Revealed at the Xbox-Bethesda showcase in 2021, Replaced (opens in new tab) is a 2.5D cyberpunk action-platformer set in an alt-history 1980s US, a nation plagued by corruption, greed, and a general collapse of society in the wake of a catastrophic nuclear event. As an artificial intelligence imprisoned in a human body, players must explore the region of Phoenix-City and learn to adjust to human life, while "beginning to understand that everything comes at a price."
I dig the concept and the announcement trailer released last year (embedded above) is a real eye-grabber. Unfortunately, it's going to be a longer-than-expected wait before I (and you) get to play it. Publisher Coatsink said today that because of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, it's been forced to delay the release from 2022 to 2023.
"The Belarusian-based studio working on the game, Sad Cat Studios, has a team of talented developers from Belarus and Ukraine," the delay message says. "Unfortunately, the continued war in Ukraine has heavily impacted the development of Replaced, as most of the team resides in the neighboring regions.
"The priority for Sad Cat was for the safety of the team and their families. As a result, part of the team has now relocated and work has only recently restarted on Replaced."
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Coatsink and Sad Cat are "prioritizing both the physical and mental health of the developers by not forcing the original deadlines that have been unexpectedly impacted," and thus Replaced is now expected to be out in 2023.
Sad Cat is in a very unusual situation, because Belarus and Ukraine are actually on opposite sides of the war: Belarus, which borders Ukraine, is a Russian ally, and while it has so far managed to avoid becoming directly involved in the invasion, the nation has served as a staging ground for Russian forces. That's made Belarus a target for many of the same sanctions that have been imposed on Russia.
While the Belarusian government stands by Moscow, some of its citizens are very openly pro-Ukraine (opens in new tab). That includes Sad Cat, which expressed strong opposition to the invasion in a separate message posted in March.
"We condemn Russian aggression towards Ukraine as well as Belarusian government's involvement in that aggression. There is absolutely no excuse for war and suffering which is unfolding right now," the studio tweeted (opens in new tab).
"Our team has endured rallies against dictatorship in Belarus in 2020—one of us have been injured, one arrested. Now one of our own is caught amidst the chaos of war, defending his country, and we are incredibly proud to have such courageous people on our team."
More recently, Sad Cat said the process of relocation is "progressing at a slower pace," but that "the team is fairly safe (opens in new tab)."
Other Ukrainian studios impacted by the Russian invasion include Vostok Games, Frogwares, and GSC Game World, which announced earlier this week that development of Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl (opens in new tab) has resumed.