Posts Tagged ‘S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’

Areal Kickstarting S.T.A.L.K.E.R. “Spiritual Successor”

When we first saw the announcement, I had no idea someone making a 'spiritual successor' to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. would cause such a mess.

If you took a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. design document and replaced the words “Chernobyl disaster” with “weird meteorite,” you wouldn’t be far off from Areal. Think post-apocalyptic open world survival FPS with non-linear missions, populated by simulated life and mutants, and fizzing with dangerous anomalies. That sounds pretty enticing in itself, but developers West Games also have a few former S.T.A.L.K.E.R. folks working on the game, including the series’ lead designer.

As you might guess, it’s on Kickstarter. However, West Games don’t have much to show of Areal at this point. Their pitch relies heavily upon S.T.A.L.K.E.R. footage and pre-existing artwork not made for the game (some even made for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). Given that they’re only looking for $50,000 (£30,000)–nowhere near enough to realise such ambitious ideas–it’s a mite concerning.

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All STALKER Games Saved From GameSpy Server Meltdown

GameSpy has officially exploded, and games are still fleeing from ground zero while green smoke and shrapnel billows every which way. It’s been a messy process, to say the least, with some games finding happy new homes while others collapsed on the street side, never to rise again. STALKER, thankfully, has made it out at the last second, with whatever remains of GSC releasing a patch for STALKER, STALKER: Clear Sky, and STALKER: Call of Pripyat to migrate online functionality onto their own servers.

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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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Green Hell Zone: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha Out Now

Although Survarium shares some DNA with the magnificent, terrifying ecosystem of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., the Lost Alpha standalone mod is the closest thing to a new game in the series we’re probably going to see for a good while. What began as an attempt to restore content cut from the original release of Shadow of Chernobyl has become a total overhaul of the game, with sections redesigned and reintegrated, and changes to elements other than maps. It’s been in development for five years and is now available, slightly earlier than originally planned. There are download links (including an official torrent) over at Moddb and you won’t need to have the original game installed to play. I want to spend my day in the Zone.

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Survarium Entering Open Beta… For One Day

We can be stalkers, just for one day

Do you want post-apocalyptic Russian survival shooting to fill the irradiated void left behind by STALKER 2’s cancellation? Well, the handsomely molded ashes of GSC Game World, aka Vostok Games, have something in store for you, even if it doesn’t exactly play like STALKER just yet. Survarium is currently in closed beta, but it’s going fully, completely open for, er, 24 hours this Friday. After that it will burrow back into the sooty loam of game development until the end of (nuclear) winter. Or until the start of the real open beta. Whichever comes first.

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Found: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha Mod Coming This Month

Who hasn't longed to see this little chap waddling around?

Like old Stalker tales told around the campfire, a lot of strange and wonderful things were once said to be in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, from naked green dwarves to driveable vehicles and a whole extra city. Several mods have restored various bits of cut content, based on leftover files and leaked dev builds, but Lost Alpha is one of the more ambitious. What began as a project to remake and reintegrate these leftovers has blown up into a new parallel story which includes (new) old content and a bits of the creators’ own design too.

In response to some ruffian leaking a scrappy old build from November, developers Dezowave Group have decided to release Lost Alpha earlier than planned then keep working on it. It’ll arrive on April 26, the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster which started all this.

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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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Hands On: Survarium

The first part of Vostok’s grand post-apocalyptic shooter plan, Survarium, has now started inviting batches of sign ups to their beta. It’s the multiplayer FPS portion of the game, and as such basically a test of the shooting, running about, and weapon unlocking game systems. It’s an experience that will be familiar to anyone who spent time playing first-person games online in the past decade, although set in the most lavish of Ukrainian apocalypses.

So is that offering going to be strong enough to power the game through to its pseudo-Stalker co-op core? Peer into my crystal lake of toxic weirdness to find out.

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Survarium Getting New Areas, Quests, Anomalies ‘Soon’

I really just want to explore this place - not scamper around it while shooting people. I mean, how will I even cling frantically to my safety blanket if I'm holding a gun the whole time?

I imagine that it’d feel terribly awkward to be Survarium. Yes, there are the obvious reasons – having such a silly nametag chained to your chest can’t be fun; also, existing as the first sentient videogame or whatever – but imagine all the guilt. Survarium isn’t STALKER 2 and it never will be, but longtime fans can’t let go that easily. Survarium-You would walk into rooms, and people’s eyes would narrow into disdainful slits. “You’re not your parents’ son, you… you… imposter,” they’d say through clenched teeth, revulsion quivering in their eyes. “But, that said, the more reasonable among us do think you still seem fairly nice on your own merits – especially in terms of environment design and world lore. We sincerely wish you all the best. Keep on keeping on and all that.”

“You abomination.”

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