Surviving: Vostok Delves Deeper Into Survarium

By Jim Rossignol on January 8th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.


Vostok, the Ukrainian devs who once worked on STALKER and now work on Survarium, have released another dev-diary to describe a but more about what they’re up to. Some of it is familiar territory, some not. Key, perhaps, is that this will be multiplayer, which is going to have all kinds of implications for our stalking of Survarium’s haunting ruins. This new diary discusses the black market, as well as things like player-injury. There are a few glimpses of the game world, too. It’s looking good.

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29 Comments »

  1. Jehar says:

    You’re right to say it’s looking good. It’s really difficult for me to fault it on any ground when compared to any other title currently in development. However, I can’t help but be frustrated to see things like skill point/level systems when these guys* showed us what a shooter/RPG could look like without a lot of arbitrary numbers. These are also the same guys* who made a really compelling self-contained game environment that went to great lengths to avoid feeling like a game and more like a sim. So on one hand, this does indeed look great on it’s own terms. On the other hand, I consider the heritage with STALKER and let out a frustrated sigh.

    *Granted, only 3 of the GSC guys are present at Vostok – 2 programmers and an artist. The lead designer lists Gears of War as one of his favorite games.
    (This is based on cross-referencing their Meet the Team blog posts with Mobygames. This conclusion is false if either of those sources are incomplete.)

    • CobraLad says:

      Bearded guy was responsible for script and ,I believe, Stalker game design. Also, there is an old joke, which tells that all ukrainian game developers worked in GSC. And its not a joke.

      • Jehar says:

        You seem to be right there, though mobygames doesn’t mention any involvement with STALKER per se. It appears he was also heading up Oblivion Lost? I’m not entirely sure that’s a plus to the resume :P

    • Baines says:

      I think you could do skill point/level systems in a STALKER game, as long as you were restrained about it.

      STALKER already had stuff like that to a degree, it was just outside the character. Weapons and armor available got better the further you were in the game. You also found better and stronger artifacts, as well as better items. You start the game as a fragile guy with the worst pistol and soon got the worst shotgun. By the end, you are a walking tank, able to shrug off all but the lethal border radiation zones and gunning down inhuman monsters and enemy armies with your weapons of choice.

      You could flatten equipment a bit, make the bad stuff not so bad, make some of the better stuff available earlier, and instead pace the game by putting some of the “growth” into the character himself. (And while I figure they aren’t going that direction, you could also make character improvement into minor tweaks, not major advantages.)

      • erutan says:

        Skills are a bit inevitable with multiplayer – if all stats are gear based then someone can just twink out a friend/alt way too effectively.

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        phuzz says:

        By the end, you are a walking tank, able to shrug off all but the lethal border radiation zones and gunning down inhuman monsters and enemy armies with your weapons of choice.

        Clearly I was doing something wrong. Started off outclassed by everything from dogs on up. By the end, still outclassed by dogs. The only way I even got to Prypat was by lots of quick save/load spamming and lots and lots of running away.
        I never did finish Stalker.

        • Baines says:

          One of the hardest battles in Shadow of Chernobyl was the first farmhouse mission, where you have a pistol, a knife, and some AI buddies that randomly can either clear the area for you, be nothing but cannon fodder, or outright play a part in getting you killed. I lost track of how many times I died there.

          From that point onward, the game mostly got easier. You got better armor. You got better weapons. You could start hitting stuff from a distance. Death became a bit less random, because you could survive a few hits and didn’t have to be bumping shoulders with someone just to hit them. You’d run from dogs at the start of the game, then you could pick them off before they could maul you, and later than that they were barely an obstacle. Instead the game was throwing sturdier monster at you and groups of armed and armored humans.

          A couple of areas later, you were taking on entire armed bases by yourself, and would continue to do that for the rest of the game.

    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

      I asked (How large is the team and how many are former GSC Employees) on their twitter and got this response, “There are between 15/20 people and a good 90% are former GSC”

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    As someone who would be attracted to this by virtue of being a STALKER fan, I think the two main things putting me off this are that they appear to be limiting this to individual maps / instances rather than a proper open world, and also the simple fact of being multiplayer.

    Aside from the fact that HUMANS SUCK (no offence RPS humans), I love the russian accents of the zone. I really don’t want John Q public from Minnesota or Basingstoke fighting me for my artifacts whilst breathing heavily down a RAZER Nose Mike. I want to keep my artifacts, and listen to men saying “ARRUGIO BROW” which I can’t spell but I think means ‘lower your weapon’, whilst his mates play guitars and laugh at indecipherable jokes.

    Being in a team? In The Zone? Nope (EDIT: Apparently its just one of the three modes. Sounds a bit Coddy, but co-op and PVE sound fairly interesting)

    Maybe if its Free To Play I might pop my head in and find out if it isn’t hacker / douchebag central once its released.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      HMMM actually, there is a PVE mode! I havent heard about this before, but it appears to be NOT team play or co-op. It also said the word “story”.

      HMMMMMMMMMM INDEED

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Even if there’s a PVE mode, we’ll have to suffer all the restrictions that come from an MMO – always-on internet, lag, and so on. Not great when all you want to do is play solo.

        That, plus no modding scene, a pity when you consider the very active modding community for STALKER.

    • lijenstina says:

      оружие убрал.

      • tihi says:

        оружие убрал would be something like oružie ubral in latin alphabet. “ARRUGIO BROW” is pretty close though :D

  3. Alphabet says:

    This may very well be great, but I deplore the trend towards multiplayer. It solves one problem – AI – but it creates more (the other players, for one thing). Obviously I’m happy that people get to play with their friends, play co-op, and so on. But I want more rich single-player experiences! I worry, for example, that the next Crysis or Elder Scrolls will be co-op, and screw that.

    • wodin says:

      Me too..cop out thats what it is..

    • Jehar says:

      Immersion is indeed at risk when approaching multiplayer territory. You can put all the work you want into the audiovisual experience of your environment, but all it takes is one player running through yelling WTB AMO to ruin that. This can be mitigated by implementing chat channels that can be opted out of according to player choice.

      The bigger problem is being brave enough to not impose arbitrary rules on who you can and cannot shoot. DayZ was a big pioneer in experimenting with the repercussions of a free-for-all environment, and I’d like to see more in that direction.

      Namely, I really think it’d detract from the experience to have a big “you can’t shoot this guy icon” for metagame reasons.

    • Necroscope says:

      One of the saddest deaths on the PC-gaming landscape has been singleplayer FPS (PC as lead-platform, or exclusive to PC). Can you name the last decent PC FPS? Serious Sam 3? Hard Reset? I’ve ran out of ideas…If only a game company could have the guts to seize the moment..

    • gekitsu says:

      i absolutely agree, dear sir.

  4. PleasingFungus says:

    I worry that the developers will make something different, and not make the same game I have already played three times (or more, with multiple playthroughs). I am terrified of any sign of innovation or change.

    Change is bad. Change is scary.

  5. Iskariot says:

    Multiplayer?

    Don’t tell me this is multi player only.
    That would be a huge, huge, HUGE disappointment.

    • mompkin says:

      from their website “Survarium is a free2play MMOFPS game set in the near future”
      Boo.

  6. eartsidi says:

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  7. Eukatheude says:

    Why does it look like a PS3 game?

  8. BlackAlpha says:

    I don’t think this game will be that good. Judging by their plans (small scale arena style PvP, traditional multiplayer modes with a twist), I don’t think they will do anything we haven’t seen before. It kind of sounds to me like they are going to shoot themselves in the foot. I think this game will most likely be average at best, like most F2P FPS games. I guess the people responsible for thinking up the great gameplay ideas like we’ve seen in STALKER have left their team. Or maybe they are now simply doing something they are not very good at.

    It’s such a damn shame they don’t try to create a STALKER clone because it looked like they got the hang of the STALKER experience and they were creating something bigger and better with every new game they released. But now they are creating something new, this thing that looks a bit mediocre.

  9. Shooop says:

    Just STALKER minus all the things that made it great – the atmosphere and lonely but hostile environment.

    Who even wanted this?

  10. razgon says:

    There’s always Stalker online, which strangely enough is actually operating right now.
    http://europe.stalker-online.so/

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