- STALKER has been review bombed on Steam;
- This has to do with the withdrawal of GSC Game World's games from sale in Russia;
- The developer has not issued a statement on this issue at this time.
On February 24 employees of the Kiev-based studio GSC Game World - responsible for i.a. the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series - issued an official position regarding the situation in their country. They placed also posted a bank account number, through which you can financially support the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
A week ago, in turn, the world received information about the suspension of work on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl. The developers stated that their main goal at the moment is to "help the developers and their families survive" in the war-torn Ukraine.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Cossacs not available in Russia
Today the popular eastern social network VK started seeing posts from Russian users reporting their Heart of Chernobyl product card on Steam started displaying a message that says "product not available in your region"..
- It wasn't long before it was revealed that the other S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games have also been pulled from sale on Steam in Russia.
- Other productions suffered a similar fate - including the Cossacks series or American Conquest - another work of GSC.
- According to the Russian website Cybersport.ru, users from this country are able to browse steam pages of already released GSC games - although Heart of Chernobyl is reportedly completely unavailable for browsing - but they cannot buy them.
- On SteamDB, the prices of GSC games in individual currencies are marked "N/A" instead of the amount in rubles - product unavailable for that currency.
- But what is most interesting, at the moment the studio has not issued any official statement about the withdrawal of its games from sale in Russia.
Thus, some Russian players decided to express their dissatisfaction, by giving these games a negative review on Steam. At this point, the phenomenon of review bombing of these titles is not yet huge, but it escalates with each passing hour.
- For example, just today S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat received 15 positive and 87 negative reviews.
Thus, while "all reviews" of this game are still "overwhelmingly positive", the summary of "recent reviews" has dropped to "mixed". Below is an example of today's highest rated negative review on Call of Pripyat:
"Well, Grygorovych [Sergiy Grygorovych - owner of GSC games], your trick will be remembered by everyone. Release STALKER 2 and we will collectively write it off, only for you, the lover of Russian money, to go bankrupt. If you were just a native Ukrainian who supports the country verbally or donates money yourself, everyone would hav ignored it.
But to raise funds from the Russian citizens for the Armed Forces of Ukraine... I think you have completely lost your mind. One post destroyed all love for your studio and your games. I'm no longer looking forward to STALKER 2. I wish you a quick bankruptcy. You guys really deserve it."
Another negative review of Shadow of Chernobyl from today proclaims:
"GSC Game World, explain. What the hell? You guys are just game developers. Where did your involvement in politics come from! It's none of your business! You should just make games and make people happy, regardless of any factors."
Fundraising and Russian fans
The account number mentioned in the introduction and the statement of GSC were shared in various social networks.
- Originally, the same message was also posted on Moscow's popular VK. However, the last part was quickly removed, the one with requests for financial support for Ukraine.
A Russian youtuber nicknamed "Doesn't matter who" (we wrote about his interview in the news about the alleged remake of the first STALKER) shed some light on the matter in his recent video.
- He warned its viewers who are Russian citizens that by donating to the account provided by GSC, they could end up in jail for potential treason against the country.
- The message on VK was therefore modified to not to cause trouble for Russian fans of S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
It is worth noting that GSC delayed the withdrawal of its games from Russia until the very last moment. Companies such as CD Projekt RED, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft stopped distribution of their products in this country a few days earlier. The group was also joined by Microsoft, on whose consoles (and PCs) Heart of Chernobyl was to debut exclusively on December 8. Perhaps it was his decision that convinced GSC to stop selling it.
A huge part of the Stalker community lives in Russia. The withdrawal of GSC's games from Russia will be a huge blow to the Ukrainian studio. Microsoft's marketing, however, could widen the audience of Heart of Chernobyl with players from western countries. The game's development may be resumed after the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.
- War in Ukraine - Developers and Gaming Organizations React
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl - official website