Development on Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl was just lately delayed till 2023. Its developer GSC Game World was based mostly in Kyiv however, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been going through the direst of circumstances. It needed to briefly pause improvement whereas it helped some staff flee the battle, and evacuate its outdated workplace, whereas different staff are volunteering or have signed up for the Ukrainian armed forces.
The prolonged Xbox and Bethesda showcase included a video about what’s been taking place with GSC Game World’s employees. It begins with some clips of the studio in happier instances earlier than reducing to footage of Kyiv from February 24. We’re proven a few of the bombed-out buildings round GSC’s places of work and the evacuation of a few of the studio’s staff. There’s a melancholy shot of the near-bare Kyiv workplace afterwards, a spot where these individuals as soon as dreamed up their concepts and have been making them actuality: now simply rows of empty chairs, desks strewn with deserted screens and chintz no-one wished.
We see a black cat. “The work day begins with a siren,” says Anton Kukhtytski. “During the bombing, we run to the bomb shelter. This is my cat’s carrier bag. My cat died in the shelling in the first week of the war.”
Not all staff left or might depart Kyiv. We see a neighborhood supervisor, Maxim Tkachenko, whose workplace is now a toilet. Daria Tsepkova, a story designer on the game, says: “For 3 months, I live and work in this corridor. A one-eyed dog rescued from Hostomel lives with me. It’s not easy to write violent quests when there’s a war outside your window.”
GSC goes on to point out how a few of its staff are volunteering within the battle effort, juggling their ‘day job’ with the fact of what is going on on.
“I am from Mariupol,” says animator Alexandr Levchenko. Mariupol is likely one of the worst-hit areas within the battle. “Since the start of the war I’ve had no contact with my parents. It is an indescribable feeling, not knowing whether your loved ones are alive.”
Many GSC staff have signed up for the Ukrainean army. Dmitriy Iassenev, lead AI developer of the game, talks to the camera while holding a mounted gun. “I by no means imagined a battle in Europe within the twenty first century,” says Iassenev.
“My title is Max,” says Maksym Hnatkov, dressed in military fatigues and holding a rifle. “I’m a story designer on Stalker 2. After our victory we’ll return to the game.”
“We’ll see you at launch,” adds Iassenev. “Slava Ukraini!”
This phrase means ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ It is a symbol of Ukrainian sovereignty, resistance and the official salute of the country’s armed forces.
A text note afterwards says: “This is only a small fraction of our story. Many of our colleagues are presently unable to publicly share their experiences attributable to security issues.”
GSC Game World is currently in the process of relocating to Prague. The studio has previously condemned the “inhuman cruelty” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.