Leaked port of Stalker is a strange new front in the Ukraine war
If you’ve been lurking on the Stalker subreddit lately, you’ve almost certainly encountered a strange anomaly: a leaked build of the so-called console port of the original Stalker: Chernobyl Shadow. Rumored to release shortly before Stalker 2, the build shows the familiar classic in a slightly altered state: no cursor in sight, controller prompts everywhere, and I’ll eat my hat if that’s mouselook. This all seems very reasonable, and while GSC declined to comment when PCG asked about it, it feels like too much work for even the most committed modders.
But what’s interesting isn’t this alien version of Stalker, but the files that come with it. Written by a Russian anchor named “Nevazhno, Kto” and “Velichaishii” (meaning “Nobody Matters” and “The Greatest” respectively), the five-page booklet is partially Confession, part manifesto, and an overview of how and why he leaked the port.
“[GSC] Throw away everyone who has supported their game for 15 years and kept it alive,” Nevazhno wrote, referring to the mistreatment of Stalker’s Russian fans by GSC Game World, a Ukrainian company, since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The list crimes consist of eight incidents ranging from “persistent discrimination against Russians” [GSC’s] discord server,” angry Funds raised by the company (opens in new tab) Come Back Alive Foundation to help train and equip the Ukrainian army. “The purchase of weapons and military equipment is not a charity event,” he wrote, claiming that equipment provided by the foundation was used in Ukraine attacks Belgorod (opens in new tab).
Nevarzhno’s first complaint, though, was that GSC tried to solicit donations from Russian players for the Ukrainian army — a crime in the Russian Federation — without making them aware of the potential legal consequences. “This is an attempt to create a bargaining chip out of the Russians,” he wrote, “when people started complaining about this shit to Roskomnadzor (the Russian agency responsible for monitoring the mass media), and the only crime mentioned came.
I contacted GSC Game World to ask them and they told me, “We’ve been posting requests to help Ukraine on our social media and our web resources – just like thousands of other Ukrainian companies…although So, it’s important to mention that we also later clarified the Russian contribution. We think we may be the absolute few – if not the only – to do so.
I’m curious why Nevazhno is targeting GSC specifically — not any other Ukrainian gaming company raising money for the country’s military — and wish I could get him to expand where he gets his Stalker console port leaked build.
Regarding the provenance of the build, Nevazhno has nothing more to say than what he wrote in the original document, which he implies comes from GSC employees who were unhappy with the company’s attitude towards Russian players. However, the GSC vehemently denied this in my correspondence with them, noting that a large amount of personal employee information was leaked by the same group of Russian bloggers who circulated this release: no one in their office seemed very willing to divulge this kind of information. s material.
But Nevarzhno describes his motivations in detail and in depth, and they reflect the sense of isolation and fraternal betrayal that now pervades Russians in the Ukrainian conflict. “My whole [YouTube] The channel is built on Stalker … the use of audio, video, my interest in game development – it all started with this game,” Nevazhno told me. But when he felt Russian players were being unfairly abused – especially the GSC’s attempt to raise donations from Russian fans – he felt “impossible to be neutral”. He told me that he thought the Western media’s view of the war in Ukraine was only one-sided, but even he accepted that Explaining that he also “doesn’t accept taking up arms, not killing people, and not marching into foreign countries…but [GSC] There seem to be different views.”
In our exchanges, Nevazhno was more of a heartbroken fan than a bubbling nationalist, but GSC’s Zakhar Bocharov reminded me of leaks like this – including Stalker’s console port and GSC employee info – “accompanying calls for bullying and death threats” has been a reality of life for GSC staff since the war began. While Nevazhno is disappointed by the treatment of Russian Stalker fans, the inevitable fact is that leaks such as these — which he thinks make perfect sense — add to an already heavy mental burden on game developers at war. Whether intentionally or not, Nevazhno turned the GSC’s own work into a stick that was used against them in conflicts they didn’t ask for.
I asked Nevazhno if he planned to divulge more information from GSC, or if this was his last move against the company. “I hope it all ends here,” he wrote, “regardless of how I got it, it’s important that I didn’t lie, this is not some fan model… This leak is out of a desire to do justice, and I see unscrupulousness revenge. It’s a cry from the soul.”
It’s such an exaggeration that you might accidentally forget that the subject in question is a leaked console port of a 2007 PC game, and the people affected and affected by it are not enemy combatants, but a group of developers. I don’t doubt that Nevazhno’s feelings of heartbreak and betrayal are real, but they hardly seem to justify his subsequent actions. He ended his email to me asking GSC Game World to change their attitude towards Russian players to a more positive one: I don’t believe this leak is the best way to achieve this.
As for GSC, those developers who don’t fight continue to work on Stalker 2 (opens in new tab) In an office far from a war zone. The stress of working in a war, and facing the consequences of such leaks, is an “inherent part” of developers’ lives now, Bocharov told me. Still, “we believe in the best – for our game, our country and the world at large”.