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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Release date, gameplay, game pass, story, more

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart Of Chernobyl, the sequel of the cult classic horror RPG shooter from 2007, is set to be released in 2022. Here's everything you need to know about Stalker 2.
Initially announced in 2010, after more than a decade, several reboots, and lots of problems during development, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart Of Chernobyl is finally going to be released in 2022.

The long-awaited sequel of Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl will be the fourth game released in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, and the first one since 2009 when Call of Pripyat was released.

The original Stalker games were the epitome of so-called "euro junk" games - beloved for their gritty atmosphere, unconventional stories and gameplay mechanics, but also very much a buggy mess with clunky controls, poor optimisation, and other flaws.

Despite those problems, the original Stalker trilogy has amassed a huge fan base and their success has inspired many other games over the last decade.

Now, we will finally have a chance to play the sequel, so let's see what we know about it.

What is Stalker 2's story?

Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Release date, gameplay, game pass, story, more
Very few details have been revealed about the story. (Picture: GSC Game World)

Just like all the previous entries in the series, Stalker 2 is set in the grim post-apocalyptic world, or more precisely - the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, known simply as the Zone.

There, the second massive explosion has occurred in 2006 and now the area is rife with mutants, deadly anomalies, warring factions, and other even more ominous things that are lurking around.

We don't yet have many details about the story, but at its core, we will yet again enter the Zone as one of many S.T.A.L.K.E.R.S. in search of precious and dangerous artefacts created by the radiation.

Stalker 2 gameplay

Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Release date, gameplay, game pass, story, more
Developers promise "hundreds of distinctive lethal combinations." (Picture: GSC Game World)

In the same vein as previous Stalker games, Stalker 2 is a combination of first-person shooter, RPG and immersive sim. All that is set in a horror environment with a non-linear story on a huge open-world map.

"Explore the photorealistic seamless open world in a 64-km² radioactive zone with a variety of environments that reveal post-apocalyptic atmosphere from different angles," reads the official description. "Make your way through the Zone to define your destiny as you choose your paths within a highly branching epic story."

At launch, the game will feature over 30 types of firearms with many more attachments and modifications that will allow for "hundreds of distinctive lethal combinations."

Release date

After countless delays, Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl is finally coming in 2022. The game is set to be released on 28th April 2022, and it's coming to Xbox Series X/S and PC (via Microsoft Store and Steam).

Update: The game has been delayed once again in January 2022, and now the new release date is 8th December 2022.

Is Stalker 2 on Game Pass?

Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Release date, gameplay, game pass, story, more
Stalker 2 will be available on Day 1 on Xbox Game Pass. (Picture: GSC Game World)

Yes, the game will be available on Game Pass at launch, which means if you are a Game Pass subscriber, you will be able to play the game on launch day at no additional cost.

Is Stalker 2 coming to PS5 and PS4?

No, Stalker 2 will not be available on the PlayStation 5 (nor PS4). Microsoft has financially helped GSC Game World, the developers of the game, and that's why the game will be exclusive to Xbox Series X/S (and PC).

Will Stalker 2 have NFTs?

Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Release date, gameplay, game pass, story, more
The development of Stalker 2 is financed by Microsoft, and thus the game is not being developed for the PS5. (Picture: GSC Game World)

There was controversy in December 2021, as GSC Game World announced that Stalker 2 will feature NFTs which will allow players to "become metahuman NPCs."

This announcement prompted a backlash, and a day later, GSC Game World revoked their decision, so no, for now, Stalker 2 will not feature NFTs.

System requirements

Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl - Release date, gameplay, game pass, story, NFTs
There will be no NFTs in Stalker 2, at least for now. (Picture: GSC Game World)

PC system requirements for Stalker 2 are not as demanding as you may expect from a game releasing in 2022, especially one that features "benchmark-setting graphics powered by the Unreal Engine 5." 
According to the official Steam page, even several years old PCs will be able to comfortably run Stalker 2.
However, the game will make itself known on your hard drive, requiring 150 GB of available space. And given that the game is set in a vast open-world with no loading screens, an SSD is also required in order to play the game.

Minimum system requirements:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1600X / Intel Core i5-7600K
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • Storage: 150 GB available space

Recommended system requirements:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X / Intel Core i7-9700K
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
  • Storage: 150 GB available space

For now, that's all we know about Stalker 2, but we will make sure to update the article with any new relevant information revealed by the developers as the launch date comes closer.

For more news about horror games, check out our dedicated Horror section filled with guides, news, and more.

Featured image courtesy of GSC Game World