Hmm: Survarium’s Not What We Expected, Better?

By Nathan Grayson on April 27th, 2012 at 10:34 pm.

Merchandise idea: nuclear contacts.
So Survarium – the pre-apocalpytic project that’s emerged from the ruins of STALKER 2 – is an MMOFPS. In spite of that, Vostok Games told us that it’s the STALKER franchise’s “next evolutionary step.” The results of a recent Twitter Q&A session, however, have me wondering if fans will soon be cursing evolution in much the same way I do every time I remember that I don’t have wings, eagle vision, or every power conferred to honey badgers. Don’t get me wrong: a lot of this stuff sounds incredibly interesting and – at least, in my eyes – goes quite a way toward putting the ghost of STALKER at peace. There are, however, some major structural changes that you might find tough to swallow.

 ”We will not be providing a seamless big world,” explains the Q&A. “Survarium is going to be a session-based game. Our plan is to constantly expand the number of new locations in the game.”

Moreover, questions involving offline modes and single-player options both got a flat “No” in response. And, given that other information, it’s not entirely surprising (though assuredly still disappointing) that this won’t be a persistent world.

So that’s the stuff that exposes my emotions to a potentially fatal dose of radiation and mutates them into a Sadness Monster, who rarely harms others because it’s too busy beating up itself. Everything else, though? It sounds, well, kind of completely great. Like these things, for instance:

“Many of the game elements will be in common [with STALKER], such as survival, anomalies, factions, mutants etc. Of course, the post-apocalyptic atmosphere will influence the gameplay, in many different ways. We plan to impose a limited number of players on a map per one play-session. This will make sure the game is not overcrowded with players… Taking into account that the entire mother nature is now against you, it’s hard to believe that being 3 or 4 of you will make you feel crowded. Certain missions are designed for a squad to separate, so you’ll have to act alone quite often.”

Emphasis is mine on the last bit, because that, I feel, is key. This isn’t an MMOFPS in the traditional sense. Rather, it appears to be a hybrid of squad-based sensibilities and more traditional “oh god, oh god, oh god I’m all alone and the bushes just rustled and it’s probably all my greatest fears dressed as a clown” feelings of STALKER isolation. I’m still wary about how it’ll all come together, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for NPC-driven bars and disheveled hub towns to tie the world together, but there’s plenty of promise here.

The rest of the rather lengthy Q&A’s well worth a read if you’re interested. The bits concerning business model – while still largely obscured by the dingy gray haze of early development – give me hope, as do the general winks and nods at STALKER fandom. In an ideal world, this could be a much-needed step off the beaten path for both online shooters and STALKER. Evolution, don’t fail me now.

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113 Comments »

  1. Fumarole says:

    I’ve got conflicting feelings about this. I’m happy for more Zone-like gaming, yet very much wary of the MMO side of things. Need more input I think.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      I think the STALKER series is the only one that’s ever been a definite 100% launch-day purchase for me, and so whilst this Q&A isn’t what I wanted to hear, I’m still confident they’ll make something fucking awesome, regardless of its (eventual, possible, theoretical) limitations.

      I think there’s a good chance that the best thing to come out of this will be someone like me who thinks “this isn’t what I wanted to hear”, but makes what s/he did want to hear. I can imagine that a lot of STALKER fans would have a fairly similar idea on what they’d like to see in a survival FPS (as per Mr. Grayson, persistent and seamless at the least), and hopefully someone’ll make it.

      But, again, I have faith that this’ll be enjoyable however they decide to do it, and I’ll keep optimistic about it. Like somebody said further down the comments here, Vostok have a lot of my goodwill to spend.

    • mollemannen says:

      im just glad they finally made a multiplayer stalker-ish game. hopefully they make it like mortal online, were you only could chat with people in the near vicinity adding to the sense of being alone when you’re out hunting.

  2. mckertis says:

    Q&A is on facebook ? Am i the only one still without facebok or twitter accounts ?

    • MrStones says:

      Not by a long shot.

    • Tyshalle says:

      Roughly 13 out of 14 people in the world’s population don’t use Facebook. So you’re definitely standing in the majority, right along side the pygmies, war-torn Iraqi’s, impoverished Indians and Eskimos.

      • mckertis says:

        I’d rather stand with Eskimos, than pot-smoking braindead USian teenager with iGadgets sticking out of the ass.

        • Kryopsis says:

          I am pretty sure comments like the one above kill more braincells than recreational drugs and iPads.

        • Davie says:

          Enjoy that superior smirk; it never lasts.

        • lurkalisk says:

          Hmm… It would appear smugness has potentially infinite layers. Smug about something? Well, someone’s going to get all smug in their dismissal of you smugness, which in turn will be dismissed and ensmuggened, ad infinitum.

          I think the thing to say at this point would be something like… Very well chap, I understand to some degree what you’re talking about, and agree to some extent, no matter how someone could potentially view the whole thing as somewhat ironic. Good day.

          Well, damn. Even I’ve managed to played into it…

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            ‘Ensmuggened’ is my new favourite word. Let this be added to every english dictionary in the world, and filed under ‘A’ as well as ‘E’. It needs to be the first entry anyone sees. Even though people don’t read dictionaries from the first page forwards, unless they are looking for a word starting with ‘a’ – because that would be silly.

            Is a collection of smug people called a ‘Smuggery’?

          • SiHy_ says:

            How about ‘a prat of smugs’?

    • caddyB says:

      I don’t use them, I don’t like them, I don’t hate the people who do though.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I refuse to use facebook and think twitter is the stupidest idea ever.

      So, no.

        • adam.jutzi says:

          It’s up there…

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            Yes, keeping up with my friends around the globe in an easy and concise manner in which we can all informally communicate together is stupid. Totally stupid and lame.

            Look, I understand that there’s a lot of idiotic fluff and eye-rollingly moronic behavior on Facebook and Twitter (especially Twitter), but there’s a tons of stupid stuff about email, too. In fact, the whole “fake friend” Facebook issue started long before Facebook with email.

            Just because a frying pan isn’t good at hammering a nail doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.

          • Xercies says:

            What he said and:

            Twitter is a much easier way to get business contacts and to instantly communicate with your customers elaving both of you happy.

            also we wouldn’t of known of a lot of news stories like say revolutions in countries and horrible human rights issues with Twitter and Facebook. I’d say they have proven their worth.

          • wodin says:

            What Stupid McGee said. It’s a great tool facebook if you live away from family and friends or away from your home town like I have for the last twenty years. It was also great to get to talk to my old mates from twenty years ago. These people I’d never have heard from again most likely if FB wasn’t here due to people moving and getting married etc. We all used to go raving back in the late eighties early nineties so share some great times together. Infact we share our youth. So again I for one am very pleased Facebook is around.

          • YourMessageHere says:

            Twitter’s just IRC with pointless limits. Facebook’s just a forum with enforced real names and too much extraneous crap. They’re not bad things inherently, other than in their pernicious reinforcement of the idea that your privacy is not important, accomplished gradually through use. I feel they have more bad points than good ones. What is bad, though, is when things only happen there, and the decision to do that lies with someone who’s not employed by twitter or facebook – that just ends up in a situation where you’re either locking people out of supposedly public announcements, or you’re granting free advertising to these services.

      • Navagon says:

        A stupid idea that pulls in 140 million dollars a year?

        • LionsPhil says:

          Bear in mind that if you’re going to use “profitable” as an indicator of “not stupid”, then homeopathy isn’t stupid either.

          • Tacroy says:

            Fun fact: in the USA, if your ingredient of choice is listed in the official Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States (yes we actually have one), you can create a “homeopathic” remedy using it even if it’s only at a 1x concentration (1 part in 10, which means that there’s totally enough of the active ingredient to have a medically significant effect), and sell that over the counter with almost no FDA oversight. This is how products like Zicam manage to make tons of people lose their sense of smell.

            The idea is stupid, but the people pushing it aren’t.

    • wazups2x says:

      Twitter is awesome! I can communicate easily with devs and find out things very fast. Love it!

      I don’t care for Facebook though.

  3. Tyshalle says:

    The biggest problem I have with this, aside from the general sadness about the loss of the Stalker series, is that the Stalker games aren’t exactly known for their stability or polish. How in the world are these people going to build an MMO, which has to be several orders of magnitude more complicated than a single player game. Combine that with all the massive delays, and the death of Stalker 2 from lack of funds, and this game’s got enough obstacles in its way that I have almost no enthusiasm for it whatsoever.

    Plus, FTP MMOFPS, which means it’s almost certainly going to be shit even if all that other stuff isn’t an issue.

    • Captain Captane says:

      As they have said several times, the problem with Stalker 2 wasn’t lack of funding, but that they were not granted the rights to the IP.

    • Bhazor says:

      Perhaps a more important point is that an MMO doesn’t allow modding. If there’s one thing fans agree its that vanilla S.T.A.L.K.E.R needs mods.

      Certainly I couldn’t play it without the one of the overhaul mods.

      • Secundus says:

        oh no how will we get by without mods to increase inventory space and make every gun a lazer rifle to “make the game more balanced”

        • Bhazor says:

          Or fixing broken quests?
          Improving the screwy AI?
          Making the game actually run at a playable speed?
          Fixing graphical glitches?
          Improving the graphics?
          Adding in features that were originally intended but removed because of time constraints?

          Without mods the Stalker games are only half finished.

        • Eukatheude says:

          What Bhazor said. Have you actually tried a Stalker mod?

          • scatterbrainless says:

            Absolutely. I enjoyed vanilla SoC, but mods have probably tripled my fun rating and the game’s replayability. In fact I’m just about to enjoy some Stalker Soup for the first time, which I expect to be delicious.

        • eks says:

          Guess how everyone knows you have never used any Stalker mods (probably never played any Stalker game too right)?

          The 2 Stalker games which aren’t COP are unbearable without mods. Practically everything about the games is broken in one way or another without them. I have absolutely no faith in the devs being able to release something worth playing and when they announced that it was an MMO it was the nail in the coffin for me.

          e: Seems this new dev team is exactly that: New. It’s not some devs from GSC that created the Stalker games. So, new dev team, new franchise, new genre and completely missing the points that make STALKER what it is. Why are they even mentioning STALKER in any way?

          • kud13 says:

            I have to argue this. once patched, Clear Sky was playable without mods. it still had occasional glitches, but was fairly playable.

            I played all 3 back to back, with SoC and CoP modded with complete, but I didn’t mod CS, and the experiences were comparable.

        • Voon says:

          you’re new to STALKER, aren’t you?

  4. ShrikeMalakim says:

    My reaction: Disappointing, but not as bad as it sounded at first. Co-op MMOFPS against scary and effective AI enemies could be a lot of fun.

    And as I told my friend, I’ll keep my eyes and mind open, since the Vostok people do have an awful lot of my goodwill available to spend.

  5. magnus says:

    I’m speechless, this link says it better than I can; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qro7oBzUBos Couldn’t they at least appologise for not having a single player componant, that’s not exactly listening to the fans is it? From what I’ve seen, about 80% posters are not happy with the direction they are taking.

  6. BrendanJB says:

    How exactly do they expect only 4-5 people to a map at a time? I’m not sure how that’s going to work. And what’s the point of making it an MMO if you’re only going to see a few people at a time? Wouldn’t it be better to just give the game a campaign and then have the option to go online, which let’s 3-4 join your world?

    If they’re going to go the MMO route, I hope it’s for more than just a persistent world and coop missions. It would be cool to come across a rival faction of players while both of you are just coming back from a mission/fight, worn, hurt, and low on supplies, and calling out to one another to form a temporary truce just to get passed each other without dying; of course, only to be double crossed.

    That’s another thing. One of the staples of Stalker games is looting bodies. If you kill someone can you rustle their corpse for some supplies? Will it just take like 3 random objects from your inventory or something?

    I dunno. As of right now I do not have high hopes. But we know so little about it. I’ll wait for more info before completely writing it off.

  7. Zeewolf says:

    Yay, we can do things alone in between the typical mmo shit.

    No, it’s not enough. Not by a long shot. I’m happy for them that they get to continue making games and stuff, but no. It is practically impossible for any mortal men (and indeed women) to take the experience I loved from the Stalker games and translate that into a Free 2 Play MMO. I won’t interpret anything they say as anything but an attempt at capitalizing on the popularity of the Stalker-franchise. It’s PR-speak, pure and simple.

  8. HermitUK says:

    So this sounds like something akin to the Guild Wars 1 or Phantasy Star Online model; Safe zones acting as online hubs with missions to be run with a small group of people. An interesting prospect, but I’m worried it’ll lose a good chunk of STALKER’s atmosphere (“LFG Labs Run all bosses!”).

    Edit: Adding the MMO label also suggests some form of additional payment model. Monthly fee? Or paying to unlock new missions? Or real money for better gear and items? I’m a little concerned this means some form of leveling system. Certainly wouldn’t want skill trees or weapon unlocks in. And ranks would seem somewhat out of place, too. “Congratulation, you are now Level 17 STALKER” doesn’t seem right.

  9. magnus says:

    I hate to say but, if the model doesn’t change and there’s no campaign mode they may well have lost a long-time fan and surely that isn’t good at this early stage.

  10. cai says:

    I’m as disappointed as the next guy that this won’t be Stalker 2, but I’m more than willing to keep the faith with this one. Vostok have just come out of a tight spot and it seems like their hearts are exactly in the right place.

  11. Beelzebud says:

    I wish them luck, it’s just not going to be for me.

  12. NAZIUFOCOMMANDER says:

    “We can’t make Stalker 2 because of circumstances beyond our control, so we are going to make something different that we want to try.”
    “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE NOT MAKING A GAME THATS EXACTLY LIKE STALKER 2 WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE, THIS IS TERRIBLE AND LIFE IS RUINED!!!”

    Video games.

    • qrter says:

      “We can’t make Stalker 2 because of circumstances beyond our control, so we are going to make something different that we want to try.”
      “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE NOT MAKING A GAME THATS EXACTLY LIKE STALKER 2 WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE, THIS IS TERRIBLE AND LIFE IS RUINED!!!”

      Video games.

      Internet comments.

    • Bhazor says:

      It’s called the S.T.A.L.K.E.R successor and yet goes against every idea that the fans liked about the original game. Then you wonder why people might be a bit upset?

      I’m not a big fan of S.T.A.L.K.E.R and I can understand why people are pissed. To me it would be like if Pritchford and Gearbox said they were making a new Brothers in Arms game and it turned out to be ditching squad command in favour of 4 player co-op. I mean that would just be ludicrous wouldn’t it? An insult to the fans who want a polished reiteration of a standout game and end up with yet another wacky co-op game. A bastardisation of an original game in a cyncial attempt to try and attract a wider audience. Taking a surprisingly truthful and respectful war series and turning it into a vague rip off of that one Unglorius Basterds trailer? Thank god that never happened. Ha ha.

      #eye twitch

      • Azdeus says:

        Oh, gee, thanks alot for reminding me of that. I’m getting really tired of the videogames industry. Sometimes. When they go fubar, wich ofcourse is snafu but really. It does annoy me.

  13. Big Murray says:

    … you want to be able to bite off testicles like a honey badger …?

  14. Shooop says:

    Co-Op with one other person may have been tolerable, but any more than that and you’re just missing the entire point of STALKER and killing the project dead.

    Then the lack of a persistent world burns the remains and scatters their ashes.

  15. Bhazor says:

    “mmofps”
    (Tunk)
    “not providing a seamless world”
    (Tunk)
    “questions involving offline modes and single-player options both got a flat “No””
    (Tunk)

    Oh don’t mind me, I just happen to be hammering nails into a coffin.

    • Bhazor says:

      ‎Hmmm, according to a member of staff commenting in the Facebook Q&A thread this isn’t actually the same team who made Stalker 1. He also seems to be trying to back pedal and say it isn’t really a Stalker follow up. I imagine things are going to start to get complicated soon.

      “Survavium – I am afraid you are listening to false information if you are under the impression that the team abandoned the Stalker project. In actuality the team was working on S2 from December 2011 to April 2012 when ultimately the efforts of ours and our investors were to not come to fruition.

      Having said that, there seems to be a grave misunderstanding that some community members have (which I am trying to correct) that Survarium is supposed to be some kind of “Stalker Replacement” when in fact it is simply a totally new concept and project by a new company and development team.

      The only correlations between the two titles are being misunderstood. The reasons there may some similar aspects to the two titles are that 1, it is the same team that were working on S2 and 2, because it is also another ambitious project much like the first Stalker title was seen as back when it was first announced in 2000. Vostok Games is not simply GSC under a new name and Survarium is not Stalker under a new name. Both are totally new entities with new dreams and goals.

      Also, you are very mistaken to think we are simply as you said “forcing a game on our fans”. We are making a new game and simply providing information regarding it. Of course we would love Stalker fans to get behind Survarium and we understand that to some it may not be exactly what they are after but again we’re not trying to sell it off as a “Stalker Replacement”. One of the main reasons we have chosen to work closely with our community in the venture is because we know exactly how ambitious it is and how passionate you (the community) all are.”

      • HermitUK says:

        If they didn’t want people confusing this as STALKER 2 reborn, they probably need to stop saying things like:

        “In terms of ideas, we are going to incorporate quite a few of what we had in mind for STALKER 2″
        “We had negotiations, but did not reach agreement with him to continue developing under STALKER brand, so we started our new IP”
        “It should become the STALKER idea’s next evolutionary step in every respect.”

      • lijenstina says:

        The team which made CoP is not the same team that made SoC.

  16. OrangyTang says:

    “This will make sure the game is not overcrowded with players”

    They seem sent on doing that anyway :(

  17. Navagon says:

    I don’t really see who this is supposed to be aimed at. It’s not like it’s a proper MMO. It’s definitely not aimed at Stalker fans, even if a few are interested regardless.

    I just don’t think that they’ve thought this one through at all well. Or they’ve got some investors with some typical dumbass investor ‘let’s make the next WOW’ mentality. In which case, what exactly where they escaping from by leaving GSC that this is better?

  18. pilouuuu says:

    I hate all this MMO nonsense that the industry is becoming…

    • wodin says:

      Me too, MMO or IOS or Ipad or Android or whatever…hobby is starting to really do my head in.

      Kickstarter seems to be the sliver lining in very dark clouds.

  19. ZIGS says:

    So, the whole MMO thing is just an overly elaborate form of DRM? Because that seems to be it’s only purpose

    • Bostec says:

      Yep, like Deadspace 2 or Mass effect 3. No need for Muiltplayer really but we will tack it on anyway! DRM on the sly right fellas?

    • Josh W says:

      Exactly, an MMO where you can go around on your own in your separate instance, having no effect on other players, is a single player game which runs of their server instead of your PC.

  20. KingCathcart says:

    Is it really an MMO? I only ask because I’d quite like a game like L4D but slower and where I could bugger off and do my own thing for a bit.

  21. end0rphine says:

    The comments on the Q&A astound me. There is so much misinformation and ignorance in that comment box that are easily negated in the #$%^ing answers directly above them. A majority of the commenters have not read the Q&A manuscript at all.

  22. Eukatheude says:

    So if it’s session based and with 3-4 player teams, how exactly is it an MMO instead of a regular online fps?

    • Bhazor says:

      Again according to the moderator in the comments of the QA session.

      “Survarium What many are not realising is that there will be no NPCs. Thus negating the need for an A-life system. Every character you meet in Survarium will be a real person just like you. Therefor “A-life” becomes “Life”"

      Now this directly contradicts what was said in the QA itself. I am very confused. Sadly, I think the developers are as well.

      • end0rphine says:

        Notice the person who posted that isn’t actually a developer. Just more misinformation.

      • wodin says:

        No NPC’s? Massive fail. SO they expect everyone to roleplay a part then.

        The only way that would happen is if you got a clan together and all roleplayed. With complete strangers it isn’t going to work.

  23. GreatGreyBeast says:

    Is MMO their word? Because limited player numbers and “session-based gameplay” sure doesn’t sound like an MMO. What it sounds like, maybe, is Left 4 Dead on STALKER maps, which is not anything I was looking for, yet at the same time fucking awesome.

  24. Palindrome says:

    When a respected franchise such as STALKER undergoes some radical changes there will always be internet rage but please, the sky hasn’t fallen yet.

    Nothing here definitely means that Survarium can’t be a worthy successor to STALKER. Given that it is still extremely early in the design process we simply cannot say that the game will be shit. It may even be possible to recreate the STALKER atmosphere in an online game and to be honest it sounds as though that is what they are going to be attempting. So what if it is free to play? That isn’t inherently bad and some games actually benefit from it.

    Once Survarium reaches beta it can be praised or shredded but please at least wait until there is something more concrete to base complaints on.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yes a 4 player co-op mission based mmo can be indistinguishable from a single player open world shooter. If you squint.

      People love Stalker for its open world and feeling of isolation. Both of which have been removed.

    • wodin says:

      Your forgetting something. This isn’t a Stalker successor and has nothing at all to do with it. Completely different games.

      Stalker is dead and buried. RIP Great Single player FPS games.

  25. Synesthesia says:

    Why?

  26. sendmark says:

    Have to say watching The Days Ahead (Arma mod) gameplay videos has convinced me that this could work fantastically well. It is obviously critical that they keep the number of players in the active areas under control but sounds like they are aware of this.

    Competing for supplies against bandit pvpers, or rationing them out to friendlies, while dealing with the overarching harsh environment.

  27. gekitsu says:

    1) Yes, the things you pointed out as positive ARE positive. Like strawberries. I love strawberries and like to eat them a lot. I will eat lots of strawberries that are submerged in tasty vanilla pudding and will wear a happy smile for the duration of the endeavour. I will not, however, be fond of strawberries submerged in vomit. The vomit kind of nullifies how awesome strawberries are. Thus, they can do whatever gameplay elements and whatever IP allusions they want. As long as its online, I do not want any of it.

    2) Thats gearing up to be the same kind of online-multiplayer bullshit that maxis spewed. Its an MMOFPS! but … without the first M. and … the kind of world interaction you have in the MMO genre. Actually, it wont be that much different from any other multiplayer shooter you already know. And we cant be arsed to spend manhours on crafting a singleplayer experience, really. And online-only will cut down on piracy, yay us!
    It all really ends up being a way too convenient choice not to take it: Build a run-of-the-mill online co-op fps, cram some radioactivity symbols in, dont build a singleplayer part and enforce online because thats all thats left to play anyway. Then, call it an MMOFPS and an evolution when its nothing but insecurity about how to make people buy your game, coupled with laziness.

  28. Wedge says:

    This is genius. You no longer have quicksave, thus it will now be genuinely scary. As long as lag doesn’t ruin it. It could be like Demon’s Souls the FPS.

    • Mattressi says:

      It’s true. The only way to eliminate the quicksave function is to strip the game down, make it online only and dependent on servers. Absolutely no way around it.

      • Wedge says:

        Yes, that or make the lead platform a console. Maybe they should do that instead, then everyone would be even happier.

      • Palindrome says:

        How on earth do you know that they will strip the game down? All you have to go on is a Q&A, which is understandably vague, and seemly boundless cynicism.

  29. rangda says:

    This really strikes me as a case of a developer giving the public what they want to give the public instead of giving the public what the public wants. IMO the MMO thing is there purely as a knee-jerk reaction to their perceived losses to piracy. Making it a FTP MMO forces everyone online including the “freeloaders”; where they hope to monetize them with whatever it is that you’re going to be able to spend real money on. Want a G36? No problem, just pay $10. Want access to Pripyat; sorry that’s a locked zone $20 to access. Their problem is that I don’t give a crap about any of their piracy “problems”; I care about the product they offer me. And right now i’m hung up on the MMO part of this being glorified DRM that is going to come with a lot of disadvantages, and if they want my money or attention they are going to have to overcome that.

    I really hope they have some good ideas up their sleeve but it seems more likely to end in disaster than not. And that makes me sad as I’m a huge, huge stalker fan. But I’m a huge fan of stalker MODs and this is going to klll that. For example I think one of the best stalker experiences is the SHoC mod Narodnaya Soljanka and it’s very depressing to think that such mods will never be made for this game.

    • Mattressi says:

      The thing I find amusing, if that’s the case, is that I flat out refuse to pay for anything in a free-to-play game. However, I will happily purchase a real game. So, I’m not a pirate and I won’t pay for their ingame items/maps/advantages. Now, think, will pirates, who are pirates because they don’t want to/can’t pay for stuff, buy any of this stuff? I’m willing to bet the answer is no.

      From what I can tell, they’ve made good money from the Stalker series. So the only reason they’d have to fight piracy is the ‘moral’ reason (i.e. no one should get our games free – screw our customers). The problem is that they’re going to get so many more freeloaders in an F2P model and these freeloaders will be costing them money to pay for the server.

      Unless the whole thing is about making money? Right now, the one thing I can rule out with almost complete certainty, is that whatever their reason, it isn’t that they want to create a great game/experience for their customers.

  30. Mattressi says:

    So, it has all of the things that are bad about MMOs (no offline play, likely pay-to-win or at least pay-for-content, no savegames, no coming back to play it after the servers have shut down, horrible ping for Australians and others who aren’t lucky enough to have a server for their part of the world) while removing the few strengths MMOs have (persistent world, lots of player who can band together or fight, large open world). Hell, it (apparently) doesn’t even have AI. So it’s 3-4 player multiplayer, with nothing to do except not become irradiated and start a huge war…between 4 people.

    I guess it could be moderately interesting if it was singleplayer and multiplayer and had this ‘no enemies’ survival game aspect to it (though, it would have to have AI for animals – a survival game needs hunting). Even if the ‘no AI’ thing is false, it still doesn’t in any way need to be a crappy MMO for the game to work – the point of MMOs has been persistent worlds, many players and social crap. This game has no persistent world, 3-4 players and presumably no social features if they are, indeed, trying to keep the atmosphere.

  31. fupjack says:

    “Our plan is to constantly expand the number of new locations in the game.” How is that a bad thing?

    I played the Stalker games so much that I can recognize photos of real locations in Pripyat based on the game. That’s the one thing I always said – if they’d just release expansion maps, I’d play them.

    This could be good or bad, but I think the quality will be based on how well it’s implemented rather than the structural decisions. (think Call of Pripyat vs. Clear Sky)

  32. Sonblade says:

    The online system sounds just like Borderlands with a twist. From what is implied, it’ll be up to 4 people per instance, I just hope there will be map hopping. However, this part:

    Q: Will some sort of A-Life system be found in Survarium?
    A:No.

    Worries me a bit, though. A-Life was a significant part of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, so a lack of a similar system is a bit disheartening.

  33. coldvvvave says:

    Doubt this game is ever going to be finished. GSC at least had a rich( and smug as hell) guy as CEO. Those guys are whats left of second( or even third, I dunno) STALKER team, they are poor as monastery rats and I have my doubts about them being able to create a game from scratch.

  34. BloodyHoney says:

    Kind of sounds like an MMO in the sense that Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls is an MMO.
    I’m somewhat okay with that.

  35. stupid_mcgee says:

    Behold! The Homer!

  36. Snake Stapler says:

    A grim day indeed, the most atmospheric shooter franchise down the toilet.

    What I hope it will be: Left 4 Dead – Chernobyl Edition

    What it will actually be: Pay 2 Win HUEHUEHUE

  37. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Dear Rock Paper Shotgun Journalists
    Please can you do an article on the best world-and-mission-expanding STALKER mods? That way fans who want more of the Zone (without trawling through the not quite as awesome stuff) can find out where to enjoy morelovely radiation, mutants and repeating one-liners that instantly become in-jokes, seeing as the official sequel is sitting in some CEO’s locked underwear drawer :)

    Or if its happened already, anyone have a link?
    I SAID COME IN. DON’T JUST STAND THERE.

  38. Innovacious says:

    What I’m hearing from all these QA things, its starting to sound like the SOME of the existing stalker multiplayer, but with some missions.

    I played some CoP multiplayer yesterday, JUST to make sure it was as bad as i thought it was. It was. Lets just start by saying the net code is terrible. Other players movements and animations are so broken because of it. Its the worst Ive seen since… i don’t think I’ve seen worse. Player models are constantly jittery and and having spasms, sometimes it lines up with the animations just right so it looks like they have 2 frame walking animations, and when they do walk, they constantly warp backwards and forwards. A few times i tried to shoot, but my gun did nothing. After running back to cover to hide, suddenly my gun is firing randomly, my ping never changed though and whatever latency caused this, it didn’t cause lag in my movement. I played on a few servers with pings between 50-100 and they were all like it. They REALLY need to up their game if they want to make the whole game multiplayer. OH, i almost forgot, the multiplayer kills my frame rate dead too.

    Anywho, back to the actual game. There are some smaller maps but you can also play in whole areas from the singleplayer. I played a game in Zanton, it was the whole Zanton area but with no NPCs (or mutants, or caches, or items). There were 20+ people in the server but it was usually a few minutes between spawning and “see”ing someone. I say it like that because everybody was camped up in some high ground with a sniper (i couldn’t use a sniper yet because not enough experience) and after 2 minutes of walking i just get shot in the head and have to respawn again.

    There were a few exceptions to that, i spawned in a building with another guy on my team a few times, he ran outside once and was instantly sniped. But once, things were looking better, we slowly progressed across the map, sprinting between cover, we got quite far. Until he got sniped again. I hid in a bush to try and find the sniper, he was on a boat, but even with the highest draw distance, he was partially hidden in distance fog, and i just had an assault rifle, so i eventually died when i tried to fire at him and he saw my hiding spot. I did manage to get some kills though, but few and far between.

    There are still a lot of people playing the multiplayer on CoP (even more than the last time i tried duke nukem forever multiplayer even) but i didn’t see any English speakers, everyone spoke in Russian. I would not be surprised if Survarium will be the same. I think all the English speaking world thinks THEY are the only customers, but the Russian speaking world seems to like different things from us.

  39. amisysally says:

    The stuff here is pretty cool and awesome.Mobile food cart I got the meaning clearly and need no longer time to understand it. It’s really interesting.

  40. Stevostin says:

    There’s hope, actually. I think the instance based stuff is somehow a great option taken by the designers on making sure you don’t loose immersion to the kind of noise a crowd provides. And it’s not as if STALKER were seamless in the first place : map based too, even CS.

    Also, considering the side of maps, 4 player’s a map is very close to a solo experience. More importantly, it’s clear we should have the nice shooting mechanics from STALKER : no heavy network load, so accurate enought to deal with the ballistic.

    I think if you take an outside look and just forget STALKER for one second, this QA is actually a hot pitch. :

    - big maps, not corridor based, allowing exploration, and constantly evolving and expanding on new maps. No one does that in a MMOFPS.
    - good manshoot. No one has that in a MMOFPS.
    - survivalism over manshoot. No one does that in a MMOFPS.

    It’s clear it’s completely different from all we know and that it’s really exciting. It sure will lack the endless world an endless open world sand box will provide. But it’s better at making sure we have quality man shoot mechanics ant immersion. Which I think are arguably more central to that kind of game.

    I really hope they want a COC experience with a few encounter of real player from time to time, and that would be it. What I mostly want is to avoid forcing me into having to build a team. I like teamplay but when I read :

    “Certain missions are designed for a squad to separate”

    It hurts because what I want to read is “Certain missions are designed for a Squad”. Something that makes me feel 90% of the content is solo based, and 10 only requires a squad (and doesn’t convey more reward than the content itself, please). I mean, even WOW is 90% solo quests. I feel devs, by testing their multiplayer games in groups on their local network more than often miss the point that this is not real world multiplayer gaming. In the real world, we don’t have the time neither the will to spend minutes, and actually hours, arranging a game (that very part that is painless for testing devs). The interest balance of constituting a party vs playing co op is negative most of the time by a long shot. The real point of multiplayer isn’t team, it’s to bring a more interesting “play for your ass” vibe than soloing AI.

  41. Stevostin says:

    “Q: Will there be women in Survarium?
    A: Our plan is to let you play as man or a woman.”

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !

    :P

  42. wodin says:

    Sounds like a fail of an idea already. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in developer meetings! I have two or three (what I consider good game ideas) that others have said they’d buy in a flash. Yet real developers seem to not know what people want.

  43. yhancik says:

    Well, Big Robot, we count on you now ;)

  44. Navagon says:

    Maybe they’ll do a Morrowind and turn this thing into a single player game halfway through? I know. But I got to hold on to some hope. If these guys aren’t interested in delivering another Stalker game (and that seemed to be the main reason it was cancelled in the first place) then who is?

  45. Iskariot says:

    I got all the Stalker games. I had my hopes set on Stalker 2.

    I am not interested at all in another MMO. I play my games to be away from people, not to be bothered by them online. I want huge single player open world games I can get lost in.

    I won’t be playing this.

  46. MichaelPalin says:

    that this won’t be a persistent world

    Well, goodbye and good luck.

  47. kud13 says:

    welp, just watched a 50-min interview with Yavorsky (in Russian)

    in general, several themes:
    Vostok is focused on player input. few things are set in stone, they’ll be looking to decide tons of things based on player input. (Yavorsky’s unsure whether there’ll be female models, they’ll have a vote on that). The forums should be up soon.

    The model IS MMOF2P–there will be unlocks, and player levels and all that crap. However, there shouldn’t be pay2win, all stuff will be available via free play. Also, PvE will be “mission-based”, and it *will* be possible to play those single, though the difficulty won’t be curved–it’s designed for team play, and if you decide to go it alone, it’ll be more difficult.

    The game’s aimed at CIS audience, CIS aesthetics, settings, etc. Will be launched in CIS first, then throughout the world.

  48. Blackcompany says:

    So…you cannot make STALKER. Ok, I get that. You know your fans wanted a game like STALKER. You obviously get that because you’re going to make an MMO….

    Yeah.

    If you are doing it because you believe you will be able to charge a monthly sub and make tons of money…you might want to reconsider. Because you won’t, and you can’t. Last I checked the MMO market looked like a bubble the size of a Gas Giant and probably under far more pressure. Not sure that market really has any more room. So unless your game is going to blow the doors off the genre, and everyone looking on, you might want to consider something.

    The immersion-focused single player game market is pretty undermanned right now. And you are as a group already good at it. I will let you put this particular subset of two and two together from there.

    • kud13 says:

      It’s not subscription-based. it’s F2P.

      look, i’m not a fan of MMOs at all, but that doesn’t mean we should strawman Vostok. Yes, I think they are wrong in trying to make an F2P FPS. doesn’t mean I won’t like it if they succeed.

      I’m being cautiously pessimistic at this point, but i’d like to see what they manage.

  49. Scrawnto says:

    I’m a little unclear on the ”We will not be providing a seamless big world” bit. None of the STALKER games had a seamless world, but does this mean we’ll be instancing into a single facility at a time without any free roaming wilderness? Or will the instances be the size of the various areas of SoC, i.e. not a seamless world, but one with a bit of leg room?

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