The long-awaited sequel to STALKER is inching closer to its April 28, 2022 release date. It’s been over a decade since the original STALKER trio of games were released, and the series’ cult following is growing more and more anxious with each week that passes. The momentum for STALKER seemed unstoppable, at least until developer GSC Game World brought on a major controversy by announcing its plans to auction NFTs based on STALKER 2. A decision, it appears, GSC Game World has now reversed.
Just hours ago, GSC Game World posted a message on Twitter announcing that it was canceling all plans to release NFTs for STALKER 2. The message is short and simple, starting by saying, “Dear Stalkers, we hear you.” From there, GSC Game World explains that it is canceling “anything NFT-related” for STALKER 2 based on the feedback that it had received in the time since the announcement.
In further explanation, GSC Game World says that its top priority is the “interests” of STALKER fans and players. It’s developing STALKER 2 for players to enjoy, “whatever the cost.” Exactly what GSC Game World means by “cost” isn’t clear. What GSC Game World does say is that if players care about this then so does GSC Game World, before signing off with a message reading “with love.”
What could alter the perception of GSC Game World’s statement is that the situation is somewhat more complex than it may seem. GSC Game World didn’t just listen to feedback and decide to cancel its NFT plans. First, it tried to double down. Earlier today, GSC Game World issued a much different statement. In that statement, GSC Game World reiterated its plan, with no indication it would deviate. Its exact words were, “We are not asking for support, but at least we hope you can hear us and understand us,” though the statement didn’t provide any further context for the necessity of selling NFTs. The post was deleted shortly after it was published.
It isn’t clear what made GSC Game World feel the need to double down on its NFT plans only to then cancel those plans shortly thereafter. It’s true that the announcement led to a massive negative reaction among STALKER fans and beyond, and that the reaction to the post doubling down on NFTs was even stronger. But that kind of response should be expected. It begs the question as to whether another party became involved, like STALKER 2‘s Xbox Game Pass partnership.
Where STALKER 2 goes from here is anyone’s guess. For the time being, GSC Game World appears focused on finishing its game without involving NFTs or the blockchain as planned. That doesn’t necessarily stop GSC Game World from releasing NFTs post-launch or something similar. While the company may have gone back on its NFT plans, there’s unfortunatey a new level of distrust between the company and fans of the STALKER franchise.
STALKER 2 releases April 28, 2022, on PC and Xbox Series X/S.