likely, the players will again go to the Pripyat-1 overpass, along which Degtyarev, together with his team, managed to walk from the Jupiter plant to the city in the ZP.
The next shots show Pripyat again – in the background you can see a well-recognizable sixteen-story building with the emblem of the USSR on the roof. And the location with electrical anomalies is very similar to the Old KBO, where the major was looking for tools for calibration and fought with the burer.
What STALKER 2 locations look like in the original trilogy
The trailer below shows a place that looks somewhat like the Red Forest. Then – the well-known fans of the first two parts of the “Village of beginners” (starting location, where seasoned stalkers rarely drop in). Then – an underground laboratory, where ugly creatures grow in huge flasks. The last location is the Duga radar station, where you could look in while walking around Limansk in the ChN.
“School” in STALKER 2
In the second trailer, “School” from “Call of Pripyat” appears. This gives reason to believe that the entire surrounding area will also return – with a hospital, a bookstore, KBO and other attractions.
The richest in fragments of locations is the third trailer, released in June. So, at the very beginning “Cordon” is shown. This information was confirmed by Zakhar Bocharov in the new issue of the “Developers Diaries” . He also said that the hero then fights with bandits at a certain chemical plant, which did not appear in the original trilogy.
STALKER 2 trailer released in June 2021
Next, the swamps with the old observation tower of the group in “sky-blue body armor”, familiar to fans from the “Clear Sky”, got into the frame. Bocharov noted that “although many years have passed, the structure is still holding on.” Also in the trailer lit up a small town “Chernobyl – 2”. In the first parts of the series, he did not appear (only as a cut-out location “Dead City”). In addition, a certain laboratory similar to the X18 appeared in the trailer. And when the hero meets a mysterious stalker on the roof, the same Duga radar station is visible behind the stranger.
To summarize all of the above, in the game we are waiting for Cordon, Bolota, Pripyat, Chernobyl – 2, an underground laboratory, a tunnel, “Duga” and, possibly, Limansk along with it. You can also add to this the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which has not yet been shown, but will certainly appear. It is possible that the developers will add something else.
Living open world
GSC strives to make the open world as alive as possible – to fill it with random events and teach artificial intelligence to exist without the participation of the player. “The basis is still the interaction of systems. Factions, monsters, NPCs, interact with each other, even while the player does not see it. And you can then come and see some consequences. That is, you can come to a place where there has already been a showdown between wild boars and, for example, wild boars, and see dead boars. Collect some kind of loot from them, typical of dead boars, and get out of there. That is, you will often see the consequences, and not the event itself, ”said Zakhar Bocharov on the air of the podcast“ Not brought in ”.
It is not yet clear how exactly the Burst will be arranged (it was shown at the end of the teaser with Skif) – whether it will be a regular occurrence, as in ZP, or a wave of monstrous force will overtake the hero at strictly defined moments, as it was in the first two parts of the original trilogy.
Factions and equipment
At the moment, it is known about four officially confirmed stalker factions, three of which (“Duty”, “Freedom” and “Loners”) moved into the game straight from the original trilogy. The fourth group has not yet been announced, and according to the developers, it will appear in STALKER for the first time. Perhaps it will be called “Brotherhood” or “Warta”. This is indicated by the inscription on the fence near the chemical plant: “Brothers in suit – warte in the mouth.”
Freedom and Duty is an example of a classic confrontation. The former see the Zone as a free, growing space, while the latter would easily give their lives to keep it under control. They will never agree. As you guessed, these factions will appear in the sequel. Recognizable design is preserved, but full of details
Unfortunately, the video showed only one version of the “debt” bulletproof vest, but there will probably be more of them. After all, even in the original, each fighter had unique armor, depending on the class.
The situation with the “Loners” is much more interesting. In the gameplay trailer, we were shown several stalkers who are sitting in leather jackets around the fire. But two fighters wear the Zarya overalls, which appeared in the first part of the series. And the stranger whom Skif meets on the roof is apparently wearing a light version of the SEVA overalls without the Zaslon helmet worn by the Shooter in the final video of the PM.
According to Zakhar Bocharov, in STALKER 2 players will be able to shoot from “more than 30 different guns”, most of which have not yet been presented in the series. True, in Call of Pripyat, the arsenal was even more impressive (50 barrels), but it did not look so picturesque – on the guns shown in the trailer you can see chips, scuffs, scratches, and in some cases even rust. All weapons can be modified, and right on the go.
In the commercials, the authors have already shown a hunting rifle (with it the protagonist went to the Swamps), RP-74, which will probably have the opportunity to exhibit a bipod, Viper-5 (which Skif is equipped with when hunting bandits), AVALANCHE SA, as well as several options for modifying the SCAR-L assault rifle, which previously appeared only in fan mods. Also in the trailers lit up the Gauss cannon (the developers promise that this will be one of the most powerful barrels in the game), AKM-74/2, Saiga shotgun and GP37 (albeit without an optical sight).
Mutants, anomalies and artifacts
So far, very little has been said about mutants in GSC Game World. In those videos that are already there, blind dogs flicker. Apparently, players will also have to face burers or poltergeists who love abandoned buildings again. Two more familiar mutants are pseudo-flesh (a mutated pig with razor-sharp forelimbs) and a bloodsucker. Both now look much scarier.
Bocharov noted that many mutants are the results of scientific experiments. It is possible that in the first trailer we were shown the Controller in its embryonic state.
Of the artifacts, only one is officially confirmed – “jelly”. Scythian took it out of an anomaly resembling a “meat grinder”. According to the developers, with its help it will be possible to restore stamina. Also, in the frames from Pripyat, you can see an artifact similar to “mother’s beads”. But, most likely, this is a regular render that will not appear in the game.
There is still less information about anomalies – only shots with flashes of “Electra”, death of flesh in “Carousel” and a certain gravitational anomaly crushing cars.
The shooter will be released on April 28, 2022. Of course, the developers will share new details about the project more than once. For example, they promised to devote the next video to weapon modifications.