Update: Epic Games’ director of publishing, Sergey Galyonkin revealed on this podcast that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is now in its design document phase and was only announced now so GSC GameWorld could try and find a publisher at E3 2018.
Fans of the cult classic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise finally have a reason to be cheerful, as it looks like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is finally back in development. The original S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl was originally released back in 2007, and struck a chord with those players after a bleak, brutal, post-apocalyptic experience. Loosely based on the 1979 film Stalker and its literary source material Roadside Picnic, the game tasked players with hunting for relics and solving mysteries in the wastelands around an alternative history Chernobyl.
The title had its difficulties following a heavily-delayed development, particularly from a stability perspective, but nevertheless developed an enthusiastic following that stuck around for spin-off games Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat. However, the troubles surrounding the ever-tumultuous developer GSC Game World eventually took their toll, causing the developer to fold and the in-development S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 to disappear. It seemed as though one of the best post-apocalyptic settings was going to cease to be.
Related: 18 Long-Awaited Video Game Sequels
Although the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series had seemingly been held up in a quagmire, it now appears as though the series is back. GSC owner Sergiy Grygorovych took to Facebook to announce that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was back on the cards, and even pencilled in a 2021 release date. For those that thought the game series was over, it looks like there is finally going to be a long-awaited release of another S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game.
Exactly what form S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 takes remains to be seen, however. GSC is a very different beast from the developer that made the original games, after effectively folding back in 2011, and some of those who were dismissed from the company went on to form Metro 2033 developer Vostok Games.
GSC reappeared to release strategy title Cossacks 3 back in 2016, the latest entry in another franchise developed by the studio, but that itself is a very different beast from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Indeed, the expectations surrounding S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 could be quite substantial, if GSC is looking to follow up on what it promised from the game in its last, cancelled, iteration.
Nonetheless, should GSC tap into what made S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl so compelling then it could be a game to keep an eye on. The series managed to capture a level of grim desperation that neither Metro 2033 nor Fallout have been able to achieve, and all these years later it means that the series still has a strong community surrounding it. That said, 2021 is a long way away, and if GSC is true to form there could be further delays to come.
Source: Sergiy Grygorovych