Posts Tagged ‘S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat’

In the Zone: How Gamers Experience The Real Chernobyl

I am standing in the middle of Pripyat in what was intended to be the site of the 1986 May Day festivities. Now an expanse of cracked concrete, the iconic rusting ferris wheel stands behind me. No one else is in sight, as I’ve been left here alone to get on with some measurements. Looking down at the Geiger counter in my hand I slowly make my way back and forth across the area, taking readings at regular intervals. This is my last research trip to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the end of six months spent tagging along with tour groups and later helping as a tour guide.

I should be used to this space now, but I feel uneasy. Occasionally I anxiously look up and scan the thick line of trees and shrubs that border this area and break line of sight with the nearby ruined buildings. I try to rationalise my way out of this fear – I tell myself the worst thing that’s likely to happen is the embarrassment of trying to cobble together an explanation in Russian for what I’m doing if Pripyat’s police guard wanders by.

But there’s more to my unease than this. It’s not that I’m alone, it’s that I’ve been alone here before. Only the last time was whilst playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl.

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Impressions: Stalker: Lost Alpha

Stalker: Lost Alpha is out, but it’s not finished. Typical Stalker, really. The game, a fan-fronted effort to reconnect all the elements that were cut from Shadow of Chernobyl, was leaked during development. The developers have chosen to release it earlier than planned, and I decided to try it out. It’s still Stalker, still based on the first game, but at the same time it’s not. It’s as close to a remix as I’ve ever come across in gaming, bringing in new elements, but still reminding me of the original. It’s all different, but if you loved the first Stalker, instead of reinstalling the original and modding it, when this is fixed it’ll be your next install. I guarantee it.

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I Am Overencumbered: Why Game Inventories Matter

Rob Sherman, author of interactive fiction project Black Crown, asked if he could write about videogame inventories. We were powerless against the result, which pairs a personal journey through the English countryside with the a treatise on the power of possessions and the reasons videogames must do better in representing them.

There was once, and still is, a boy and a man called me, and one summer, two summers ago, I could be found tiptoeing along a main road in southern England, my boots full of dusty blood.

I had only taken them off once in the last day, and at that point I had nearly wilted from the sight and smell. I took my diagnosis on top of a chalk escarpment, a widow’s peak, a combover of woodland. The couple on the bench next to me were after-work drinking from cans, and looking at the wealds rolling away from them. They must have thought that some medieval leper had staggered out of the local hospitalers, holidaying on his stumps.

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Cloned Zone: Survarium Footage

Pretty. So very pretty.
My conflict-o-tron is clicking like that time I discovered a ‘free kitten, smoosh child’ lever. I could have had a free kitten, but then there’s that child. Not even imagining the cutest kittens and the worst children could get me to pull it. Believe me, I tried. Survarium has me in that same sort of headspace: a game from a lot of the Stalker devs set in a zone of alienation! Hooray! But it’ll start out as a free-to-play shooter. There is some footage of a match below, and it looks lovely and lush, but doesn’t play anything like Stalker.
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A Stalk In The Park: Survarium’s Big Map, Plantiest Faction

Good to see the Weirwoods at least made it through the Russian apocalypse. The First Men will be pleased.

If various apocalyptic games, books, and movies have taught me anything, it’s that you always side with the trees. Humans? Nah, they’re old hat. On the way out. This is largely evidenced by the fact that they always find some way to bomb, globally warm, or pandemic themselves to the brink of extinction. That’s not exactly the stuff of a winning team. Trees, though, they wither but never waver. Just a few stray seeds and they’re back in the game. So naturally, Survarium‘s Fringe faction worships them, because what else do you do with an unfeeling entity that doesn’t care if you live or die? See them in action – along with a new, impressively colossal map called Chemical Plant – below.

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Cluck You: Humans Must Answer Out Now

Fly like a robot eagle, through space. Fly right into the futuuuuuuuuure

This career affords me the option to write about space chickens more often than you’d think, but still not as much as I’d like. It’s a real shame, but this – this right now – is a most eggcellent moment. And getting to namedrop STALKER in the same article? Well that’s just the finger lickin’ chicken’s most prized pickins’ (I’m from Texas, so I’m allowed to talk like that). But yes: Humans Must Answer, a shmup by former STALKER devs where you play as genocidal intergalactic avians, is now officially out. There’s a celebratory trailer that tastes remarkably like chicken right after the break.

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. MISERY 2.0 Will Make Summer Grimmer

Oh god, I want a new Stalker so so much
The sun is beating the UK into sweaty submission. Flowers are blooming, there is blue where there’s usually grey, and lollypops are the staple food source. Summer has finally decided to show up and make the world brighter and sort of happier, so this weekend I closed the curtains and spent my off-time fiddling with Stalker. I decided I wanted to pretty up the original game: I wanted pitch black nights, livelier fauna, blowouts, lovely skies, and more interesting weather. Unfortunately I’d forgotten I’d already modded it, so I ended up with a broken mutant of a game. I’m reinstalling now. It wasn’t at total waste: on my hunt for the Shadow Of Chernobyl mods I discovered that the long-awaited Misery 2.0 for Call Of Pripyat is out this month. And it has a trailer.
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Survarium Enters Alpha, Will Expand Over Time

Two men enter, one man leaves. WHO WILL SURVARVE?

To this very day, I continue to be followed around by a gray little rain cloud that weeps heaving droplets over STALKER 2’s demise. I have named it Probably Clinical Depression – after my great grandfather, of course. But one can only linger on the past for so long. I know this. I am a mature adult with grownup feelings, coping mechanisms, and tastes in colorful breakfast cereals. So naturally, I’ve decided to pile all my hopes and desires on a thing that only vaguely resembles my loss, like any well-adjusted person would. Survarium‘s been unabashedly multiplayer since day one, and now it’s officially entered invite-only alpha. Does it at least capture STALKER’s spirit? I can only hope.

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GSC: We Remain The Owner Of The STALKER Brand

Update: GSC responded to our queries, pointing out two rather major items: 1) “BitComposer doesn’t have any rights as to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., except for distributing our game Call of Pripyat on some territories,” a rep clarified. “They may have purchased the rights for the game based on Roadside Picnic, but it has nothing to do with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or its universe.” 2) “GSC is seeking ways to continue the series, and we’re also considering selling out the brand to a decent developer or publisher.” Hear that? Somebody amazing, BUY STALKER.

Original: I always wanted to be able to tell people STALKER will never die, but I’m not sure I wanted it to be like this. First, German publisher bitComposer claimed to have obtained the rights to develop games about Chernobyl’s implausibly bad luck with nuclear power via a book-series-shaped backdoor. When doubt was cast upon the validity of their claim, they confirmed to Jim that the rights are theirs, but hesitated to comment any further as to what that could mean for the series or the sadly defunct STALKER 2. Now, though, the thought-to-be-corpsified remains of original STALKER dev GSC Game World have caught wind of the controversy, and they’re returning fire with fighting words.

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

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.