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.
Posts Tagged ‘S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
RPS Feature Stalk To Me
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.
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.”
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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RPS Feature Who stalks the Stalkers?
Last week I finally got a chance to meet two heroes of the Stalker years, Joe Mullin and Oleg Yavorsky, who are now working hard as Vostok on the free-to-play shooter, Survarium. There’s an immediate tension when you mention the F word, and I think the legacy that resides in Survarium means that Vostok have to go that extra mile to prove themselves. Good looking shooters with a touch of persistence are becoming increasingly common in this new era. That said, Survarium is looking promising, and I was fascinated to see the game in play for the first time.
RPS Feature "good-old post apocalypse areas"
Of all the spin off studios that materialised after the disintegration of STALKER 2, it was Vostok who remained most faithful to the vision. This time, though, they’re taking quite a different angle. Survarium will be a journey into a zone of alienation with other people along for the ride. It will be co-operative and competitive and very bleak indeed. I spoke to Oleg Yavorsky about how the current closed alpha test was going and he told me “Ultimately, I think fighting real players is way more interesting than combating against programmed bots, don’t you agree?”
I had to agree.
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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.
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.
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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