- STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl, a highly anticipated open-world sci-fi/survival horror game, is set to release on September 5, 2024.
- Fans of the STALKER franchise can play the game Chernobylite as a similar experience while waiting for the release of STALKER 2.
- Chernobylite offers a similar but streamlined Chernobyl-inspired surival experience while adding valuable features like a base-building system.
STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl is the next entry set to arrive in the open-world sci-fi/survival horror franchise. Envisioned by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World and drawing a significant part of its setting and tone from Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film of the same name, three titles were released in the series from 2007 and 2009, becoming regarded as well-liked cult classics, with dedicated supporters and mod community. STALKER 2 was originally announced back in 2010, with a planned 2012 launch. However, various factors both internal and external to the studio began to make its development an arduous journey, causing multiple production issues and delays until the most recent update, giving it a Fall 2024 firm date as of now.
Games set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone like STALKER often have inherent appeal, given that it was one of the most infamous industrial disasters in the modern era, with wide-reaching repercussions still being felt to this day. It also spurred all ranges of media to explore how such a tragic nuclear event impacted society, what it means for humanity’s future, and how a fictionalized version of it might be depicted in a work of artistic entertainment. As one of the first video games to do so, STALKER built much of the foundation for others to utilize the framework. The Farm 51’s Chernobylite from 2019 lies heavily in this sphere of influence, making it worthwhile for fans to play ahead of Heart of Chornobyl.
15 Survival Horror Open-World Games You Should Play While Waiting For STALKER 2
STALKER 2 is still a wait away, but fans of the franchise have a bunch of fantastic similar survival horror open-world games to try in the meantime.
STALKER Fans Should Play Chernobylite Before S2: Heart of Chornobyl Releases
STALKER’s Surreal Sci-Fi Survival Horror
STALKER‘s large open worlds are populated by various NPC factions and creatures, both friendly and hostile, which can turn on a dime while exploring the Zone. Players are tasked with tracking down the titular Stalker’s mysterious history and impact on the region and its inhabitants in FPS gameplay, collecting resources while avoiding or eliminating the worst of the unnatural anomalies, mutated wildlife, and other threats. They also keep an eye on upgrading their skills and maintaining equipment. STALKER 2 looks to refine and improve its previous features, updating and modernizing them while retaining the general aesthetic and feel.
Chernobylite is a Similar STALKER Experience
Chernorbylite incorporates many of the same loops and mechanics, albeit streamlined in number and complexity, but it also introduces a fairly robust base-building system. Players must manage their hideout between picking from a pool of mid-sized areas to scour for supplies while gathering information and completing objectives pertinent to the main investigation of what’s happening in Chernobylite‘s version of the Zone. These maps dynamically and procedurally adjust depending on previous choices and other factors. Players also encounter and form relationships with NPCs, having to take care to make sure Chernobylite’s companions are also geared up to weather the side missions players can assign them as they continue their own explorations.
Both were also made by studios who were/are headquartered in countries near the actual Ground Zero area (GSC was formed in Ukraine, and Farm 51 hails from Poland), which almost certainly informed their elements to some degree. Though it was noted Chernobylite could’ve used a bit more polishing in some cases, given the more limited resources of a smaller studio, it still stands as a solid and satisfying STALKER-like entry on average. Chernobylite provides a good STALKER-style experience in slightly more bite-sized form, hitting many of the same notes, and is a great choice for fans of titles in this vein before STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl (hopefully) hits the market later in September.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
- First-Person Shooter
- M For Mature 17+ Due To Intense Violence, Blood, Use Of Drugs And Alcohol, Language, Crude Humor