STALKER 2 devs raise Ultimate Edition price to ensure quality amid Ukraine conflict
Russia's invasion has directly impacted the Ukrainian studio developing the game.
What you need to know
- STALKER 2 develper GSC Game World has increased the price of the game's Ultimate Edition by $40 (or the equivalent amount in other currencies) in order to "keep the quality of all the collectible items at the desired level during these uneasy times."
- The studio is referring to Russia's ongoing war of aggression in Ukraine, which has resulted in the devastation of Ukraine's infrastructure and economy.
- GSC has been directly impacted by the invasion. 200 of its developers and their families evacuated to Prague, while 130 are reportedly still in Ukraine. Many fight on the front lines and perform volunteer work.
- STALKER 2 is expected to launch on Xbox and PC systems in 2023. The Ultimate Edition is expected to be available for preorder in North America once GSC announces a concrete release date.
One of the most highly anticipated games scheduled to release in 2023 is STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl, a AAA follow-up to the trilogy of atmospheric open world sandbox shooters released in the tail end of the 2000s. Similar to the original games, STALKER 2 will be set in the franchise's fictional version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, in which they'll need to survive by hunting down resources, interacting with various factions, keeping deadly mutants and other hostiles at bay, and exploring its desolate environments.
Like many other AAA games, STALKER 2 has multiple editions for fans to choose from. Of these, the largest one available is the Ultimate Edition, which includes the full game and Season Pass access to all DLC, a steelbook, a letter from the developers, themed stickers, an art book, a full map of The Zone, a Zone permit, a military token, a STALKER figurine, a backpack, and a lamp based on an in-game anomaly. This edition has retailed for $339 since it was made available last year, but now, developer GSC Game World has announced that it plans to raise the price to $379 (or the equivalent amount in other currencies) to ensure that the included items are high quality.
"To keep the quality of all the collectible items at the desired level during these uneasy times, unfortunately, we have to raise the price of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Ultimate Edition from $339 to $379," wrote the studio in a Tweet. "The new price will take effect as of February 21st, 2023. This will only apply to the Ultimate Edition, we still managed to keep the prices of the other editions on the same level."
To keep the quality of all the collectible items at the desired level during these uneasy times, unfortunately, we have to raise the price of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Ultimate Edition from $339 to $379 (or the equivalent in the local currency). [3/4]February 15, 2023
The developer's mention of "uneasy times" is undoubtedly referring to Russia's ongoing war of aggression in Ukraine, in which GSC was headquartered before the invasion began in early 2022. Though roughly 200 of the studio's developers and their families have since evacuated to the Czech Republic and have regrouped in Prague, 130 of them are reportedly still in Ukraine, with many of them serving on the front lines or volunteering to help their local communities. In June 2022, GSC closed out an Xbox showcase with a harrowing look at the conflict.
The invasion has had a significant impact on the global economy, with Ukraine's own falling by more than 30% in 2022. On top of that, Russia's frequent use of heavy artillery shelling and long-range missile attacks have devastated Ukraine's infrastructure. These developments have likely made it more difficult and expensive for GSC Game World to have high-quality collectibles manufactured, resulting in the price increase.
Though the new price isn't supposed to take effect until February 21, it's already present on the Ultimate Edition listings on Game Legends. Currently, the Ultimate Edition isn't available for preorder in North America, though GSC says they should start to appear in stock once the game's specific release date is announced.
STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl is expected to release in 2023 on Xbox and Windows PC with at least three months of timed Xbox console exclusivity. Notably, the game is also launching onto Xbox Game Pass. STALKER 2 preorders are available now, though some editions may not be available depending on your local region. It has the potential to be one of the best Xbox games for fans of atmospheric open world-style experiences.
STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl Ultimate Edition
The Ultimate Edition features everything from the Collector's Edition, a Season Pass that will provide access to all of STALKER 2's DLC, several additional costume skins for multiplayer, a STALKER-themed backpack, and a lamp designed to look like a container holding an artifact.
Buy at: Game Legends (PC) (opens in new tab) | Game Legends (Xbox) (opens in new tab)
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
STALKER 2 will launch directly onto Xbox Game Pass, a service that provides access to dozens upon dozens of games across various genres for a competitive price. The Ultimate tier of the service includes Xbox Live Gold, EA Play, PC Game Pass, and access to Xbox Cloud Gaming.
See at: Microsoft (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab) | GMG (opens in new tab)
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
By Jez Corden