GSC Game World, the Ukrainian studio developing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl, says it has been hacked and that the hackers are threatening to blackmail the company, according to a statement shared on Twitter on Sunday.
“Recently, our employee’s account for a collective work-with-images application was hacked,” GSC Game World wrote in the statement. The hackers are “threatening to use the obtained data for blackmail and intimidation,” the studio said.
It’s apparently not the first cybersecurity threat the team has faced. “We have been enduring constant cyberattacks for more than a year now,” GSC Game World said. “We have faced blackmail, acts of aggression, hacks, attempts to hurt players and fans, and efforts to damage the development process or the reputation of our company.”
A user on the Russian social network VK says they have the materials about the game. The user will share story details, cutscenes, maps, and more from the game if GSC Game World does not meet their demands by March 15th, according to a Google-translated version of their post. The user wants GSC Game World to apologize to players in Belarus and Russia, unban an account from the game’s Discord, and localize S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 in Russian. (According to the game’s Steam page, the game only has voiced audio in English and Ukrainian, though it will have subtitles in Russian.) GSC Game World will not meet those demands, the studio told Polygon.
GSC Game World has been significantly affected by the Russia-Ukraine war, with some developers relocating to Prague and the company regularly posting tweets about its pride in the country. “Our unwavering commitment to supporting our country remains unchanged — we will continue to do everything possible to support Ukraine,” GSC Game World wrote in its Sunday statement. “And this won’t change in the future under any circumstances.” The company is urging players not to watch or share leaked information about the game.
In September, GSC Game World told PC Gamer that it planned to release S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 sometime in 2023. Steam lists S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2’s release date as December 2023.