The Skies Clear for STALKER 2

By Alec Meer on January 13th, 2012 at 10:14 am.

The screenshot-based 'light in the darkness' metaphors will continue unabated

The Stalker team is extremely happy! Why? Because we are continuing work on Stalker 2 after the holidays.” That makes me extremely happy too. That’s the official line from GSC, although it’s not quite as simple as that. Speaking to Edge, the studio’s Oleg Yavorsky reveals that “We are still in the process of seeking funding to back up the project. We are hopeful things turn out well eventually.” Which still sounds pretty precarious, but given the situation last month was that the studio and the game were flat-out closing down, it’s still a good day for Stalker fans.

Let’s hope they find a funder in time. Anyone got a few million bucks to spare? Notch, are you reading this? Alternatively, have I got any long-lost billionaire uncles who’ve been waiting for an excuse to get in touch with me?

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73 Comments »

  1. Persus-9 says:

    Stalker 2 needs to have Creepers.

    Joking apart I really hope they manage to get the money together.

    • Gnoupi says:

      It already has worse. Much worse.

    • Persus-9 says:

      Yeah, that is why creepers would fit right in. Although I’d suggest some sort of very very slow recharging psychic blast rather than actually exploding since a suicide exploding really wouldn’t make much sense from a survival perspective for anything but a swarm animal like a bee.

    • westyfield says:

      Stalker doesn’t need creepers, but Minecraft could do with some bloodsuckers.

    • Quasar says:

      OH GOD THAT WOULD BE AWFUL PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS.

      I’ve lost enough sleep over those damn face tentacle things, not to mention the psychic dwarves.

    • sneetch says:

      @Persus-9
      Creepers as a swarm animal you say? Great idea!

      A creeper queen, creeper drones, creeper soldiers and, of course, creeper workers that can detonate themselves. Not the same phallic design, I hope, but a good enemy type.

    • Persus-9 says:

      Bloodsuckers in Minecraft would be awesome! So would anomalies for that matter. Why doesn’t Minecraft have anomalies? Has anyone made a Stalker mod for Minecraft yet and if not why not?

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Ha ha, good idea. Minecraft creepers are freaking scary, actually, because they don’t make any sound and you tend to realize their presence when they’re immobile, looking at you. I tried the 404 challenge several times, in which you have to go down a stream directly to the bottom of huge caves and can’t use torches (only lava/redstone for light), and those creepers wrecked my nerves. A monster with similar behavior in Stalker 2 would be awesome actually, Bloodsuckers are sneaky as well but are scary in a different way.

      @Persus-9 Awesome idea as well. I might take a look at that when the mod api comes out.

  2. B0GiE-uk- says:

    Needs a good multiplayer/co-op. :)

    • ZIGS says:

      No it doesn’t. It really doesn’t. At all. Now leave. Forever

    • DocSeuss says:

      @ZIGS: Hey now. STALKER has a MP mode already. Making it better isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I liked Stalkers multiplayer. It was a fun deathmatch game. Had lots of exploits, but that added to the Stalker vibe.

      Also, the sun rising and falling was very atmospheric and actually changed the gameplay up as the match went on.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      They should just skip the multiplayer entirely and focus on single-player: less effort and bugfixing spent on something barely anybody plays. This is especially true with the reduced team and funding the recent events will likely mean.

      This said, co-op *could* be interesting in freeplay mode – I don’t think it’s a very good idea for a Stalker campaign -, but there’s a high risk of ruining the feeling of solitude and athmosphere of the Zone.

  3. fitzroy_doll says:

    Someday we’ll sit around the campfire and laugh about all this.

  4. mandrill says:

    I still think they could make a fair amount of capital using something like kickstarter, I’m sure the kickstarter people wouldn’t be averse to having a AAA game developed using their funding system. Yes, I know, it’s not going to generate enough cash on its own but in cases like this every little helps, no?

    • Jac says:

      You took the suggestion right out of my mouth

    • Shuck says:

      “Yes, I know, it’s not going to generate enough cash on its own but in cases like this every little helps, no?”
      Not really. They’d blow through the cash pretty quickly and be in exactly the same place they are now without a backer actually able to put up the huge amounts of money needed to finish the game (assuming they have a publisher to cover the even bigger costs of publishing and marketing the game). And that’s assuming the funds came in time to keep the office open and before the developers all went off to other jobs, which is unlikely at this point. Also, how many people are going to be willing to simply give away money (because it would have to be a no-strings attached donation) to a company that most likely still won’t be able to finish the game?

    • Xerian says:

      You should also realise that Kickstarter isnt available outside the US… Yet. They’re currently working on it, but its no simple nor small feat.

  5. Driadan says:

    Wonder why they don’t ask for preorders, I believe that a 10-20$/€ would give them a nice start. And given they already have a fanbase, it could surpass their needs very quickly

    • stealthfighterx says:

      Amnesia got their funding by preorders, right? It might work for Stalker 2 too.

    • Dowson says:

      I agree, I’d more than happily preorder Stalker 2.

      They could throw in the soundtrack and art for people who do.

    • Lev Astov says:

      I came here to say exactly that. They’d get $30 from me right now. Heck, maybe even $50, but better not to push it for other people’s sake. STALKER was a very important game in my gaming career, so I’d happily shell out now to help them make another.

    • Shuck says:

      Leaving aside the issue that they’re a developer, not a publisher (and thus not equipped to even take pre-orders), I think they’d have to get unrealistically lucky to get enough pre-orders to cover their development costs, actually. A heavily marketed sequel that was close to release would be lucky to get 10% of their previous game’s sales in pre-orders made both directly and from multiple retail outlets. In this case it’s a game that wasn’t even announced, much less marketed, and pre-orders would have to be done only through the developer, so they’d be extremely fortunate to get pre-orders of even 5% of the sales of Stalker, which I believe were about 2 million. Most of those sales were in the C.I.S., where the game cost about half what it did elsewhere, so most of those $20 pre-orders would be more like $10. It’s unclear to me how far along Stalker 2 is, but I assume they’ve got years of development time left and remaining dev costs that are close to what they spent on the first game. If we add up the figures, it doesn’t look at all good.

    • Xerian says:

      Amnesia also got funding from one of the biggest nordic-game-dev-funding-thingies. Quite a decent amount, at that.

  6. Quasar says:

    I do have a long-lost billionaire uncle!

    Unfortunately, I lost him.

  7. zairekaboom says:

    I’ll probably win the lottery soon. I’m willing to use it for this project.

    • Maldomel says:

      In all seriousness, I played the lottery today. So you can’t win soon, because I will.

  8. klo3 says:

    Hmm. Heck i’d even be prepared to pay some 5-10€ as funding in advance just to see the game finished.

    Indies do it, why not bigger niche developers. I mean i sure wouldn´t support EA or Acti published games this way (rather not support them at all), but a developer as GSC? Sure!

    • Shuck says:

      I think the obvious answer to your question is: the “bigger niche” developers have costs that are thousands, even tens of thousands of times larger. Instead of supporting one developer for six months to a year to get a game out, you’d have to support 50+ developers with office space for three to five years, then, when the game is actually done, the additional game printing costs as well as $10+ million dollars for marketing, because you’re also acting as publisher.
      The likelihood that a studio game, once it has started production, will actually be released is less than 5%, so there’s the added legal issue of how do you deal with all the people who gave money if the game can’t be finished with the given funds? Pre-orders and kick-starter style fundraising doesn’t even begin to work at the scale of a studio game.

    • klo3 says:

      Stalker SoC sold 2 million copies and has a pretty fanatic fan base. If 5% of those who bought it would fund it for 5€ you’d get half a million euros. That ought to keep the studio running for half a year if what you said earlier is true about their salaries being a tenth of that of American studios (Obsidian burn rate 1 million USD / month). Then there’s the motivational support of fans willing to show their monetary support. Naturally if the game doesn’t get finished for financial reasons you’d lose your money. I’d be willing to pay.

      Just curious, where did you get the data that only 5% of studio games that enters production gets released?

    • Shuck says:

      @klo3: A sequel is lucky to get pre-orders that are 10% of previous games’ sales, and that’s with the game about to come out, heavy marketing, and the opportunity to pre-order through numerous retail outlets. I seriously doubt that you’d get 5% of even a devoted customer base to simply donate money directly to a developer with the caveat that there was no guarantee (or even likelihood) that the game would even be finished. And, as you say, it wouldn’t even begin to get the game finished.
      I forget where I read the “5% of games figure” (though the number they gave was actually around 4%), but I’d say, from personal experience, that it’s in the ballpark. I, and other game designers I know, have spent most of our careers working on projects that varied from quickly abandoned to essentially-finished-but-never-released. It’s like the film industry in that respect, though the film industry has a distinct pre-production phase that most films don’t move beyond.

  9. MuscleHorse says:

    This is great news as the Stalker games are pretty much the only shooters that still get me excited these days, which is a sad state of affairs really.

    I do wish they’d work out what they were doing with their FB channel. You do get little nuggets of sunshine like this, though it’s mixed in with offers on Stalker hats. If I’m going to have any slogan emblazoned across an item of clothing, it certainly isn’t going to be ‘Stalker.’ Maybe ‘Rapist’.

  10. scorcher24 says:

    I don’t look forward to it. Always-on-drm, no thanks.

    • Persus-9 says:

      But different publishing companies have different DRM strategies that they like to follow and since this game is now seemingly seeking a new publisher I think we have reason to take old announcements about DRM with a large pitch of salt. I’d have thought that if they get a block of funding from somewhere then the people putting up the money will have a large say over how they protect/control/cripple their investment.

    • Navagon says:

      About the only good thing about their crappy financial situation and lack of interest from major publishers is that always online DRM is almost an impossibility for them now.

      That said, it was stressed at the time that it was merely an option they were considering. But definitely giving it a bit too much consideration for my liking – some.

  11. kataras says:

    Just put every map from SOC, CS, COP and those from the old builds in the game, and then I buy it!

  12. Binary77 says:

    I believe that Devolver Digital’s (fictional spokesperson) Fork Parker was spouting on about “i wish those guys would have been in touch” when it was announced that GSC were closing down. Now, i know Fork Parker is just a Twitter alias, but whoever they really are could do with piping up about now – if there really was any serious (real world) intent to that statement.

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    Skystrider says:

    My wallet is ready and willing if they turn to crowd-funding.

  14. sabrage says:

    Am I really the only one who noticed this is the exact same post that Jim made yesterday?

  15. Spiny says:

    Bought all of em, will buy the next one (crosses fingers)

  16. googoogjoob says:

    if paradox or cd projekt swooped in and bought all the stalker stuff and funded stalker 2 i would die in joy

  17. Eukatheude says:

    In a perfect world, Gabe would hire ‘em all.

    • coldvvvave says:

      Why would he do that? Peopole responsible for tech and art design left after SoC release( or earlier) and to this day are not on good terms with Grigorovich( 4A games). only AI guy left, I think. And AI in STALKER is nonexistant.

    • DocSeuss says:

      Wait, what? AI in STALKER is nonexistent?

      That’s news to me, especially when it’s using some of the most advanced AI I’ve ever encountered in a game–a hybrid of the GOAP system found in FEAR and some other system I don’t know much about.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Stalker actually has AI. In that it tries to emulate a living being, not just something to shoot back at you. It’s quite buggy and doesn’t quite work, but still fantastic.

    • coldvvvave says:

      In case you guys forgot, vanilla STALKER had nothing of this. At some point GSC realized they weren’t making their A-life in time and butchered it by adding invisible walls between locations so in the end it didn’t have any simulation, you could go anywhere, then return and find same people around same campfires. I guess no one remember vanilla STALKER.

  18. Blackcompany says:

    Not looking good for this. One has to allow for the six or so year dev time for the first game. Not many publishers gonna sign up for that kind of time line. Not for this sort of investment.
    .
    Hate to bring doom and gloom, and I hope I am wrong of course. Just trying to be realistic.

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, it doesn’t look good. I know of other studios that have been in this situation, and I can’t think of one that had a positive outcome. If they couldn’t find a backer when they had time and money, how are they going to do so now that the company is falling apart – they’re hemorrhaging workers as they go off to other jobs, presumably the funds needed to keep the offices open are running out, etc. Fingers crossed, though.

  19. nayon says:

    I posted on their facebook wall a recommendation for them to use kickstarter to fund stalker 2. Perhaps you should go thumbs up it so it reaches their attention, or you can send them emails too. http://www.facebook.com/officialstalker/posts/356188711073717

  20. czc says:

    Can’t they get Paradox to publish? Or pre purchase funding? Like Grim Dawn?

  21. Crusoe says:

    Wait. Edge are still around? I assumed they disappeared up their own arses years back.

  22. leftclick says:

    While they look for a financial backer, they should start a paypal donation box or a incremental purchase thing kind of like Project CARS, Minecraft, amongst other games that way they can at least pay a few bills with the donation money. Id’ do it if I were them, people, including myself, love the STALKER series, I think it would definitely work for them.

  23. Voon says:

    WANTWANTWANTWANTWANTWANTWANT