Everything we know about Stalker 2, Xbox Series X's Chernobyl horror game

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is coming.

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For hardcore PC gamers, one of the most exciting surprises from July 23's Xbox Games Showcase was S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. This is a sequel to a cult classic 2007 first-person shooter that was tough as nails and inspired critically acclaimed modern games like Metro Exodus. This sequel has had a rocky development, but it finally seems to be happening.

GSC Game World, the team behind the original, is developing the sequel, and more has been revealed about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 since its reappearance at the Xbox Games Showcase. Here's everything you might need to know about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.

When is the Stalker 2 release date?

No specific release date has been revealed for Stalker 2. As the game's website included the number "2021" when it went live in 2018, it made many assume that was the year the game would be released. Developer GSC told Polygon Senior Reporter Charlie Hall "that the 2021 printed on the website when Stalker 2 was announced in 2018 was a clue for an ARG that has since concluded, and not indicative of a release date."

The official Twitter account for the game has also stated that the developers aren't ready to share a release date yet. As such, no concrete release window for the game exists now. As it was shown off during the Xbox Game Showcase, we can just hope that it will be out within the first few years of the console's lifespan or still end up coming out sometime in 2021.

Is there a Stalker 2 trailer?

Just before the end of 2020, a brand new trailer for Stalker 2 was released. This video, which is titled "Skif," is technically our first look at in-engine gameplay. We see the game's main character run through a building during a storm, but it quickly becomes clear that something more supernatural is at play. Check it out below:

It's obviously worth highlighting that Stalker 2 reemerged at the Xbox Games Showcase on July 23, 2020 with a brand new trailer. That trailer did not feature any gameplay, with developer GSC claiming that "the trailer demonstrates the level of graphics and atmosphere we are aiming to achieve on release."

Is Stalker 2 an Xbox exclusive game?

Because Stalker 2 was announced during an Xbox showcase, you may be wondering which platforms the game is coming to. Like the original, Stalker 2 will be available on PC. Additionally, it will be released on Xbox Series X as a "console launch exclusive." It appears that GSC is leaving the door open to eventually come to platforms like PS5, but at first, the console version of the game will be exclusive to Xbox Series X.

In a Xbox Wire post, GSC explains that "the power of Microsoft’s next-gen console compliments GSC Game World’s first-ever console announcement perfectly." Stalker 2 will even be on Xbox Game Pass the day it comes out on consoles, so you don't have to worry about paying for it if you're just mildly interested and have a Game Pass subscription.

What is the Stalker 2 story?

Stalker 2 takes place in a world where a second explosion took place at Chernobyl in 2006, creating a radiated place called The Zone where mutated creatures live and that bounty hunters explore. It is based on the world of the Russian novel Roadside Picnic and the film Stalker. The latest trailer for the game introduces Skif, who appears to be the main character of Stalker 2.

That's about as much as we know about the story itself, but there's a lot of interesting context within the game's world as the gameplay systems in this sequel. The lengthy acronym title (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) stands for "Scavengers, Trespasser, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, and Robbers," which are the people that are attracted to The Zone and the mysteries within it.

Using a system called A-World 2.0, the game "controls the state of the world and the behavior of characters and mutants, making the Zone ever-changing and truly alive," an Xbox Wire post reads. "Countless events and encounters will happen every moment — even if you are not around to witness them with your own eyes."

A Twitter FAQ also teases that the story will be "epic" and "non-linear" with choices that "influence both short-term consequences and global outcomes." Don't play Stalker 2 if you're looking for a quick and dirty story; It's more concerned with building an atmospheric and interesting world.

How does Stalker 2 play?

The developers describe Stalker 2 as a mix between a first-person shooter, horror game, and immersive sim that gives players tons of options to complete any given scenario. As we mentioned, the A-World 2.0 system is supposed to keep combat situations more varied and lively. If you enjoyed games like Metro 2033, Metro Last Light, and Metro Exodus, those titles were created by some developers of the original and have a lot of the same themes.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 takes place in a world where the situation in Chernobyl got even worse.

GSC Game World

That being said, Stalker 2 will stand out from those games with its more open-ended environment, which the developers claim will be "one of the biggest open worlds to date." If you ever wanted an open-world Metro game, Stalker 2 should be on your radar.

Is this the Stalker 2 that was announced in 2010?

Stalker 2 was initially announced all the way back in 2010, but these are two different games entirely. The original version Stalker 2 was canceled in 2012 due to issues with investors and rights ownership. After working on Cossacks 3, GSC Game World was able to return to Stalker 2 and announced the game in 2018.

While there is no new release date confirmed just yet, development appears to be progressing smoothly. Hopefully, this version of Stalker 2 does not get canceled like its predecessor.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is in development for PC and Xbox Series X.

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