The STALKER trilogy, my favorite open world shooter games, just shadow dropped on Xbox

STALKER: Legends of the Zone Trilogy
(Image credit: GSC Game World)

What you need to know

  • STALKER is an non-linear first-person shooter franchise made by GSC Game World for PC in the late 2000s. It's one of the largest ever cult classic game series, with its fans in love with its atmosphere and advanced open world AI simulations.
  • During Microsoft's Xbox Partner Preview event, the original trilogy of STALKER games was shadow dropped on Xbox and PlayStation, and is available now for $40 (you can also buy each of the three games individually for $20). 
  • The games have been given a specialized console-friendly UI and control scheme, with extra visual enhancements available to Xbox Series X owners. Further graphical improvements and mod support via are coming later this year.
  • The console release of the original STALKER games comes several months before STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl is scheduled to launch on Xbox Series X|S and PC on September 5, 2024.

The original STALKER open world shooter games, part of one of the biggest cult classic franchises in PC gaming history, just shadow dropped on Xbox and PlayStation during Microsoft's Xbox Partner Preview event.

They've been released as the STALKER Legends of the Zone Trilogy collection, which includes 2007's STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, 2008's STALKER: Clear Sky, and 2010's STALKER: Call of Pripyat. The collection is available now on the Microsoft Store  and PlayStation Store for $39.99, and is playable on both Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, as well as the PS5 and PS4. If you'd prefer to do so, you can also buy each game individually for $20 on both platforms.

Notably, the collection has been "refined for console" by developer GSC Game World, and features a reworked interface as well as new controls that make the games more intuitive to play with a controller. In the Xbox Wire blog post that accompanied the news, it was also confirmed that playing the trilogy on Xbox Series X|S will give players access to a "high-fidelity mode," with further Series X|S graphical enhancements as well as mod support via slated to come later this year. You can watch the official trailer for the collection below (and don't forget to check out our roundup of the Xbox Partner Preview, too).

“S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has been a PC franchise for a long time, so the key priorities were concentrated around adapting the experience for consoles as a whole (including, but not limited to, native controller support for console interfaces),” said GSC Game World's PR Specialist Zakhar Bocharov. “We created everything from scratch, ensuring that the game was both easy to control and comfortable to play.”

GSC says it's wanted to bring the original STALKER games to console for a long time, and was finally able to do so by partnering with MATABOO, a studio that supports other developers with valuable assistance. Notably, the release of the STALKER Legends of the Zone Trilogy comes ahead of STALKER 2, which is scheduled to launch on Xbox Series X|S and Windows PC on September 5, 2024. When it releases, it will also be available day one on Xbox Game Pass.

"Despite the new release date for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, we decided to keep S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Legends of the Zone Trilogy in early 2024 to give the players some time to complete the originals before hopping into the sequel," explained Bocharov. "S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is a direct continuation of the plot and a standalone title, but obviously knowing the previous events and characters would help you to enjoy certain story moments, nods, and Easter eggs better.”

The console release of the STALKER trilogy comes ahead of STALKER 2's scheduled launch in September. (Image credit: GSC Game World)

The STALKER games have been a favorite of mine for years now — set in a fictional, supernatural version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, their atmosphere is impeccable, despite their trademark jankiness — so I'm ecstatic to see that the trilogy has come to Xbox and PlayStation with special controls and UI elements for console. The fact it's getting special visual improvements and mod support in future updates is a tremendous bonus, too, and I can't wait to stop writing this article so I can run down to my living room and check the games out on my Series X.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post from me in the next few days, as I'll be reporting back with my thoughts on how STALKER feels to play on Xbox. I'm pretty curious to see how it performs, too, as these games (Clear Sky, especially) are notorious for being on the glitchy side.

Surprisingly, the collection is not available on Xbox Game Pass, despite the fact that STALKER 2 will be on day one. As long as they're enjoyable to play on console, though, I still wholeheartedly recommend these open world horror shooters at full price. Old they may be, but they've aged incredibly well.

STALKER: Legends of the Zone Trilogy | $39.99 at Xbox (Digital)

STALKER: Legends of the Zone Trilogy | $39.99 at Xbox (Digital)

One of the biggest open world shooter franchises in PC gaming history has shadow dropped on Xbox and PlayStation. Get all three of the amazing STALKER games for $40 and play through them ahead of STALKER 2's launch later this year.

Brendan Lowry

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.