STALKER developer GSC Game World is currently investigating the possibility of including mod support for the upcoming sequel on Xbox Series X/S.
These details first came to light on Russian podcast “Не занесли,” the most recent episode of which included an interview with GSC Game World public relations manager Zakhar Bocharov. According to translations by Indian gaming outlet Gamingsym, Bocharov was careful not to give out too much info, but did say the developers were looking into mod support on Xbox due to the franchise’s historically passionate modding community.
“Mods are extremely important to the STALKER franchise, so our case can be considered quite unique,” Bocharov told Kotaku when reached for clarification via email. “To a certain extent, we have chosen Unreal Engine for STALKER 2 because of its mod support.”
GSC Game World, Bocharov continued, is committed to making mod support a priority for STALKER 2 on PC, and hope to implement that functionality as soon as possible. But Xbox is a whole other story.
“The Xbox ecosystem is completely different,” Bocharov added in the email to Kotaku. “There [have been] cases of official mod support on the Xbox family, and Microsoft was extremely supportive with all our ideas so far. We’re thoroughly investigating what we can do at the moment, and there’s probably a way for our ideas to become reality. However, this shouldn’t be considered as an official announcement, as the development process is a long way off, trying and optimizing [until] release.”
As Bocharov noted, official mod support on consoles isn’t completely unheard of. High-profile releases like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4 allowed players to modify their games with third-party patches, and more recently, Snowrunner added mod support on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And while no current Xbox Series X games have included this functionality, mods meant for older consoles can still be used on the next-gen platform. That’s not to say enabling mod support on consoles isn’t still a hurdle for devs, but it certainly isn’t as hard as it once was.
“We want to ensure developers have the freedom to incorporate features like mod support in ways that best enhance the gameplay experience they’re trying to achieve,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku when reached for comment about STALKER 2.
Despite being a wonderful experience otherwise, the original STALKER is notoriously janky. Newcomers were often encouraged by fellow players to go through an extensive modding process before even touching the game to make it more stable. With over a decade of additional development experience under its belt, I expect GSC Game World to avoid making the same mistakes with STALKER 2, but it’s reassuring to know that the studio is looking into ways to keep from leaving Xbox players out in the cold when it comes to mod support.
After the 2007 debut of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, the post-apocalyptic survival game quickly spawned two follow-ups in 2008’s Clear Sky and 2009’s Call of Pripyat. A numbered sequel has been in development in some form for almost 12 years.