After a few false starts, Stalker 2 is officially on its way. The long-awaited sequel to the beloved (but severely flawed) Stalker franchise will bring players back to The Zone, a heavily contaminated and extremely dangerous area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
The first-person survival shooter series is known for its dark atmosphere, fearsome monsters and mutants, and extremely unforgiving struggle. Fans (including myself) have been waiting for the sequel, which was originally announced in 2010, for a decade.
Here’s everything we know about Stalker 2.
(Photo credit: GSC Gameworld)
What is the Stalker 2 release date?
We don’t yet know the release date of Stalker 2 – in 2018 GSC Game World hinted it would be out in 2021, but we don’t know if that’s still the plan. The official website currently states: “We are not ready to announce the release date yet.”
GSC has said the work is “going well” but we don’t know when Stalker 2 will be out. 2021? 2022? Later? It’s all guesswork at this point.
Will Stalker 2 appear on PC?
Yes! The Stalker series has always been on PC, but Stalker 2 is also an “Exclusive Console Launch” on Xbox. It’s a confusing phrase, but it doesn’t mean PC gamers have to wait. It just means that PlayStation owners won’t be out of luck. The Stalker 2 official website states that the PC version will launch at the same time as the Xbox version.
Check out the Stalker 2 trailers
The first was a teaser that “demonstrates the level of graphics and atmosphere we want to achieve when it’s released,” according to GSC Game World. Which sounds like it wasn’t taken from the game itself, which is being developed in the Unreal Engine.
But it definitely captures the mood of the original games (somber affect) and shows several anomalies, the corrupted areas where the laws of physics have been dangerously twisted and valuable artifacts can be found. You can also get a glimpse of Stalker’s creepy mutant dogs running in a pack.
And of course, several stalkers sitting around a fire while someone is playing the guitar. Never change, stalker.
An in-engine teaser followed that is still not gameplay. It shows a first-person view of a character exploring an abandoned building, then pulling out what is believed to be a high-tech anomaly detector, and then observing objects as they hover. It’s kind of a low-tech anomaly detector.
Attached to this teaser is a description that explains that we are seeing things from the POV of Ski, the protagonist of Stalker 2. He is in a ruined elementary school on the outskirts of Pripyat to take cover from an emission, one of the regular energy explosions radiating from the center of the zone that has ramifications for anyone caught outdoors when they go off. (The consequences are death.)
A developer diary back in March gave us an uninspiring look at some of the guns we’ll be using and some of the faces we might be using them on. The video went tough on these characters’ teeth for some reason and made sure that every NPC in the game will have a unique smile.
(Photo credit: GSC Game World)
This time there is a real open world
The cards in the previous Stalker games were big, but they weren’t entirely open worlds. Although they were sizable, they were broken into pieces and you were directed through some specific access points to travel between them.
Stalker 2 will officially be a seamless open world game. “For the first time on the series, you can explore the Zone as a post-apocalyptic open world – one of the largest to date,” says GSC Game World.
(Photo credit: GSC Gameworld)
A-Life has been updated
There are a lot of simulations going on in stalker games – members of different human factions wander around the zone just like you, and there are all sorts of mutants and creatures sneaking around too.
These different entities collide and interact even when you are not around to see it. In the previous games, a system called A-Life simulated the world and its inhabitants, and now A-Life 2.0 will do so in Stalker 2.
What is Stalker 2 about?
Not much has been revealed about the story, but the scenario sounds the same as in the previous games.
“Bounty hunters dive deep into the Zone, driven by its treasures and mysteries. Some of them are fleeing their pasts, others are blinded by money, and some are obsessed with discovering the truth behind all the mysteries.”
History will not be linear, and GSC says, “Your decisions will affect both short-term consequences and global results.”
(Photo credit: GSC Gameworld)
Ray tracing and resolutions
GSC has confirmed RTX support for Stalker 2 on the Xbox Series X and Series S and 4k resolution for the Series X, which means we can safely assume the same features will come to PC.
Do I need to play the other Stalker games before playing Stalker 2?
Yes you do. This is not official, this is just my personal instruction to you because two of the stalker games (Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat) are superb.
If you want a second opinion, GSC Game World has its own answer to that question: Yes, you do.
“Stalker 2 is a stand-alone project that you can enjoy alone,” says the GSC website. “At the same time, we recommend finishing the previous games for maximum immersion.”
So yes. They do. You’d better start.
Will Stalker 2 support modding?
The original Stalker series is kept fresh by a passionate and dedicated modding community. And GSC plans to support modders with Stalker 2 as well. “We are determined to make modding as easy as possible on the first day.”
Hey, what does STALKER stand for again?
Yes, the game is actually STALKER, which is much more annoying to type than stalker. And the letters (supposedly because the story is a bit complicated) stand for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers.
Which one will you be Probably all of the above.