GSC Game World has shared the latest trailer for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl, and the return of a beloved character: Strider.
No, this isn’t a somersaulting ninja, and it isn’t some dude who’s dating an elven princess. This Strider is the leader of a squad of stalkers who the player can recruit in the events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat.
Strider’s squad doesn’t remember that they were, at some point, swayed away from their work as stalkers, and were mind controlled into joining Monolith. Monolith is a quasi-religious faction in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe, that mainly act to stop anyone from entering the center of the Zone.
If this is the first time you’re reading about this, you’ll be surprised to know that Monolith is the main antagonist faction in the entire franchise, being led by the mysterious C-Consciousness. So Strider and his squad were supposed to be the bad guys, but for reasons that remain unexplained, C-Consciousness lose control over them.
Now, given S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s harsh ruleset, you can get Strider and his squad killed while playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat. As GSC Game World has structured the franchise so that there are multiple endings for each game, the fates of many characters have remained open ended for some time.
This is not the first time that GSC decided to create canons for characters in the series, breaking apart from the multiple endings they could have had. But of course, they would only do this sort of thing because they have good reason to make use of Strider as a character.
If you don’t let Strider die in S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat, there is a point where he separates from you. This is when he enters the Laundromat, and doesn’t come back. Of course, in the lore of the game, this isn’t an ordinary laundromat, but the player’s literal home base. The Ukrainian government tries and fails to take control of Pripyat after their choppers crash. However, their surviving forces, led by Colonel Kovalsky, take a laundromat building and uses it as a base to strategize how to complete their mission.
The trailer also gives us a brief look at Colonel Korshunov, the head of the Ward faction, and a mysterious character who is not seen onscreen, but named in the captions as Faust. Is this the playable character? Of course, it’s just like GSC to hook us along with just enough teasers for things that will turn out to be very important when we finally see them in the game.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl is planned for release to Xbox Series X|S and Windows in Q1 2024. You can watch the trailer below.