Video footage has hit the web, allegedly showing how the campfire scene seen in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl's gameplay trailer from last year's show at Microsoft showcase was prepared.
As you can see, the footage above shows a specially isolated environment rather than an open world. In the background we can hear a song titled The Can Can Song.
This led to a discussion on many Russian forums about whether what was presented last year was actually real gameplay - as a representative of GSC Game World claimed in an interview in June - or maybe it was was only a render, prepared specially for this occasion.
Is the leak real?
What we see above is obviously a copy of the original leaked footage, which - as with many other behind-the-scenes leaks - was quickly removed shortly after publication.
The interface visible in the right corner of the video corresponds to the one from Unreal Engine, the technology powering Heart of Chornobyl. However, the appearance of the characters differs from what we saw in the trailer.
After a more thorough search across the popular Russian social network VK.com I managed to find a link to the alleged original on YouTube, which was taken down by GSC Game World.
Return to the past
Once it has been entered into the digital archive of the Wayback Machine I found out that the material was posted on April 3 by a user named Lothar Mayzer.
Although it was not possible to play the video, thanks to a frame-by-frame preview of the video, I know that the image in the material matches what we see in the leaked copy seen above - as well as the music track in the description (The Can Mauzer Song).
Although I am not 100% sure that the removed material is the original, GSC's reaction means that the leaked materials does indeed come from behind the scenes work on the game.
The leak shows the headless figure of the main character. It is therefore quite likely that this is a deliberate technique and all the cutscenes in the game will be seen from the eyes of the protagonist.
- This would justify the lack of character personalization, about which we wrote the day before yesterday.
Is the leak proof that the trailer of Heart of Chornobyl was not showing the actual gameplay, same as in the case of demonstration of the infamous Anthem from E3 2017?
Not necessarily. Creating an an isolated environment reflecting a particular part of the game is a common practice used by developers.
This enables them to customize a scene to look its best in your promo materials. What's more, the leak only concerns the fragment in which stalkers are sitting around a bonfire, while the trailer was full of other events.
It is worth recalling that the work on Heart of Chornobyl remains on hold due to the war in Ukraine. However, there are rumors on the web that part of GSC Game World plans to move to the Czech Republic, where allegedly the production is to be finalized. Sales of the developer's games have been suspended on the territory of Russia. Current release date of Heart of Chornobyl is unknown (before the war broke out, the debut was planned for December 8, 2022).
- The game will be released on PC and Xbox Series X/S consoles (assuming it can be completed). The title is expected to be available at launch as part of the Game Pass subscription.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl - official website