It turns out that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl apparently changed its game engine at some point during development.
Taking to Twitter earlier today, developer GSC Game World confirmed that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will be running on the new Unreal Engine 5 which is notable because the sequel was previously said to be running on Unreal Engine 4.
— S.T.A.L.K.E.R. OFFICIAL (@stalker_thegame) August 11, 2021
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl was brought back from the dead in 2018 after being cancelled back in 2012. GSC Game World announced at the time that it would be using Unreal Engine which was later confirmed to be Unreal Engine 4.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was initially slated for a release in fall 2021 with fans keeping their fingers crossed that GSC Game World would have enough time to port some features over from Unreal Engine 5. These hopes were further strengthened when the game was delayed by another year to give the developer ample time to completely shift its game engine to the latest version.
Hence, it goes without saying that the delay was worth it and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl will now officially be making full use of features and technologies offered by the new Unreal Engine 5.
GSC Game World previously assured that its “aim is to deliver the product of the highest quality possible on every platform announced.” Support for both ray tracing and 4K resolution has already been announced, alongside making use of solid-state drives and impressive lighting, shadows for a next-generation worth realism.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl will be releasing for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S and PC on April 28, 2022. The Xbox exclusivity will reportedly last for only three months before the game lands on PlayStation 5. The release will see the franchise return after a hiatus of more than a decade.