The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has shocked much of the world — whether on a humanitarian or financial level — since it officially began on February 24. The conflict significantly affected even the video game industry, which became clear when the developer of STALKER and its upcoming sequel, GSC Game World, fled Ukraine to the Czech Republic.
Many gaming companies have teamed up to show support for Ukraine by releasing special DLC or game sets, the proceeds of which go to help the besieged country. But opposition to the war also takes the form of more subtle protests. For example, in March, GSC changed the name of its upcoming game from STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl, a more familiar Russian spelling, to Heart of Chornobyl, which reflects the Ukrainian spelling.
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However, not everyone sees the situation in Ukraine from the same point of view. Recently, a Russian streamer under the pseudonyms “It doesn’t Matter Who” and “The Greatest” leaked footage of an obviously console port of the original STALKER, which will presumably be released right before STALKER 2 in 2023. Along with the leaked footage, the Greatest wrote a kind of five-page manifesto in which he stated that GSC had betrayed its Russian fans.
According to the creator of the Russian content, his actions are revenge for the alleged offenses committed by the Ukrainian developer. First of all, he complains that GSC encourages gamers, including Russians, to donate to the Ukrainian fund “Come Back Alive”, which provides protective equipment and trains the country’s armed forces. Aiding the Ukrainian army in Russia is a criminal offense, and the developer did not make it clear by collecting donations from fans, the Greatest claims. The streamer also claims that GSC discriminates against Russians on its Discord server.
PC Gamer has reached out to GSC Game World and Velichaishii for comments on the situation. The developer pointed out that this is only one of thousands of Ukrainian companies that ask for donations to help the country, and also later explained the potential legal consequences for Russians who donate to the fund.
As for the origin of the leaked STALKER footage, the Greatest hinted in his manifesto that they came from GSC employees who were unhappy with the way the company was treating its Russian player base. The developer denied this possibility, saying that a group of Russian bloggers shared information about GSC, including information about employees and, apparently, this leaked video of the console port.
Oddly enough, the Greatest did not seem to be offended by the STALKER developers fighting in Ukraine as part of the country’s armed Forces. In June, GSC Game World released a video in which some uniformed employees were preparing for their new roles as soldiers. Whether the leaked STALKER footage is real or fabricated is probably the least of the developers’ worries at the moment.
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl is currently available on PC.