The developers behind Stalker 2 have decided to cancel their plans to incorporate NFTs into their next release following significant backlash from the community.

The developers first issued a statement on Wednesday, Dec. 15 indicating that they were planning to incorporate NFTs into the game, allowing players to own unique items in Stalker 2. With rounds of NFT drops initially planned for January and February, GSC Game World described one of these items as “the first-ever metahuman,” referring to the possibility for players to have their face scanned onto an NPC.

NFT technology has become one of the most controversial topics in the gaming industry lately and saying that GSC Game World’s decision to incorporate them into Stalker 2 created some backlash would be an understatement. With an overwhelmingly negative reception to the news, many fans who had been excited about the game’s release threatened to steer clear of the title completely.

The developers, who possibly expected this controversy, then issued another statement to reassure fans that the NFT technologies incorporated into the game wouldn’t affect gameplay in any way and that Stalker 2 wouldn’t become a “blockchain-based game.” An additional statement on Twitter followed yesterday, clarifying that the in-game representations of players who owned NFTs wouldn’t disrupt the players.

Screengrab via @stalker_thegame

“Why did we choose NFT?” the statement from the official Stalker 2 Twitter account says. “It’s a new technology, and we are eager to ‘do NFT right’: Give certain fans an opportunity ‘to get into’ the game without interfering with other players’ experience.” The statement went on to say that the tokens would be entirely optional and have no impact on the story or gameplay.

GSC’s tweet gave extensive and detailed reasoning behind the choice to incorporate NFT technology into the game. But it was almost immediately deleted and replaced by a shorter statement, where the developers communicated that all NFT plans for Stalker 2 had been canceled.

Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford chimed in about the failed NFT attempt for Stalker 2 in a tweet where he pointed out that the developers don’t need NFT technology to have fans’ faces etched into the game and that there are other ways to achieve this. Player representation in-game has been, for example, an important element in Kickstarter reward campaigns for several years.

Hey bro – you don’t need NFT’s or blockchain to pre-sell unique customized stuff in your game. I’m not into that sort of thing because it’s, like, kind of a shittier version of ad placement. But it’s been done for years and you don’t need NFT’s to do it. Anyway – Love your work!

— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) December 16, 2021

GSC claimed in its latest statement that its decision to back off on NFT plans had been made based on the feedback it received. For now, it seems like this is the company’s final decision. “The interests of our fans and players are the top priority for our team,” GSC’s statement reads. “We’re making the game for you to enjoy, whatever the cost is.”

Stalker 2 is set to be released on April 28, 2022.