Stalker 2: Can it ever ship on the big potential constructed up over time?

The historical past of the Stalker sequence, its developer, the off-shoots it spawned, and the neighborhood of gamers who proceed to mod the video games and discover new methods to play them to today, is one thing properly price speaking about. These are all explanation why the chances in opposition to Stalker 2: Coronary heart of Chornobyl are stacked.

Take into account this: Coronary heart of Chornobyl was introduced in 2018 with nothing however a emblem, having been initially set for launch someday in 2021. I’ll be sincere, GSC Sport World’s popularity made it exhausting to imagine that an actual Stalker 2 was truly in growth. Certainly, the studio itself admitted it introduced the sport that early to discover a writer, so actually, extra of assertion of intent. Nonetheless, I, like many followers, performed alongside.

It could take over two years for the first-ever trailer to emerge, and it was predictably extra of a tone piece than something, after which one other 12 months for gameplay to be proven.

It’s so amusing to return and browse that Stalker 2 was one among my 2022’s most anticipated video games, proper alongside Elden Ring. Simply as 2022 started, GSC delayed the sport to December of the identical 12 months. A month later, Russia invaded Ukraine. Being a Ukrainian studio, GSC understandably needed to put growth on maintain, earlier than the studio managed to relocate to Prague and resume engaged on the sport. A few of its members even joined the Ukrainian armed forces, which little question had an irreparable impact on the sport’s growth.

The influence of struggle breaking out within the nation the place you reside and work can by no means be overstated, and I’ve my doubts that the Stalker 2 GSC had envisioned years prior would ever be doable. That already may provide sufficient clarification as to why the sport, properly, simply doesn’t appear like the one we’d seen in 2021.

In August, GSC launched some footage displaying varied bits of gameplay to coincide with a Gamescom demo. Although the trailer was temporary, it showcased sufficient random exploration, fight, some dialogue, coping with anomalies, slight stock administration, and loads of what you could possibly anticipate.

And nonetheless we wait.

I’ve not performed that demo, so I can solely go off different folks’s impressions of it, and the footage itself. The sport appears to be like like a distant cousin to Stalker. It appears to have a much bigger deal with motion, with not a lot of the RPG and stock administration parts the classics are identified for.

Stalker video games are terrifying, and also you’re by no means meant to really feel highly effective inside their worlds. You’re all the time one shot away from dying, one flawed transfer or poor rationing resolution from touchdown your self into an irreversible state of affairs. Stalker is a recreation of juggling stakes. However that’s not the impression I obtained from the footage.

How shut Stalker 2 borrows from the classics stays to be seen, in fact, and it’s not truthful to learn an excessive amount of into a brief trailer meant to make the sport look thrilling. No trailer will surely have the ability to translate how a lot jank a recreation has. Jank has all the time been a part of Stalker’s appeal, not due to its mere existence, however as a result of it hid rather a lot potential beneath; proving there’s a greater recreation there for these keen to place up with it.

There’s additionally the component of the visible downgrade. However once more, we’re taking a look at an in-development construct of a recreation and a studio that went by hell. Certain, it doesn’t look pretty much as good because the preliminary reveal, however visible splendour was by no means Stalker’s strongest swimsuit – it was all the time how robust its ambiance was regardless of its outdated visuals.

A towering legacy.

As I write this in December of 2023, Stalker 2 nonetheless doesn’t have a launch date. For a quick interval in the summertime, we thought it could be out in December, but it surely later obtained quietly pushed again to Q1 of 2024. Probably the most important occasions on this growth story are but extra tragedies befalling GSC, with the studio struggling an enormous hack in March, and its workplaces surviving a significant fireplace in the summertime.

We’re properly previous the purpose of Stalker 2 dwelling as much as that preliminary reveal, I solely hope it lives as much as the Stalker legacy – or, at the least, be a compelling recreation in its personal proper.

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