Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had a huge impact on independent studios and developers anywhere near the conflict. Stalker 2 developer GSC Game World was based in the Ukrainian capital Kiev but is currently in the process of moving to Prague and in March ceased all operations in Russia.
The GSC condemned from the beginning of the war the “inhuman cruelty” of the invasion and was explicit about it being a matter of survival for their employees and their families. the studio has development paused in Stalker 2 at the moment – although it has updated the Steam entry to change the word Chornobyl to reflect Ukrainian spelling). The game’s official website has also been updated with a message of support for Ukraine and a link to help donations.
The last gesture may seem relatively minor in the context of an ongoing war in Europe, but not if you are the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation (thanks, xgp). As reported by Ria Novosti news agencyRussian state agency, on March 18 Russian authorities demanded that access to the Stalker 2 website be restricted in Russia, in a tit-for-tat move that could also be linked to the GSC’s decision to end operations in the country.
To Western eyes, it might seem petty beyond belief that the Russian state has time to worry about the site for an upcoming video game, but this is a lot of business as usual for Russia. The Roskomnadzor is a state agency that essentially censors the mass media and manages a registry of ‘prohibited’ websites that any company operating in the region must abide by.
GSC Game World did not comment on the situation. The studio’s most recent activity was a charity sale of its games which, in mid-April, raised over $800,000 to be donated to the Come Back Alive charitable foundation.