GSC Game World, the developer behind the highly anticipated STALKER 2, recently announced a security breach at their company in a statement posted on Twitter. According to GSC, an employee's account for a "collective work-with-images application" was hacked by a "community from a Russian social network." As a result, the company warns of potential leaks and spoilers for STALKER 2 and urges fans to refrain from watching or distributing any such material.
The incident appears to be in response to a post from the account Вестник «Того Самого Сталкера» on the Russian social media platform VK. The report, which has 11,000 followers and presents itself as a fan community, had posted images and concept art related to STALKER 2 that were allegedly obtained via hacking. The account also made demands of GSC, including a request to change their attitude towards players from Belarus and Russia and to apologize for what the account holder deemed an "unworthy attitude" towards ordinary players from those countries.
While the demand for an apology may seem odd in the context of a security breach, it's worth noting that it appears to be part of a larger pattern of fan outrage that has emerged in response to perceived changes to beloved franchises. In addition, the post's call to "avoid politics" and the demand to be unbanned from GSC's Discord channel also reflect common refrains that arise when fans feel that their interests are not being prioritized.
A message from GSC Game World team pic.twitter.com/rqRM0tFZmO— S.T.A.L.K.E.R. OFFICIAL (@stalker_thegame) March 12, 2023
GSC, for their part, has made it clear that they will not budge on these demands, and in response to their statement, the offending VK account published more concept art that had been obtained in the hack. However, it's worth noting that GSC's mention of a "work-with-images" application suggests that the hackers may not have received more substantial materials like development documents or an in-progress build.
This incident is not the first time that a leak related to STALKER has occurred. Last August, a Russian streamer and STALKER fan leaked footage of an unreleased console version of the first STALKER. The streamer cited similar pro-Russia motivations to the current leak. Additionally, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has impacted the games industry in other ways. For example, Mundfish, the developer of Atomic Heart, has faced Western scrutiny due to its headquarters in Cyprus but many of its operations in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Ultimately, this security breach highlights the vulnerability of game developers to cyberattacks and the potential impact that leaks can have on highly anticipated releases. It also underscores the political tensions that can arise in the gaming community, particularly in global conflicts. As the gaming industry continues to evolve and expand, developers will need to protect their intellectual property and safeguard their creative visions from external influences.