On the 11th of March, a post on a Russian fan page for the Stalker series boasted of having hacked the in-development Stalker 2, and started making threats to the Ukrainian developers of the game. Those developers have now responded, and basically told them to go to hell.
The post and hack appear to be in response to developers GSC Game World’s decision not to localise the upcoming shooter for the Russian market, and for the way Russian members of the series’ community are being treated in the wake of their country’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The hackers ask GSC to “rethink your attitude towards players from Belarus and Russia”, and to “apologize for the unworthy attitude towards ordinary players from these countries”.
With regards to the lack of a Russian localisation, they write “Fans are waiting for it from your official company. It is not necessary to spoil the game for people because of politics.”
The hackers say they have in their possession concept art, story details, maps and “much more”, adding up to “tens of gigabytes” worth of data. They say that if GSC Game World haven’t responded by March 15, they’ll release this imagery and information onto the internet.
Well, GSC Game World—who had a developer of the game killed in action in December fighting the Russian invasion—have responded, just not in the way the hackers were probably hoping. In a statement released earlier today, the developers say (their caps, not mine):
RECENTLY, OUR EMPLOYEE’S ACCOUNT FOR A COLLECTIVE WORK-WITH-IMAGES APPLICATION WAS HACKED. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS WAS CLAIMED BY A COMMUNITY FROM A RUSSIAN SOCIAL NETWORK. THEY ARE THREATENING TO USE THE OBTAINED DATA FOR BLACKMAIL AND INTIMIDATION. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO HACK AND LEAK OUR DATA, INCLUDING PERSONAL INFORMATION. WE HAVE BEEN ENDURING CONSTANT CYBERATTACKS FOR MORE THAN A YEAR NOW. 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.
WE ARE A UKRAINIAN COMPANY, AND LIKE MOST UKRAINIANS, WE HAVE EXPERIENCED MANY THINGS THAT ARE MUCH MORE TERRIFYING: DESTROYED HOUSES, RUINED LIVES, AND THE DEATHS OF OUR LOVED ONES. ATTEMPTS TO BLACKMAIL OR INTIMIDATE US ARE COMPLETELY FUTILE.
OUR UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING OUR COUNTRY REMAINS UNCHANGED-WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO SUPPORT UKRAINE. AND THIS WON’T CHANGE IN THE FUTURE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
DESPITE THE ATTEMPTS TO BREAK US, WE REMAIN STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. BECAUSE WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN SOMETHING AND LOVE IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, YOU HAVE TO DEFEND IT AT ALL COSTS.
WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH A LOT. HOWEVER, THESE CHALLENGES ONLY ENCOURAGE US TO WORK EVEN HARDER BECAUSE
WE BELIEVE THAT THE TRUTH IS ON OUR SIDE. EVIL WILL NEVER WIN.
IN THE EVENT OF ANY LEAKS, WE ASK THAT YOU REFRAIN FROM WATCHING OR DISTRIBUTING INFORMATION ABOUT S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: HEART OF CHORNOBYL. OUTDATED AND WORK-IN-PROGRESS MATERIALS MAY DILUTE THE IMPRESSION OF THE FINAL IDEA THAT WE HAVE PUT INTO THE GAME. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO STAY PATIENT AND WAIT FOR THE OFFICIAL RELEASE FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE. WE BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL LOVE IT.
WE’D LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR DEEPEST APPRECIATION FOR OUR LOYAL COMMUNITY. WE ARE OVERWHELMED BY THE RESPONSE AND SUPPORT WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM YOU. THANK YOU FOR THAT. FROM EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THE GSC GAME WORLD TEAM.
OUR MISSION IS TO COMMIT ALL OF OUR STRENGTH AND PASSION TO COMPLETE THE PROJECT AND DELIVER IT TO YOU, DESPITE ALL THE OBSTACLES ON THE WAY. YOUR SUPPORT IS OUR INSPIRATION.
GLORY TO UKRAINE.
THE GSC GAME WORLD TEAM
That’s a “no”, then.