The forthcoming cyberpunk game Replaced won’t make its planned 2022 release. Today, developer Sad Cat Studios announced the side-scrolling platformer is now planned for next, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine as the cause.
First unveiled at last year’s Xbox E3 showcase, Replaced is a 2.5D game that casts you as an AI program trapped inside a human body. An early gameplay trailer showed off crunchy combat and tight platforming, all set in a futuristic city done up with high-def pixel art. Among a showcase featuring the likes of Starfield, Halo Infinite, and other splashy first-party Xbox games, Replaced stood out due to its striking art style and an irresistibly catchy earworm.
“The Belarusian-based studio working on the game, Sad Cat Studios, has a team of talented developers from Belarus and Ukraine,” representatives for the game wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Unfortunately, the continued war in Ukraine has heavily impacted the development of Replaced, as most of the team resides in the neighboring regions.”
Development on the game has resumed following a break, but it’s unclear for how long the project was suspended. Representatives for publisher Coatsink did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In February, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, staging a ground invasion and launching airstrikes on major metropolitan areas. The war is an extended humanitarian crisis; to date, according to the United Nations, Ukraine has sustained close to 8,500 civilian casualties. Russia is supported by Belarus, where Russian troops gathered before the invasion. The authoritarian Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, is a long-time ally of Russia—and, more specifically, its authoritarian president, Vladimir Putin.
The war has had a major impact on game development in the region. Though some developers have remained in the country—due to a wide range of reasons, as detailed in an extensive Kotaku report—others have relocated. Frogwares, a Kyiv-based studio known for the Sherlock Holmes games, plans to relocate elsewhere in Europe. (In March, Frogwares released a Switch port of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.) GSC World, currently developing S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 for Xbox Series X/S and PC, resumed development on the survival shooter this week following the studio’s relocation to Prague. According to figures from the United Nations, 14 million Ukrainian citizens have fled their homes over the past few months.