“STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl” is an action-packed video game for Windows, which sees players battling violent mutants and greedy thugs against a backdrop of the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
The first-person shooter game, developed by Ukraine-based GSC Game World, is hotly anticipated by fans of its prequel “STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl,” but is not scheduled to be released until December 2023.
Part of that delay may be due to the fact that some of the GSC Game World development team is busy – helping out fight Russian invaders in real life.
But the battle between GSC Game World employees and Russia is also taking place digitally.
On Sunday, the makers of the STALKER games expressed that a hacker leaked development material stolen from the company’s systems, and threatened to release tens of gigabytes more if ransom demands were not met.
Recently, our employee’s account for a collaborative work-with-images application was hacked. The responsibility for this was claimed by a community from a Russian social network. They threaten to use the obtained data for blackmail and intimidation. This is not the first attempt to hack and leak our data, including personal information. We have endured constant cyber attacks for over a year. We have faced blackmail, acts of aggression, hacks, attempts to harm players and fans, and efforts to damage the development process or the reputation of our company.
We are a Ukrainian company, and like most Ukrainians, we have experienced many things that are more terrifying: Destroyed houses, destroyed lives, and the death of our loved ones. Attempts to blackmail or intimidate us are completely futile.
Our unwavering commitment to supporting our country remains unchanged – we will continue to do everything possible to support ukraine. And it will not change in the future under any circumstances.
Despite attempts to destroy us, we remain strong and courageous. Because when you believe in something and love it with all your heart, you have to defend it at all costs.
We have been through a lot. However, these challenges only encourage us to work harder because we believe that the truth is on our side. Evil will never win.
In the event of any leakage. We ask that you refrain from viewing or distributing information about STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl. Outdated and work-in-progress materials can dilute the impression of the final idea we put into the game. We encourage you to stay patient and wait for the official release for the best experience possible. We believe you will like it.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude for our loyal community. We are overwhelmed by the response and support we have received from you. Thanks for that. From every member of the gsc game world team.
Our mission is to give all our energy and passion to complete the project and deliver it to you, despite all the obstacles on the way. Your support is our inspiration.
Glory to Ukraine.
The GSC Game World team
And what are the hacker demands?
Oddly, the hacker doesn’t want money.
In a post on the Russian social media site VK (also known as VKontakte, effectively the Russian version of Facebook), a statement was posted requesting that the game restore Russian voice acting (it was removed following the invasion of Ukraine), asking to apologize to players based in Russia and Belarus, and unban an account on the game’s Discord channel.
The hacker claims they have the entire storyline of the STALKER 2descriptions of cutscenes, concept art, world maps, and more.
What they did by hacking GSC Game World’s computers was obviously illegal, but they were also obviously fans of the games:
“Don’t let STALKER die because of your politicking – the sense of stagnation is serious, which means it’s time to build community relationships.”
The hacker said GSC Game World has until tomorrow, Wednesday 15 March, to respond to their demands.
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