Gaming showcases don’t usually end this way – nor should they have to, in normal circumstances – but it felt like a true tribute to the bravery of STALKER 2 developer GSC Game World that today’s Xbox Games Showcase Extended ended not just with an unexpected announcement, but a snapshot of what it means to work in Ukraine right now.
The showcase truly ended with a look at the game’s introduction, but you can watch that elsewhere. What mattered here was the look at GSC Game World’s Kiev office and workers before and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Members of the company have been documenting their working and personal lives amid tragedy and fear, and the resulting developer diary makes for both a devastating and stirring portrait.
You can watch the video below:
Developers are seen working in cramped spaces, necessitated by the threat of bombings. Others have joined the Ukrainian defence forces, promising to return and finish the game when they have turned back their invaders. We see developers who don’t know if their family members are alive, others rushing to bomb shelters, and we don’t see those who can’t share stories, because of fear for their own safety.
We also see the new logo for the game’s retitling, which is now known as STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl, using the original Ukrainian spelling for the area.
Congratulations to Xbox for making this a cornerstone of its showcase, and our hearts go out to GSC Game World. If you’d like to help the situation in Ukraine, we have a guide on how to donate and aid Ukrainian civilians.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Slava Ukraini.