Stalker 2 site banned by Russian authorities for minor censorship
Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine has had a huge impact on independent studios and developers near the conflict. Stalker 2 developer GSC Game World was based in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, but is currently in the process of moving to Prague, and in March ceased all operations in Russia.
From the start of the war, GSC condemned the “inhuman cruelty” of the invasion and was explicit that it was a matter of survival for its employees and their families. The studio has suspended development of Stalker 2 for the time being, but has updated the Steam entry to change the word Chornobyl to reflect Ukrainian spelling). The game’s official website has also been updated with a message of support for Ukraine and a link for aid donations.
This last gesture may seem relatively minor in the context of an ongoing war in Europe, but not if you are the office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation (thanks, xgp). As the Ria Novosti news agency, a Russian state-owned media, reported on March 18, Russian authorities demanded that access to the Stalker 2 website be restricted in Russia, in a move to tit-for-tat which could also be related to GSC. decision to cease its activities in the country.
To Western eyes, it may seem insignificant that the Russian state has time to worry about the website of an upcoming video game, but it’s business as usual for Russia. The Roskomnadzor is a state agency that censors the mass media, essentially, and maintains a registry of “banned” sites that any business operating in the region must follow.
GSC Game World has not commented on the situation. The studio’s most recent activity was a charity sale of its games which, in mid-April, had raised over $800,000 to donate to the charity Come Back Alive.