Sonce its announcement and re-revelation, STALKER 2 sounded like exactly the kind of atmospheric, intense, and ambitious sequel that fans of the series had been hoping for for so long. Indeed, taking into account the duration Harasser fans were waiting for a sequel, one would hope it meets those expectations. We recently had the chance to send several of our questions about the game to its developers at GSC Game World to learn more about the shooter and what to expect, and learned a lot in the process. You can read our conversation with GSC Game World’s PR Director Zakhar Bocharov below.
“It’s impossible not to feel the pressure with a new entry in a beloved franchise. I guess every team – including us – is aiming for the next level with the sequel. It’s the only way to grow.”
It’s been a long way for STALKER 2 since its initial announcement over ten years ago, with delays and even a cancellation. How does it feel to finally work on the game and be about to do it?
Yes, it has been a long time. But, frankly, it’s pretty much the same: creating the best game possible with the time and resources you have.
Has the vision of the game changed a lot since its inception all those years ago? I guess the best technology available to you as developers would mean it’s better in a way that STALKER 2 is being manufactured instead of years ago.
Development has restarted from scratch. Current STALKER 2 has no relation to the previous canceled one.
In view of the high esteem of the first Harasser is remembered by so many people, do you feel any pressure to follow through with a sequel that is at least of the same standard, if not even better?
Yes, it’s impossible not to feel the pressure with a new entry into a beloved franchise. I guess every team – including us – is aiming for the next level with the sequel. It’s the only way to grow.
With STALKER 2, we basically do our best every day.
With STALKER 2 promising a branching story, just how much can players expect their actions to affect the narrative and how does that play out?
Without saying too much for now, let’s put it this way: it is impossible to see everything at one time. The player will need multiple games to see all of the story content.
“Without saying too much for now, let’s put it this way: it’s impossible to see everything at one time. The player will need multiple games to see all of the story’s content.”
What can you tell us about STALKER 2 immersive simulation elements? Will players be presented with a range of options to deal with a given situation?
STALKER 2 (and the series as a whole as well) is all about being small and nearly helpless under extremely stressful and dangerous conditions, fighting death every second, knowing that if you died the Zone wouldn’t even notice, and nothing will change .
Immersive simulation elements in STALKER 2 aim to make you feel like that person.
Atmosphere and horror are clearly at the heart of this game, which fans of the series will no doubt be delighted with. However, both of these can be very subjective, so how can you as developers ensure that you are hitting targets in these areas on a consistent level?
With three games in the series, we think we have a strong take on what players like and expect.
In addition, the core team is located in Kiev, Ukraine, and we visit the exclusion zone every two months – both for work (photogrammetry) and inspiration.
We can therefore say that it is a mixture of existing experience and translation of the cultural code. The whole thing is so powerful yet so subtle that it is really difficult to describe it in words. You can be sure it’s different for just about everyone. But that’s probably the âatmosphereâ that people are talking about.
You promise a massive open world with STALKER 2– what should players expect in this area where things like size, design and variety are concerned? Do you think it becomes more difficult to maintain a constant level of horror and atmosphere when a game is set in a large open environment?
Yes, maintaining player interest is a challenge for every open world game.
STALKER 2 is mostly about the new story, and we can’t tell it without the open world. The player needs to feel the magnitude and the results of his decisions. It’s a long way to make an impact. A great journey with its own pace and its own results.
It is also about seeing the Zone in its renewed beauty. The open and transparent world is something the show has always strived for. Hopefully players will enjoy both the story and the world we are creating. They are very special to us.
Approximately how long will an average reading of STALKER 2 to be?
It’s a very long game even if you decide to just follow the main quest. Hundreds of hours can be spent if you want to do more exploration and side quests.
“It’s about seeing the Zone in its renewed beauty. The open and transparent world is something the series has always strived for. Hopefully players enjoy both the story and the world we create.”
It might be a little too early to ask about this, but do you have any post-launch plans in place for STALKER 2 in terms of expansions or DLC?
As a company, we have plans for the future, but let our baby ship first. GSC is not only about Harasser, moreover.
Clearly, STALKER 2 is a very ambitious game. Given this, how did the Xbox Series S factor into development? Did lower console specs present any challenges?
No problem for now with an important clarification that development and optimization is obviously still ongoing.
We see a lot of new major releases choosing to launch as cross-gen titles, but STALKER 2 is going to be exclusively on PC and the new Xbox consoles. Was it because you didn’t want to be limited by hardware from older consoles?
Exactly. STALKER 2 is a next-gen game, and it’s not possible to run it on Xbox One or PS4.
Do you also plan to bring the game to PS5? Why did you decide to launch it exclusively for the Xbox console?
No plans at the moment. We negotiated the possibilities with Microsoft and saw several good opportunities for the brand, including Game Pass.
That said, we’re focusing on the Xbox Series X / S version.
“STALKER 2 is a next-gen game, and it’s not possible to run it on Xbox One or PS4. “
The Xbox Series S has less hardware than the Xbox Series and Microsoft offers it as a 1440p / 60fps console. Do you think this will hold up to next-gen graphics-intensive games?
The future will tell. Also, it really depends on the project. We can only talk about ourselves. The hardware is capable of next-gen games, that’s for sure.
What resolution and frame rate is the game targeting on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S? Also, will the game have multiple graphics modes?
It’s 4K for Xbox Series X and HDR for X and S Series with more updates to come.