Official: Call Of Pripyat

By Jim Rossignol on May 1st, 2009 at 7:50 am.


We’ve known about this for a while, but the official announcement has only just turned up. The third Stalker game is due for release this Autumn, and covers the events immediately following the end of Shadow Of Chernobyl. “Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military “Fairway” operation aimed to take the CNPP under control.” Needs to say, things go awry. It falls to the player, as a Ukrainian security agent, to figure out what went wrong. Full details after the jump.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat announced
30 April 2009

GSC Game World is glad to announce a new project in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series – S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (working title) for PC.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat will become a third stand-alone game in the highly-acclaimed Survival FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. The project is slanted for release in autumn 2009.

The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military “Fairway” operation aimed to take the CNPP under control.

According to the operation’s plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched.

Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine’s Security Service send their agent into the Zone center. From now on everything depends on the player.

Key game features:

* Photorealistic exclusion Zone – Pripyat town, Yanov railway station, Jupiter factory, Kopachi village and more, recreated by their true-to-life prototypes.
* New story, a number of unique characters.
* Extended system of side quests.
* New monsters: Chimera and Burer. New behaviour and abilities for all monsters.
* New A-Life system, created using the players’ best-liked elements of the first two games in series.
* Emissions considerably influence the world of the Zone.
* Sleep function added into the game.
* New player’s interface.
* Possibility to continue the game after completion in a freeplay mode.
* The game is developed on X-Ray engine v.1.6

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69 Comments »

  1. Psychopomp says:

    Let’s hope they bring back the horror bits…

  2. chequers says:

    great! I’ve been playing the original since it was mentioned in the last podcast, so far it’s been seriously impressive.

  3. Mithrandir0x says:

    At least, I hope they have a good Quality Assurance team. I don’t want to spend 40€ to find out a game as buggy as hell that brokes entirely my save games, like the last one.

  4. Pavel says:

    I have CS installed and patched to 1.5.09 and ready to be played…but I never seem to get to it.But this is great, there is never enough Stalker.I just hope it will not require another bunch of patches before being playable.

  5. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    Oh, the ecstasy! I really like the Stalker games. Even Clear Sky. The secret is to buy them a few months after release, so that all the important patches are out already.
    (Yes, that’s a bit sad. But it works.)

  6. a rob amongst many says:

    Avant-garde helicopters? The zone does strange things.

  7. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    a rob amongst many: They’re expressionist. See, Eastern Europe has picked up on our carping about more art in games! Love em!
    Actually, if we’re going to nitpick, where are the women? I’m torn between wanting to see a couple of tough female Stalkers (or mechanics, or whatever) and fearing that they’d be the usual immersion-breaking pinups. Sigh.

  8. Lack_26 says:

    ‘Emissions considerably influence the world of the Zone’

    Erm, what? Well, I guess I should avoid the baked beans.

    Also, yey.

  9. tigger says:

    yesyesyesyesyes

    *ahem*

    I will be buying this on launch, as i did with clear sky: the bugs aren’t a big enough barrier to keep me from the uninhibited AWESOME that is stalker.

    horrible name though…

  10. l1ddl3monkey says:

    New monsters? Not if you played pretty much any of the mods (y’know – the ones that fix all the stuff that GSC cant be arsed to fix themselves). Having said that: I LOVE STALKER! More STALKER is always good.

  11. FunkyB says:

    I really like the idea of Stalker and I bought the first one. I tried *three* different operating systems (I triple boot my machine) and on every one there was a totally different game-breaking bug. No audio attenuation (dogs from miles away sound like they’re chowing down on your rear) to buggered up shadows to conversations randomly skipping through sections.

    Stalker was a nice idea but a complete waste of money, a buggy unplayable mess. One day I might download the latest patch and see if it works again, but I’m not holding out much hope.

  12. Heliocentric says:

    I can’t seem to play these stalker games as fast as they can develop them. Lets hope they learn from their mistakes and observe the things done in mods.

    But yes, i’m glad this is coming, hope the call of prefix earns them extra sales now ifinity ward don’t use it.

  13. stormbringer951 says:

    @ Clockwork Harlequin: You mean mods, right?

    Also, this is just an official endorsement of Priboi Story :D. Now if they’d just follow the hint and help dez0wave make the proper Lost Alpha mod (restores the original Oblivion Lost game).

  14. James T says:

    “I knew that a sixty-foot telephone handset would never work as a rotorblade! And who suggested that the love-twitters of the beluga whale would be an adequate replacement for stabilisers?”
    “Oh shuh-ZAM! Sorry Corporal!”
    “Pyyyyle!” (Pilenko?)

    Erm, what? Well, I guess I should avoid the baked beans.

    And the naughty magazines.

    The faction wars being broken was the great big unavoidable sticking point in Clear Sky; apart from that (and the ho-hum story), I liked it nearly as much as SHOC, moreso in a few respects. If they’re not shooting for something they’re completely incapable of implementing, this could be a good lark. And I thought I’d lost interest, eh?…

    A less half-arsed (more whole-arsed?) narrative would help too tho’.

  15. Gap Gen says:

    They should have named this after the Duty faction rather than Pripyat itself.

    (Old?)

  16. Ian says:

    @ Helio: Well I’ve played about three hours of the first one. Are you at least ahead of me? :-P

  17. danielcardigan says:

    Mithrandir0x says:”At least, I hope they have a good Quality Assurance team. I don’t want to spend 40€ to find out a game as buggy as hell that brokes entirely my save games, like the last one.”

    I’m a big fan of the STALKER games but I can’t help but think they’re barreling on to the next project before they fully fix the previous one, and leaving it to the modders to pick up the slack. I still haven’t finished CS because the factions were hopelessly bugged last time I looked.

  18. PC Monster says:

    I’m currently playing SoC with the Oblivion Lost mod (+Better Weather mod) and have fallen completely in love with the game all over again. I think it’s as close to a realistic, persistent world as you can get without being an MMO. I’ve even just talked a friend into buying SoC, purely by not being able to shut up about how good it is.

    Call of Pripyat seems to be officially including some of the features the OL mod introduced – Burers, Sleep, etc – which is no bad thing, if implemented properly. Happily, Pripyat in SoC is my favourite location EVER. Creeping about in all those abandoned buildings is the quintessential Stalker/Radioactive disaster experience for me, thanks to years of watching actual reports from the region on Tomorrow’s World growing up. I don’t need to hear any more: this is already at Must Have status. Bring it on!

  19. David says:

    Call of Pripyat? I hope that’s a big fat Lovecraft reference.

  20. Muzman says:

    Oblivion Lost is not the king of the mods. AMK is the king of the mods! OL is AMK with extra useless stufffffffngngngngnngg

    Sorry. I don’t know what it is, I think somone planted a chip in me while I slept one night or something like that.

    Anyway, I’d love more waterways and water stuff in the Zone. Swamps was just great and there’s a big river that runs through the real place. They’re probably a bit wary of how to handle swimming if it gets deep enough but the scenic aspect makes it a must have for mine.
    ’bout time they put sleep in. Seemed like a no brainer for Clear Sky “We’ll make the nights more realistic and dark. Everyone likes that enough to mod it in” “Yeah great guys, but what are we supposed to do at night now? Going out during the day is dicey enough at the early stages”.

    Following the fans too closely mightn’t be a good idea, as much as I’d enjoy it. Average gamers already tend to report that vanilla Shadow of Chernobyl was too damn hard as it was.
    Looking forward to Jim’s dissertation on the niche that Stalker fills.

  21. wibble says:

    I hope they include the repair options or something like it from the various mods…

  22. Jim Rossignol says:

    You can repair stuff in Clear Sky – the upgrade dudes do it for you.

  23. Heliocentric says:

    Ian. I’ve played it for lots of time, but not distance. I keep finding missions semi-impossible to complete due to fetch quests leading me to nothing and wandering about looking for artifacts.

    But story wise i’ve only just reached duty town and freedom town.

  24. Demon Beaver says:

    “Call of Pripyat”? They’re not trying very hard to hide where their inspiration comes from, do they?

  25. Larington says:

    Hmm, the turn-around on new game releases is WAY too high, no wonder these games are coming out as buggy messes.

    Will someone PLEASE think of the gamers!

    (More polished releases plskthxbye)

    Even the press release lacks a certain polish, the game is slanted for release instead of slated, and the helicopters seem to be an art installation instead of an advanced guard, or vanguard or whichever phrase they were aiming for.

  26. DigitalSignalX says:

    I read somewhere (can’t find source to cite) that this was green lit after some DLC/Expansions were already in progress and then scrapped. The “surviving” developers get to work on it.

    Mixed blessing perhaps, we won’t get new content/fixes for already relatively robust software but instead will get an entirely new title…. along with their track record of unusually poor release performance being eventually patched (or modded) into a decent state.

    I *love* Stalker, but am almost sad that we have really yet to see even clear sky reach 100% stability before a new release.

  27. catska says:

    Lets hope this is actually playable out of the box unlike the original and clear skies. PC Gamers tout mod support like its some holy grail, but here is the byproduct: Games that require usermade mods to be even playable, let alone fun.

  28. RealHorrorshow says:

    After Clusterfuck Sky, I can’t even be enthusiastic about this news. So sad, since I used to be such a huge fan. Let’s hope they actually finish this game and, if they dare, have production values superior to a mod.

  29. Doctor Doc says:

    The graphics is really starting to look aged but at least we can count on GSC to make every new game require a new machine to run well no matter how it looks.

  30. Fenchurch says:

    What is this AMK mod you speak of? There seem to be so many different Russian mods knocking about; auto translate still gives me a funny picture!

    Is there anything honestly better than the OL mod? Because I thought that was just spiffy, made me replay a section of the game…

    Well, up to Pripyat, because the game sucked hard at that point.

  31. PC Monster says:

    @Fenchurch/Muzman

    AMK and OL seem to be the big two Mods for SoC, combining lots of little mods into big installable packages, and from what I can see they contain broadly similar modifications:

    AMK = http://www.amk-team.ru/forum/index.php?showtopic=480
    Oblivion Lost = http://stalker.filefront.com/file/Oblivion_Lost_22_for_1005;93039

    I haven’t tried AMK myself but see no need now as OL is just wonderful.

  32. Muzman says:

    Yeah they’re pretty similar sorts of things and AMK is often quite tough to find (particularly compared to OL which everyone and his dog knows about). AMK is the more refined/sensibly restrained of the two. OLs endless lists of …stuff eventually swamps the game.
    I’ve heard more recent versions of OL tone it down a bit, but that’d just make it more like AMK was in the first place.

  33. SirKicksalot says:

    I’d rather have a dozen unpolished Stalker games than 6 polished.

  34. Rook says:

    I’d rather have one that worked.

  35. Cooper says:

    @Larington:
    avant-garde was correct military terminology for vanguard, but it got hijacked by English speaking art critics as poncey terminology. A bit of a translation fudge, sure, but not entirely inaccurate.

    On another note, yet another GSC game in the Zone means I can probably convince my supervisors that it’s worth arranging a meeting with these guys whilst I’m out in the Ukraine – w00t etc.

  36. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    @stormbringer951: Patches, actually. I bought Clear Sky a couple of months late so as to be able to play it with a decent patch (the first patches were fixing huge problems but also breaking savegames). Played through it, then played through again modded.

    Cooper: I didn’t know that. This is proof positive that gaming DOES make me smarter!

  37. damien says:

    i’m glad i’m not the only one who thought of priboi story when reading this press release. i love the stalker series, and SoC modded is one of the most sublime gaming experiences i’ve had, but this news leaves me pretty cold.

    “* Sleep function added into the game.”

    the sleep and dreaming function has never been out of a stalker game, its been in the code for both SoC and clear sky.

    i just get the feeling that this is setting itself up to be another clear sky; basically a hackneyed reworking of what the modding community has already done to SoC, but with engine changes built with the SDK (that GSC has promised to release for two years) to distinguish it from its predecessors.

    all conveniently packaged as a “separate game” and priced to move at $40.

    the gameplay and immersion potential GSC hinted at in SoC really deserves better than what is amounting to another full game priced DLC package with some UI and DX9/10 tweaks.

  38. suibhne says:

    I’ve enjoyed Clear Sky a lot, now that I’m playing it after multiple patches from GSC, but this new one better have almost all new locations or I’ll eat my cats tail-first. Please won’t someone think of the cats!

  39. Diziet Sma says:

    @a rob amongst many

    It’s just another way of saying advance troops.

  40. Lucas says:

    I don’t know whether to yearn or cringe. I really love Stalker SHOC even with its shortcomings, and the very long development period (6+ years) really shows.

    Clear Sky had a great artifact hunting variant and equipment upgrading, but was seriously half baked and increasingly disappointing to play, and was out only 18 months after SHOC.

    Call of Pripyat is now due 12 months after Clear Sky launched. It will probably be better than CS, but we’ve been here twice already. Is a third trip really worthwhile?

    I would much rather wait another 6 years for Stalker 2 and have a whole new zone (Roadside Picnic anyone?) than to see Stalker become an annual rehash series.

  41. EBass says:

    I’m really not sure whether to rejoice or weep at this news. Whilst more Stalker can only be awesome, I’d much rather GSC actually tried to make a real follow up to Stalker, rather than the glorified mods were getting.

  42. RealHorrorshow says:

    I actually think SoC may have been a complete fluke. I wouldn’t be upset if a competant developer bought the rights to STALKER. It seems to me that former Soviet republics are almost incapable of making polished, optimized, stable, well-presented games like developers west of Poland can.

    Extremely polished games like Far Cry 2 (even with its gameplay faults) have spoiled me, and now it’s hard to wade through raw sewage in games like Clear Sky just to reach the good stuff.

  43. erasmus says:

    You know, I wouldn’t mind rehash at all if they WERE expansions in the company-of-heroes-stand-alone-but-work-together kind of sense. I think the Zone lends itself well to that kind of modular storytelling, and clearly they are already on the same track.

    After all, clear sky was basically just a refinement of SoC – applied to some random guy and and even worse story instead of the real thing.

  44. SirKicksalot says:

    Look, this game takes place in a different part of the Zone.

    There are three outdoor maps, each roughly 4 times bigger than the maps of SoC, and two underground locations.

    The outdoor maps were compard to what you see in the Gothic games in terms of content, no more endless empty fields…

    At least one of the areas was cut from Clear Sky, Pripyat undergrounds, which was supposed to be after the Hospital.

  45. Jim Rossignol says:

    The Far Cry 2 vs Stalker comparison is an interesting one. FC2 was a wonderfully solid, technically proficient game, but it was a far less interesting experience than SOC. I didn’t get the feeling that Ubi knew why open worlds are interesting when they made FC2, but the SOC team definitely did.

    That said, Clear Sky seemed to lose the thread again on the open world stuff, and I’m a little sceptical about GSC getting it back from this new title. As Mr Horrorshow suggests, it could well have been a fluke. Or, more accurately, an unrepeatable confluence of events. Who knows, perhaps all those experience producers from THQ actually did make SOC a little more intense, and a little more playable.

    If GSC can get the atmosphere right – and not fall into the FC2/Clear Sky trap of making the game about CONSTANT UNRELENTING GUNPLAY – then Call Of Pripyat might just reclaim the crown.

    They’re clearly taking some cues from modders: being able to sleep etc. But will they remove ridiculous NPC grenade use? Or the annoying and arbitrary wire fences? Or include an all-Russian-with-subtitles option a la Witcher EE?

  46. Erlam says:

    I actually did a little happy dance at the news. I cant think of anything I’d rather play than more, new STALKER.

    <3

  47. Fumarole says:

    “Immersion-breaking pinups” sounds slightly naughty.

    Is Clear Sky worth picking up now? I played through Shadow of Chernobyl several times but never got around to Clear Sky for some reason

  48. Real Horrorshow says:

    @ Jim – I totally forgot about the THQ thing. I remember you suggesting that before and people were jumping on you, but now it seems pretty plausible that THQ’s QA had more than just a subtle influence on how SoC turned out. If CoP turns out to be another broken failure, then it’s almost certain. Unfortunately I think it will turn out that way, though. The turn-around is so quick that it can’t be anything but CS code with new maps and two new check boxes in the graphics options, and I highly doubt they’ve completely revolutionized their ideas since CS.

    With the military take-over thing it sounds like just more mindless “take over these control points and move on to the next map” action.

  49. damien says:

    @ Jim Rossignol:

    “I didn’t get the feeling that Ubi knew why open worlds are interesting when they made FC2, but the SOC team definitely did.”

    well put. i’d take it a step further and agree that GSC understood what they wanted (and why) from the building of an open game-world, but its my opinion that GSC have never been confident enough in the full scope of those ideas to ship a title that delivers them.

    as an example, the ability for the player to sleep was always in SoC, it was just turned off before the game shipped (even the script hooks for FMV dream sequences were all left in the original gold code). it was just another realism feature (like how the importance of eating was removed from clear sky) that was removed so as not to confuse or overburden the player before going gold.

    in almost every way, GSC’s initial instincts regarding SoC and how it should have played / did play in testing were correct. its GSC’s long series of second guesses since then – their attempts at forcing run + gun style gameplay. increased dependence on a framework of “storyline” questing to shield the player from experiencing as random / dynamic a game as the x-ray engine can produce.

    to sum it all up, i just want GSC to take a step back from run + gun and deliver on the dynamic game-world that SoC hinted at: when you’re armed with a broken gun, low on ammo, hiding in an attic and wondering if you’ll survive until morning, long enough to sell your loot and buy enough equipment for a deeper trip into the zone next time… in those moments the stalker games shine and deliver a player experience truly unique and compelling.

    its in those moments that stalker is at home in its skin, so to speak. i just think that its those moments GSC should focus on building on.

    (i didn’t mind clear sky’s grenade spam, but i hated it’s use of cheap shot “homing grenade” physics for that grenade spam.)

  50. Muzman says:

    After SoC came out (might have been before) a large segment of the staff left to make a new company. Many of them quite significant folks, from what I gather. I like to think they were the ones who would have steered things away from Clear Sky’s over scripted plot clunkiness (eg the Yantar bit is a pointless tie-in that makes the scientists look like complete idiots in SoC. What they just forgot Yantar factory might be important?).
    It’s reading too much into it for sure, but the impression I get from Clear Sky is new people coming to grips with someone elses world.
    What is really remarkable, and lets the rehashing in sequels and add-ons off the hook to some extent for me, is most of the good things in mods is just people turning on stuff that was already there. Looking at the beta as well gives the impression that these guys were on the right track and were going for everything and the kitchen sink. The mods also make it clear that balancing all that stuff would not have been easy and sifting through all those mods is a sort of ‘Make your own Stalker’ experience (even if you don’t quite have access to all the maps. But people are trying to mod them back in as well).
    So the rehashing isn’t as though they are incorporating mod ideas, but that modding has been largely testing their stuff in a round about way. So it’s not so bad in that respect. The main problem I find is that they put this stuff back (like blowouts) and if you play mods you’re just like “Seen it”.

    edit: damien got in before me a bit there. I wish they had stuck to their guns with a lot of the options. But I see the problem as well; so many players report it as being too hard or too complex or too open (when it first came out there were people complaining about getting odd missions all the time and how did the game expect you to do them? etc Well obviously the game doesn’t expect you to! You’re supposed to choose.
    I think some times that if this came out a few year earlier it would have caught the wave a little better. I can remember expecting Half Life 2 to be an open ended, dynamic world sort of game. It just seemed like where the FPS had to go, no matter what you were making. Of course, it wasn’t. Just a few years later the climate is completely different in what sorts of games people play and what they expect from them. It’s easy to see how they (GSC) could get cold feet.

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