BitComposer Acquire S.T.A.L.K.E.R. From “Strygatsky”?

By Jim Rossignol on December 12th, 2012 at 1:35 pm.


UPDATE: Just got off the phone with bitComposer, who tell us that they DID acquire Stalker rights from the late Boris Strugatsky. Quite what this means for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise isn’t clear, as they can make no further comment at this time.

UPDATE 2: It seems we might be looking at STALKER for bitComposer and a separate franchise to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Confusing, eh?

Those of you who have been following the saga of the demise of GSC and the subsequent death of STALKER 2 might recall that the property was held by GSC owner Sergiy Grygorovich, while most of the original dev team went off to form Vostok and work on Survarium. Now, though, there’s been a new development, with this news from German publisher bitComposer: “bitComposer Entertainment AG has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights for future video game adaptations of the acclaimed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand from Boris Natanovich Strygatsky (sic). This is the second strong international license that the Eschborn-based company has acquired within the space of a few years, and this move ensures that the successful series will continue.”

More details will apparently appear “shortly”, although it’s not entirely clear what rights are held here – given that the Stalker brand held by the authors is different from that held by the game creators, and could be an error or mistranslation. (And this perhaps rubbishes previous rumours that Bethesda had acquired the rights.) Quite who will make this new game, though, will be the burning question. Thanks to the huge flashing array of IM windows which lit up to inform me of this news.

We’ve contacted bitComposer for comment.

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67 Comments »

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  1. IneptFromRussia says:

    They didn’t purchase S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise, because Strygatsky doesn’t own it.
    http://galyonkin.com/2012/12/12/net-nemtsyi-ne-kupili-s-t-a-l-k-e-r/

    • Sergey Galyonkin says:

      Yep, they acquired right to “Stalker” (Сталкер) Russian TM. It is not related to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, as that TM is owned by Grygorovich. Why do they refer to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in press-release is puzzling question indeed.

    • Sergey Galyonkin says:

      Just talked to Grygorovich on phone. He did not sell S.T.A.L.K.E.R. rights to bitComposer (obviously), so they don’t have any rights to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe. Roadside Picknick is probably ok, though.

      Also, they owe royalty for Call of Pripyat for 8 months.

  2. RussianGirl says:

    Boris Strygatsky is not the owner of GSC. He was a Russian cinema director and he died last month.
    UPD. Yeah, I’ve messed up with this director thing. Read below.

    • simoroth says:

      Not a director. He was one of the brothers who wrote “Roadside Picnic”. The classic soviet science fiction novel that inspired the game.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Just me being a ctrl-c/v idiot with names, I’ve amended it. It’s easiest to copy and paste Russian names…

    • Unaco says:

      I thought he was one of the Strugatski brothers, who wrote Roadside Picnic? He did die last month though.

    • D3xter says:

      Wasn’t the *movie* story/screenplay for STALKER (without all the points): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079944/ written by Arkadiy Strugatskiy and Boris Strugatskiy?

      That’s probably what they got.

      • UpsilonCrux says:

        The movie is another adaptation of the book, but quite different. Tarkovsky takes the story in a different direction completely, and as far as I was aware (and I may be wrong), the Strugatsky brothers weren’t involved in the making of the film. Roadside Picnic is a FANTASTIC book though, which I would urge everyone to read, and the movie is equally splendid, but not a “Friday night gather your mates and chomp on some popcorn” kinda movie.

  3. faceface says:

    Just let it die with dignity. Please.

    • MrLebanon says:

      indeed… i’m scared to see STALKER 2 end up being some kind of radioactive mutilation of what once was a good game (see what I did there)

    • ShatteredAwe says:

      Let it go down in history as one of the great game series that ended before it’s time.

  4. kraken says:

    So, who is bitComposer and did they make any good game?

    • povu says:

      They’re a publisher, here’s a list: http://www.bit-composer.com/www_en/

      Giana Sisters was nice I suppose, but Jagged Alliance BIA not so much.

    • frightlever says:

      http://www.bit-composer.com/www_en/products.aspx

      I can remember having one of their games installed last year (from a folder name) but can’t remember which it was. Didn’t see anything on that list that jogged my memory.

      Edit: gah.

    • Gorf says:

      They made the jagged alliance remake but they published Stalker:CoP for NA and EU.

      edit:ninja’d

    • Atrocious says:

      Apparently they published STALKER Call Of Pripyat and The Void. Not too many things I’ve played.

      They claim to have acquired the rights for Boris Natanovich Strygatsky’s (the spelling on their site) STALKER Series. Which is a bit of a contradiction because the Strugatsky brothers have written Roadside Picnic. That was the base for the STALKER games series, but it’s not the same thing.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    I think they published the Stalker games in EU territories before so it kind of makes sense. However, their track record is all over the place otherwise.

  6. extens says:

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand, the one with lots of dots, has nothing to do with Strygatsky, the game was heavily influenced by their book, “Roadside Picnic”, that’s it, germans probably bought rights for gamification of that book, not STALKER brand.

    • MrLebanon says:

      so a STALKER-esque type game?

      • John Mirra says:

        Book is quite different, so the game may be not like STALKER at all.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The visuals are heavily influenced by the film Stalker too. Although the world is fairly different, the Stalker in that throws bolts to check for anomalies , and they even recreate certain shots in the games.

      • Premium User Badge

        VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Well at least he’s smarter: he has a string tied to the bolt so he can retrieve it and use it again (as long as it doesn’t reveal a meatgrinder or anything). Whereas the poor protagonist of the game has to carry an infinite pile of bolts around somehow…

        • DrGonzo says:

          That would have made for an interesting gameplay mechanic too. Do I pick up the few bolts I have, but then lose my record of the route I took in, or leave them there and take my chances a few times.

  7. John Mirra says:

    That’s not how you spell Strugatsky.

    • Cytrom says:

      Considering, that he’s russian and his name can only be written phonetically using latin letters, I’d say any spelling is about equally ‘correct’ or incorrect as long as it kinda sounds like the original.

  8. GameCat says:

    I want game adaptation of Roadside picnic. Stalker is great, but RP game with anomalies, wild, dangerous and strange Zone and without shooting part and mutants would be so fucking awesome.
    I want seek for strange artifacts while avoiding more strange and dangerous anomalies, I want see places where objects cast shadows that looks slightly wrong, I want be amused and frightened by Zone, I want sneak past army camps and shoot no one, I want to be a Stalker, not killer.
    All these in DayZ-like multiplayer.

    • kataras says:

      Yes to everything except the MP. But I will miss the Monolith and the VSS.

    • GameCat says:

      No, Roadside picnic multiplayer have so much potential.
      Imagine places that can be accessed only by cooperation. Imagine emissions (I don’t remember them form book, but in game they was one of the better ideas) that change locations of anomalies. You can be trapped that way and you must use radio to call someone for help.
      Without firearms (or only pistols with few bullets) and some form of punishment for mindlessly killing other players/NPCs.
      Add procedural generated artifacts (you don’t know exactly what are they for) and anomalies that players can research, describe and add it to in-game database (every randomly generated artifact can spawn in various places) to make it more awesome and make Zone more unknow (you know, you can’t just check everything in wiki).

      I could write more about this, but my English isn’t good enough.

      • kataras says:

        Sounds good, I would buy it. Don’t worry, nobody’s English is good!

      • hymnharmonia says:

        Don’t sell yourself short, your English is definitely good enough to get me interested in such an idea.

      • GameCat says:

        But often I can’t write in English exactly what I want to say.

    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Southern Comfort says:

      If all gamers would be as openminded as you are, we’d be living in a better world.
      But the makers of Dear Esther already hinted at them being interested in producing a similar game set in the Exclusion Zone, so maybe one day your dream will come true (and then we have Survarium for the MMO fans).

  9. kataras says:

    Although book and game are different, the press release seems to talk specifically about the game franchise. Unless they are being deliberately misleading in order to start a new franchise and capitalise on the older one?

    Also did they buy the rights from him while he was on his deathbed or something? Or maybe he signed from the afterlife?

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah, the Press Release specifically talks about the S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise, the 3 previous games (SoC, CS, CoP), their Metacritic scores, being exclusive to Windows etc. bitComposer are definitely talking about the S.T.A.L.K.E.R game franchise.

  10. CobraLad says:

    “Roadside Picnic” was a book, that inspired game and not the same IP. Its like buying Lord of the Rings rights and telling that you own Warhammer.
    Sergey Galyonkin already posted about it in his blog with proof that Grigorovych still owns IP.
    Those german dudes really got some shady foul tactics here in hope to sell some crap with hype.

  11. Unaco says:

    “UPDATE 2: It seems we might be looking at STALKER for bitComposer and a separate franchise to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Confusing, eh?”

    That it is. bitComposer definitely seem to think they have the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, and not some new STALKER franchise though, going by their press release/announcement. They talk about the previous 3 games, their Metacritic scores etc. They make a big deal about them having acquired this succesful franchise of games, rather than some new franchise with the STALKER (whatever that is) rights.

    • Shuck says:

      My experience with press releases by the game companies I’ve worked for is that the person who writes the release is often unclear on the facts of the matter, and tends to fill in gaps with their own story and spin. I have to say this is a pretty bad example of that.

  12. Zorn says:

    After what they did with Jagged Alliance, I have as much faith in them as with
    Electronic Arts and Syndicate franchise.

    • P34nk says:

      I concur. They did such a crappy job (and awful support) with Jagged Alliance BiA, I probably will not touch their product ever again.

      RIP STALKER. If only they keep doing a free-roam FPS like STALKER and not MMOFPS Survarium, I’d probably be interested.

      • kataras says:

        Look at some of mods, they have new maps incorporated and free-roam implemented. STALKERSOUP comes to mind but I m sure there are more of them.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Agreed- keep multiplayer out of this. By all means if you want racist 15 year old abusing you whilst deathmatching in The Zone, enjoy survarium. S.T.A.L.K.E.R stays single player.

  13. Hoaxfish says:

    I own the S,t,4,l,k,3,r, license… anyone wanna buy it for 1 million dollars?

  14. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    Maybe they’ve got the rights to adapt the first version of the stalker movie that got lost for obscure reasons. Alright i’m confused.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      No, that was already adapted into the first version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 that got lost for obscure reasons.

  15. Shooop says:

    I can’t tell whether to be elated or upset because this is way too confusing.

  16. bitComposer Entertainment says:

    The Stalker license has been acquired by bitComposer from Mr. Boris Strugatsky. The license we´ve acquired is only for use in PC and videogames. So from the legal side we (bitComposer) are the license holder of Stalker. In this very special case it doesn´t matter if it´s written with or without dots.

    However, we do not own the right of the pictured logo of Stalker. The right for this special graphic belongs to other right owners.

    • CobraLad says:

      Yeah, bad news for you, because it got nothing to do with three ukrainian Stalker games, which are not adaptations or works set in same universe.

    • BlackAlpha says:

      Could you please clarify if the license you’ve acquired entails permission to use existing game content, or does it only give you the rights to use the name “STALKER”?

      In other words, will you be able to create a game that is set in the same universe as the existing STALKER games, or will you have to create a new universe that is loosely connected to the previous games?

      Either answer is good. Better to have some kind of STALKER game than none at all. But lots of people, including myself, are wondering what we are supposed to expect from bitComposer concerning this news.

      Thanks.

  17. Muzman says:

    So this is weird. I guess they can make a Roadside Picnic game now. Cool.
    Seems like it could get legally interesting if/when they do and it overlaps rather a lot with the the Ukrainian series, which it seems like it must to be fairly faithful.
    I guess George Romero should be suing everyone for borrowing his ideas for every zombie thing ever (which also borrowed from I Am Legend a fair bit). So maybe it’s one of those cases.

    Would love to be sent out into The Zone to find a full Empty for the scientists in any case. Or a jar of Witches Jelly.

    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Southern Comfort says:

      Theoretically yes, it would be possible to make a game set in the same Exclusion Zone with the same atmosphere, but without the stuff GSC put into it (factions, Wish Granter and so on).

  18. MerceAR says:

    Whatever BitComposer does, it will come up as a bug ridden, rushed and with poor support game.

    JA BIA was exactly that. MAN, how could they think that a human being would stand it’s UI and Inventory Management. It took them a crapload of threads and rants in order to release a patch that eased the pain (it didn’t change it at all).

    Only GSC can make these STALKER games. Every other studio has a different approach and thought.

    Meh, we still got Lost Alpha, release approaching. Cryzone and the ocassional 14gb russian mod filled with stuff.

  19. Brise Bonbons says:

    If somehow this results in a game based (truly, not in “the same setting with dozens of gunfights” way) on the book or film, I will piss myself with glee.

    However, I have zero confidence in that actually happening. Guess we wait and see.

    Here, just do this: Hire Ice Pick Lodge to adapt the book or movie in the vein of Pathologic. All good.

    • Cryo says:

      I can see it. They’ll give you a tiny supply of bolts, and eventually you’ll have to sell all your guns to buy more bolts.

  20. fish99 says:

    It turns out Bethesda only bought the rights for the dots in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

  21. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    If they made a game in the Picnic setting, with the gameplay from JABIA, but with good writing… I would like that a lot. Unfortunately, there’s no way in hell whatever they are planning on making will not be offensively stupid, so I’m not optimistic.

    Boris Strugatsky RIP