Customers are reportedly receiving emails from Xbox explaining that their orders have been refunded because the game's release date has been postponed to an "unconfirmed date in the future." The pre-order option for the game has also disappeared from the Microsoft Store.
That delay is the result of instability caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, where development studio GSC Game World is based. The studio has since had to relocate from Kiev to the Czech Republic, but not all of its staff have left Ukraine. Some continue to work from their home country, while others have joined volunteer efforts of the Ukrainian army, per a development update video the studio released in June.
"STALKER 2 is the biggest project in the history of GSC, and it requires thorough testing and polishing," the studio said when it delayed the game from April to December. We are convinced that development should take as long as necessary, especially in the case of such a project. This decision is not an easy one, but we are doing the best possible to deliver you a game that can live up to expectations."
Since the delay to December, GSC has pushed the release date to 2023. Neither Microsoft nor GSC Game World has yet publicly commented on the refunds or the potential of an even longer delay.