Posts Tagged ‘S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’

Stalk This Way: Survarium Alpha

The first players invited to Survarium’s alpha have been playing for a while now but a tweet from the team suggests that they are almost ready to open the gateway to their apocalyptic doomscapes, in which it is currently possible to engage in a team-based PVP mode. If you’d like to shoot people in the remnants of civilisation, or would just like to see how much like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. this sort of thing can possibly be, this is the place to enter your details. The experience should certainly be more like a trip to the Zone than it was previously as recent updates have added those lovely reality-distoting, gut-bursting anomalies. Hurrah.

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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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Stalk Them: Survarium After Alpha Testers

Rising like a hideously mutated phoenix from the ashes of STALKER 2 is Survarium. Although, as is well established in Jim’s interview with the team from earlier this year, the F2P MMO is deliberately a very different game. And now it’s a game for whose alpha you can register.

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Surviving The Future: Vostok Talk Survarium


When GSC collapsed and seemed to take STALKER 2 with it, there was immediately a ray of light: Vostok, a team consisting of a large section of the original Stalker development team, now making their own game, Survarium. While the art style and atmosphere look astonishingly similar to that classic open-world shooter, what we’re looking at here is a free-to-play MMOFPS. Quite a different proposition indeed, despite powerful influences from the Roadside Picnic/Zone mythology which underwrote the original GSC games.

With Vostok’s recently-announced development timeline showing a Survarium beta happening in 2013, I thought it might be a good idea to catch up Oleg Yavorsky, the company’s spokesman, and a fellow I had previously conducted numerous STALKER interviews with over the years. Read on below to see how we got on.
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Surviving: Vostok Delves Deeper Into Survarium


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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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.

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Of Space Chickens And Men: Humans Must Answer

Looks just like STALKER, right?

Was my decision to write this story influenced strongly by the fact that I’d get to include the phrase “space chickens” in a headline? Future scholars will argue over the answer to that very question for generations, and they’ll be wasting their time because duh. But eggstraterrestrials galaxy-faring coop-flyers are – believe it or not – only part of what makes Humans Must Answer intriguing. The other half of that equation, then, is the oh-so-silly shmup’s pedigree. Developer Sumom Games, you see, rose from STALKER 2’s irradiated ashes when GSC Game World ceased to be. So now the team’s making shmups starring “intelligent and dangerous chickens,” naturally. Apparently, though, the storyline – which sees said chickens encounter hostile humans – is “subtle and surprising.” I honestly can’t tell if they’re joking.

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Happy Stalktober: Survarium’s First In-Game Footage

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. You know, aside from, um, the apocalypse.

STALKER 2 might be rifling through the belongings of irradiated angels, but now we’ve got Survarium to take its place. Or, well, I suppose it’s actually tearing STALKER’s place to tiny shreds, rearranging what’s left, and sprinkling in all sorts of shiny (read: dingy, dilapidated) new bits of its own – sort of like a collage that seems to be a familiar picture when you’re far away, but reveals its true colors as you get closer. So this is Survarium. At any rate, it continues to both intrigue and worry me – especially now that we have some snippets of actual in-game footage to work with. Take a side in my vicious internal conflict after the break.

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Bethesda Have Rights To STALKER, Claims Galyonkin


RussianUkrainian blogger and marketing man Sergey Galyonkin – who tipped off the closure of the STALKER 2 project earlier this year – has claimed that Bethesda now have the rights to make a publish a STALKER game. They apparently do not have rights to the extended universe. GSC owner Sergei Grigorovich has not sold the brand, but apparently Bethesda could now make a game based on the property with their own technology. We’ll report more on this as we get it.

This follows on from the closure of STALKER 2 earlier in the year, an event which culminated in Ukrainian spin-off studios such as Survarium devs, Vostok.

We’ve contacted Bethesda for a statement. UPDATE: Currently they are saying “No comment.”

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You Winarium Or You Diearium: Survarium

A new developer diary for Survarium, which is not STALKER 1.5, STALKER 2 or STALKER Online, fails to dispel such notions entirely by referring to anomalies and artifacts at the first possible opportunity. A finely edited montage of horrors explains how the world died this time around and creeping botanical nightmares make even the talking head sections quite unnerving. Then there’s explanation of levels, purchases and perks, and the two game modes: team combat and co-op. Then, right at the end, a man with a magnificent beard appears to talk about One More Mode (cue: Daft Punk’s One More Time).

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Stop Making Scenes: Between Accident And Animation

A game

‘Cinematic’ should rightfully be a dirty word when discussing games and yet Max Payne 3’s marketing wears it proudly, like a sweat-stained vest or an inappropriately jaunty tie. A cutscene is cinematic, every detail and angle just so, no room for accident or deviation, but to aspire to a ‘cinematic’ experience during play is to ignore so much of what makes experiences within a game unique to the form. We run, gun and react in worlds that rely, for the enjoyment they bring, on the accidental and the curious as much as they require adherence to a plan. Here’s to the unexpected, the unplanned and the unforgettable.

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Crysis, Meet STALKER: CryZone – Sector 23


I had a jolly good time with Crysis, mostly just watching things fall over and cooing with delight, but if I could have changed one thing about it I would have made it less about wearing a nanosuit and punching people through buildings and more about being STALKER. Nothing against Crysis, it’s just my way of looking at things. In my least impressive moments I’ll rabidly argue that Peggle should be more like STALKER. Turns out I’m not alone, on the Crysis front at least, as a group of Russian modders by the name OWL Game Studio have been working on a Zone-based anomaly-ridden bleakness of an experience called CryZone: Sector 23. The stabilisers are coming off and it’s going to be a standalone game.

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