Get Out Of Here: GSC Closure “Confirmed”

By Jim Rossignol on December 9th, 2011 at 6:50 pm.

Noooo.
LATEST UPDATE: GSC’s twitter this morning announced there will be an official statement on Monday.

1c Ukraine’s Sergey Galenkin has blogged about the closure of GSC. He states: “GSC is closed, a fact confirmed by all. The team is almost completely dissolved, the state has only a few people.” Galenkin blames the cost of developing a PC only shooter for a European audience, and a failed console publishing deal, for the collapse of the developer.

The rest of the story, as it happened, below.

FOURTH UPDATE: GSC’s social media manager announces he is looking for a new job here.

THIRD UPDATE: GSC have got back to me with “Sorry, no comments at this point.” That does not sound promising.

SECOND UPDATE: The denial tweet has now been deleted. Hmm. Still trying to get confirmation on this, but it’s looking like GSC is down. Dmitri Bourkovski (apparently not a GSC employee) has just tweeted “Not PR. GSC closed.”

FIRST UPDATE: GSC deny the report on their twitter here. We’ve contacted them for a comment.

ORIGINAL: According to this report from Ukrainian news site UkraNews, GSC has been shut down by owner Sergei Grigorovich. The closure was apparently announced to the workforce earlier today. The autotranslation is messy, so if anyone can explain the sixth paragraph – which tries to speculate on what was going on – accurately, that would be great.

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269 Comments »

  1. Recidivist says:

    Please no. Please.

    • Commisar says:

      yet another example of the viability of a PC only developer… oh wait, maybe the 5 year dev cycle had something to do with it.

    • wu wei says:

      Weren’t they also trying to produce a STALKER TV show, with GSC footing the bill for its development?

      Something like that would’ve had to have had a huge impact on their resourcing for the games themselves.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      Too many of these development studios ride on the razor’s edge, with very little long-distance perspective for their survival. It’s sad, but this sort of thing is completely unsurprising. It also has nothing to do with the PC market they blame it on – AAA devs for consols fold all the time too.

  2. spcd says:

    This cant be happening?

  3. The Army of None says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  4. Freud says:

    There is no money in games where you don’t have follow-arrows. Everyone knows that.

  5. TomxJ says:

    If this is true, i’m gutted,

    I thought stalker was doing really well, they had a clothing line and a bunch of novels last time i checked.

  6. Teronfel says:

    Is this a joke?

  7. Galaxy613 says:

    There’s no money in Russia-focused games, they just pirate everything anyways right?… right? :P

  8. The Pink Ninja says:

    I wonder how they feel about Stalker in the Ukraine. Is it a big deal for them to have made such a big, popular, well recieved game?

  9. Baka says:

    There’s a krautchan thread that gave that rumour the fuel it needed to burn so fast.
    A LOT of up to now unreleased concept art mixed with “GSC closed, all employers fired.” messages.

    As typical for a *chan, some of the responses are extremely NSFW and offensive, but if you’re interested in the cool armor concepts etc here you go: http://krautchan.net/int/thread-8618442.html

  10. DragonTHC says:

    Sergei Grigorovich, founder and CEO of the largest developer of computer games in Eastern Europe – Kiev company GSC Game World – decided to close the company.

    On this to Ukrainian News reported an informed source.

    According to him, today, December 9, Grigorovich announced the closure of the company at a meeting of the workforce.

    He explained his decision to personal reasons, without specifying them.

    Employees were promised that they owed wages to be paid prior to February 2012. According to sources, the company employs about 40-50 people.

    Interlocutor of the agency said that part of the personnel of the company with close ties discontent Grigorovich the progress of development of STALKER 2, and some – with an interest in the company from one of the security forces, which began, according to the interlocutor, for about two months ago.

    The source stressed that the above reasons – this is only speculation and version.

    The company GSC Game World is working in the computer games industry since 1995. She has released more than a dozen of its own gaming projects, including “The Cossacks”, “STALKER”, “The Conquest of America”, “Heroes of Annihilated Empires.” The first two have become blockbuster, and even places of worship in the Ukrainian community of gamers.

    Grigorovich became an entrepreneur in 2010 in Ukraine, according to the company Ernst & Young.

  11. Real Horrorshow says:

    It’s a bit harsh but I kind of wish they’d close down so someone competent would snatch up the Stalker IP. Perhaps THQ so the Metro 2033 guys (who were supposedly responsible for SoC, the good Stalker game) can try it.

  12. UnravThreads says:

    The tweet mentioned as an updated bit of information has been deleted, so…

  13. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    That tweet has been removed…

  14. Hensler says:

    I was under the impression that STALKER and it’s pseudo-sequels were pretty big hits. That makes this news, which appears to be true, even more sad. It’s one thing to see an underperforming studio shut down, but one that really delivers getting killed off isn’t something you hear about it too often.

    With it’s troubled development cycle, I’d imagine the first STALKER game wasn’t super profitable, even after selling a lot of copies, but the licensing/merchandising and sequels using the same technology must have helped recoup some costs. *sigh*

    • Jumwa says:

      The game being a big hit doesn’t mean the makers of the game really benefited from that, and perhaps the worlds middlemen soaked up too much of the profits to make it worth it or viable for them.

      But regardless, if this is so, then I’m terribly disappointed. What a great game series. ) :

    • Mistabashi says:

      Sergei Grigorovich certainly did very well out of it, making it onto Ukraine’s rich list and winning a prize for “entrepreneur of the year” in 2006. The vast majority of people who worked on the game though were apparently payed peanuts even by local standards

    • Urthman says:

      On the other hand, with the vague hint about attention from some government agency, maybe they were making too much money?

  15. Fwiffo says:

    Well, this is turning out to be my biggest gaming related moment of terror since first loading up Brink.

  16. Teronfel says:

    So,what happens now,will we ever play Stalker 2?

  17. Icarus says:

    Wow. That’s pretty damn sudden- I was under the impression that STALKER was a pretty damn big deal. Wasn’t there a TV show/movie deal in the works?

  18. mr.ioes says:

    Uhm that would mean, no Stalker 2, right?

    edit: Which would be a terrible terrible happening ;(

  19. Nemrod says:

    If this is true, then I’ll want to die.

    I’d rather play a beautiful Stalker 2 with co-op.

    I’d rather not kill myself you see.

  20. Okami says:

    sadface

  21. gimperial says:

    6th paragraph says: employees are speculating that the closure is due to either Grigorovich being unhappy with the way the development of STALKER 2 is going, or due to an interest being shown towards the company by a certain (doesn’t say which) law enforcement agency for the past 2 months.

    Sounds like par for the course corruption stuff..

    • timmyvos says:

      The FSB is investigating them? That can’t be good.

    • gimperial says:

      It won’t be the FSB, who are Russian, as GSC are based in Kiev. But in either country, you can’t be successful without having to pay a whole bunch of bribes.

    • zontax says:

      got this from 4chan’s /v/

      Slavbro here.
      Ahh yes, the
      >Ukrainian law enforcement

      Considering the buttload of money they did, sounds like come fat fish wanted a cut of the cake and sent its cronies to milk or shut down GSC. Officially it will be like anon said, suspicious activity interested in undermining the “legit” government. This is how it always works in those post-soviet republics like Ukraine, Belarus, all the -stans. Such is the life outside of the Zone.

    • microcystin says:

      That’s the same way it works in western countries they just call it “regulatory fees” or “taxes”.

  22. lhzr says:

    this must be the worst news i’ve heard this year. screw you rps, i’ll never come here again.

  23. Keirley says:

    Well, my day is ruined.

    I can only hope, assuming all this is true, and once the dust settles, that a good number of the staff manage to come together and form a new studio rather than spread out across the games industry and lose the special vision that made the Stalker series so great.

  24. googoogjoob says:

    how can the ceo of a company singlehandedly shut the whole thing down for personal reasons? does ukraine have different rules about this stuff?

    • Unaco says:

      Because it’s a Private Company, which Sergei Grigorovich owns and runs? Ultimately, he can do as he wishes with it, within reason.

    • googoogjoob says:

      man it just seems weird that one person would own a controlling share of the whole company

      but then maybe that’s related to the economic situation in ukraine?

    • Unaco says:

      Not specifically… I think it’s owned and ran by one man, because he founded it, he owns it, and he runs it by himself.

    • googoogjoob says:

      i dunno i just sort of expected that since stalker has been so successful with all the merchandise and spinoffs etc that they’d have investors interested in the company who’d have bought into it

    • Brun says:

      No I imagine there are plenty of small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. that operate on the same principle. Unless your business is publicly traded, or has multiple owners, or you’ve sold shares to private investors, you are the sole owner of the company. As such you’re free to do with it what you will.

      Investors would only invest in the company if he allowed them to, and even then if he held the majority share (i.e. enough shares to overrule all of the other investors combined) he could still close the company down.

    • Unaco says:

      It’s a Privately held company… Not publicly traded.

    • googoogjoob says:

      you’re probably right i’m just dum

      still tragic though i love stalker

    • CMaster says:

      It’s possible to have investors and the like in a privately held company too. However, if you’re already doing well without investors, there’s no reason to take them on.

    • Unaco says:

      Shareholders are possible for a Private company, yes. But they are usually limited in how much they can invest, and the number of them permitted for a single company. Don’t know specifics for Ukraine.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Why can’t he move to the UK? Or Canada, for the huge tax breaks? Please! We need more Stalker.

    • zontax says:

      It’s just like valve which is also a private company.

  25. boywithumbrella says:

    The autotranslation is messy, so if anyone can explain the sixth paragraph

    The sixth paragraph basically says there are two versions as to why the company is closing (both unconfirmed apart from an “inside source”):
    v1 – Grigorovich wasn’t satisfied with the progress of development of STALKER 2
    v2 – some “power structure” [euphemism for government agencies - bwu] took interest in GSC about two months ago.
    [such "interest" is generally detrimental to usual business]

    edit: seems like gimperial was faster =)

  26. Voon says:

    It’s just a joke, right guys?

    …..Right?

  27. Valdyr says:

    MARKED ONE, WUT DA HEEEEEEEEEEEELL

  28. Abundant_Suede says:

    I used to be a Stalker, but then I took…

    eh, my heart’s not in it.

  29. applecup says:

    Oh man. :(

  30. wodin says:

    Russian Mafia…betcha…

  31. Prime says:

    Holy shit. Now I hope the world does sodding end next year: a future without more Stalker games looks as bleak as The Zone. :(

  32. LTK says:

    Oh no no no no no, please no.

  33. Hoaxfish says:

    erm… which of those updates is the “current status” of this story?

    Blowout soon

  34. Sigh says:

    I find it a sad commentary how many people write definitive statements like “Confirmed”, “Denied”, “True” and then link to a Tweet or some other ephemeral item. Very Bradburyesque.

  35. oceanclub says:

    So disappointing if true. I’ve only finished the original game (CoP is on my hard drive, awaiting me) but it had one of the most incredible atmosphere of any game I’ve played. Heck, it’s so tense, you’re _relieved_ when you stumble upon a camp full of fascists.

    P.

  36. tomeoftom says:

    I am so, so, sad right now. I can’t believe this is actually making me emotional but Stalker seems like a place games will never go to again, and a lesson no-one else will learn. A beautiful, beautiful game. Assuming this is more than rumour, I feel so bad for the GSC staff right now.

  37. magnus says:

    Please, please , please, don’t let this be true! :(

  38. Jason Moyer says:

    I love all 3 STALKER games (even the ugly middle child), but if all they were going to do is keep making sequels then I can’t say I’ll miss them that much. Of course, I hate to think of all of the talented people who are losing jobs doing what they love.

    • fitzroy_doll says:

      The middle child has the best mods.

      I think I speak for many when I say that sequels would have been just fine thank you. All I really wanted was to go to the Zone, just to be in it. In this way, it was true to the Tarkovskiy/Strugatskiy vision in spirit if not in content.

    • the licensee says:

      “All I really wanted was to go to the Zone, just to be in it. In this way, it was true to the Tarkovskiy/Strugatskiy vision in spirit if not in content.”

      Amen brother.

    • John P says:

      What the hell man. Activision can excrete 87 iterations of Call of Duty and make billions of dollars, but you’re intolerant of an innovative company making 3 extraordinary, beautiful games, the likes of which we may never see again? I’m sure you’re no big fan of CoD, but Jesus. If anyone deserves to make some cash from sequels, it’s GSC. Whenever I finish a Stalker game, I always think ‘I want to play more Stalker’.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The 3 STALKER games are in my top 100 games of all time (which is about the total number of games I keep permanently installed on my PC regardless of what I’m playing). I absolutely love them to death, and barring anything being significantly wrong with STALKER 2 I would have bought that as well (most of what I had heard about it is that it was going to be a console game with all that brings, but now we’ll never know).

      Of they had made more STALKER games, would those games add anything to what we already have? Maybe I’m getting old, but my tolerance for “franchises” and neverending sequels is basically nonexistent. I can deal with the odd sequel or a trilogy, but do we need every good idea milked until it turns into CoD or Assassin’s Creed? Would Psychonauts be as memorable if we were on the fourth iteration of it?

      I want more games like STALKER, but I’m not sure I want a new STALKER game.

  39. outoffeelinsobad says:

    Merry Christmas.

  40. Velvetmeds says:

    nooooooooo

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

    I’m about to kill myself.

    If you want to prevent that, assure me this is not true >.<

  41. Mechorpheus says:

    According to this (annoyingly specific free) post on Eurogamer, GSC are confirmed to have gone…..

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-09-gsc-denies-stalker-2-cancelled-rumour

    This is a big loss to the industry, although I have to be honest in that I never really got on with STALKER beyond Shadow of Chernobyl, that being the only one I ever came close to finishing. Clear-Sky I never really got into at all, and Call of Prypiat just felt structureless, and too many times I’d get an objective marker telling me to go somewhere only to be totally unable to figure out how the hell to get to it, that is if quests even bothered to give markers at all.

    • domowoj says:

      Bourkovski doesn’t work for GSC and everybody’s citing the same sources. until Sergey Grigorovich or Oleg Yavorsky themselves come out and say “hey GSC’s closed” everything is rumors.

    • westyfield says:

      There’s at least one mission in CoP where you’re told to go somewhere, and you’re advised to go and ask someone how to get there. That’s not advice, it’s a command. If you don’t ask, you won’t find out in a hundred hours of playing, because the solution is the last thing you’d think to do.

    • John P says:

      Call of Prypiat just felt structureless, and too many times I’d get an objective marker telling me to go somewhere only to be totally unable to figure out how the hell to get to it, that is if quests even bothered to give markers at all.

      How is this a bad thing. If you only want to play games that have a arrow hovering on screen telling you where to go, and a blue line railroading you to your next objective, there are plenty of games that cater to you.

      GSC was one of the few companies still making shooters for thinking adults.

    • Muzman says:

      Yes, there are few quest markers aside from the main mission in COP because you have a map and are assumed to have a brain.

  42. Paul says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

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