On A Stalka Tip…

…a new Q&A with developers GSC Gameworld mentions that they’re contemplating turning the sublime post-apocalyptic shooter into an MMO.

“If you mean an MMOG, then we are seriously considering it”, is the exact quote. No more details than that, but it’s more gossip than proto-videogames generally yield. Let there be much rejoicing.

Certainly, colour me excited. Stalker’s world is a compelling place even in singleplayer – as a living, breathing multiplayer Zone, filled with rival gangs of human-controlled Stalkers vying for survival, artifacts and cash, it could be astonishing.

Or, y’know, horribly broken. Much as I love Stalker, the amount of serious bugs in it has me concerned about just how horribly fractured the inifinitely larger project of an MMO version would be. Plus, passing guys called DeATHmAST3R_5000 would really trash the atmosphere. But still. The trading/killing/surviving infrastructure of the game is well-suited to persistent world play, so I’d love to see this happen. It’s either that or Fallout Online as far as I’m concerned, and the ongoing red tape of the latter means World of Stalkercraft already seems more plausible.


  1. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    We may have a clearer idea of how this could work after Clear Skies is out. I would like to see a sort of mini-mmo, with only 100-200 people to a server maybe, where you can all join various factions and team up to do this and that. Or maybe they could just put a multiplayer mode into the Freeplay. Is that freeplay patch coming anytime soon, or are they just waiting for Clear Skies?

    Either way, I think the next Stalker game is perhaps my most anticipated game of 2008 atm!

  2. Janek says:

    Yeah, I think it’d work quite well as a much smaller-scale persistant world. Sort of like the persistant worlds you got with stuff like NWN or Freelancer.

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Dear GSC,

    Please be *really* careful with this idea.

    Yours sincerely,
    Jim Rossignol

  4. FaceOmeter says:

    I’m entirely with John P and Jim on this issue

  5. Matt says:

    This idea reminds me of the little known and quickly forgotten MMO of a few years back Neocron. It had a huge barren wasteland to explore and a futuristic city to boot. It was my idea of gaming bliss and I got sucked into it for a good 2 years, at which point I realised that it was garbage and left. I returned last year with a friend to reminisce on good times past; like killing an annoying clan member repeatedly and using the sex emote (it was German what do you expect?) on his dead body.

    When not sexin’ corpses, the time was spent exploring the wastelands, usually alone, and finding high level mobs to kill with an exploit by hiding in a wall. It was an utterly broken game, but one that I have the best memories of.

    A Stalker MMO would indeed be immense, best of luck to GSC.

  6. Nick says:

    Worst idea ever.

  7. Garth says:

    I doubt it will be up to what we all want, but Christ (firefox insists that I capitalise that word) would I love the environment.

    It could be fucked up in so many ways, but the potential is making me salivate.

  8. adambaum says:

    Adding countless hordes of real internet type people to the craptastically scripted world that is S.T.A.L.K.E.R, would only add a whole new dimension to the titles currently lackluster nature.

    In other words, it’s a sucky idea.


  9. Dracko says:

    Not if the game was a bitch about realistic damage. Bunny hoppers would soon learn their place.

  10. DigitalSignalX says:

    I just tried my first FPS MMO (Tabula Rasa 3 day trial) over the weekend, and after about 35 hours of play (me=no life) I have concluded that making a FPS MMOG interesting enough to want to subscribe to is a LOT harder then the fantasy RPG MMOG’s I’ve tried in the past. TR was rather tedious, and the story line was pretty much blah, but NCSOFT’s nack for epic scenery and decent game play mechanics/graphics/sieges kept me at it for the whole weekend.

    O.M.G. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. O.N.L.I.N.E would have to dramatically expand the story and playable areas (say the zone has expanded into the entire continent) because the scope of the game seemed very narrow; aka, not one that would support 10,000 other random guys running around in it. As it stand now, it’s easier to picture a MMOG in Valve’s war torn Half Life universe then it is in just the magical area around Chernobyl. mmmm a million Morgan Freemans…

  11. Hump says:

    This idea reminds me of the little known and quickly forgotten MMO of a few years back Neocron.

    I was one of the few people who evidently enjoyed Neocron. Despite some horrible design choices, dated graphics and assorted griefers who were drawn to the game in droves, I truly enjoyed the atmosphere the game had.

    Re: a STALKER MMOG, I also like the idea of a smaller server population in order to allow the game to remain as close as possible to the single player experience.

  12. DigitalSignalX says:

    er.. Gordan Freeman.. rofl.

  13. The_B says:

    The original suggestion would have been quite good. If only for the possibility of it being narrated by a peguin for the irony.

  14. yns88 says:

    I think this would actually work nicely as a “Mediumly Multiplayer Online FPS” — that is, each persistent world should have a maximum of 250-300 “active” players (have logged in in the past two weeks).

    Players could start off in a PvP-free encampment, and when they join a faction, they could be trucked off to the faction’s home base. There would be a personal goal (become the highest ranked stalker in the server) as well as a team goal (have your faction dominate the server).

    I think this would work well with an FPS interface; the only problem is one that is also seen in regular FPS games: Some people will always switch over to the currently-winning faction, which would skew the balance a lot. I suppose if you mandate a maximum percentage of the server per faction it would fix this.

  15. yns88 says:

    Thinking about this has made me even more interested.

    Faction population percentages could be based on owned territory. So if Faction A owns 50% of the territory, and Factions B and C each own 25%, then 50% of the players will be in Faction A, etc.

    When Faction A takes over Faction B, then 75% of the players now are part of Faction A. (Perhaps you could even lower the server maximum and boot the losing faction players from the server, forcing them to relocate to another server). However, Faction C is not hopeless, as since the game is skill-based, Faction C is still able to invade a few bases and increase its userbase.

    This is very much like a hybrid of low-scale FPS online play and “massive” RPG online play, and I would be intrigued if any company made something like this.

  16. Jim Rossignol says:

    Perhaps it could be like A Tale In The Desert. Three month zone cycles that you can join at any time. If a faction hasn’t achieved victory in the time then the board is wiped with a huge blowout.

  17. H says:

    I’d much prefer that idea. There’s too much plod in MMORPGs these days. Warcraft isn’t properly persistent if the constant battling across zones achieves nothing. Will be interesting to see what Warhammer comes up with.

  18. Crispy says:

    C’mon Jim you know no publisher would fund an MMOG with an actual ending, there’s like, money to be made and stuff.

    Maybe GSC/THQ will think differently…

  19. Jim Rossignol says:

    I believe the GSC/THQ relationship is over. Clear Sky is independent at the moment.

  20. James says:

    GSC are really pushing the boundaries with slightly remaking the original game and adding multiplayer. Maybe time to go back to the basics. They could try a STALKER RTS a la Cossacks!

  21. Hypocee says:

    So, EVE Online then.

  22. kadayi says:

    I really like Stalker as an SP FPS, but I have to say that I think the gameworld as it exists lacks necessary depth of game play to make for a viable MMO in the long term.

  23. Garth says:

    I love the idea of trucking people off to the starting zones of the faction they chose. You could do an introductory ‘starting zone’ where people learn what to do, how to play, and how each of the factions thinks.

    And to avoid the “everyone piling onto the winning team” problem, you could do a few things:
    1) You start out as a ‘grunt.’ The longer you spend on the team, the more they like you. So if you switch before the other team wins, you basically get nothing.
    2) Make it so the more of the server % is on one team, the more that team needs to do to get the last bit of the server. Also, make inter-Faction fighting more common the more people are in it.
    3) In order to join a new team, you have to perform some crazy tasks, to make it tougher to do.
    4) After a certain point, the other factions should hate your character so much they’d never consider allowing you to join.
    5) Add ‘hold-out’ rewards for people on factions that were doing their damndest to stay alive even when vastly outnumbered.

    I could go on and on, but it could be avoided, and not by adding “LOLZ CHEK OUT DA PREDY ELFS ON HORDE, CUM PLAY ALIANCE GUYZ!”

  24. matte_k says:

    one of the best mods i’ve seen for this game allowed you to arm the locals with whatever weapons you picked up. It sucked before that someone you had repeatedly traded with was dead when you re-entered a zone, so the idea of human controlled players rather than ai is an intriguing possibility. That group of bandits on the hill? Smarter now, and more likely to kill you for your gear. The three guys drinking vodka and playing guitar round the fire at night? your best buddies in a spontaneous firefight with the military, who don’t like you camping too close to the checkpoint. Priceless. I’t would need larger maps though, and maybe re-integrating the vehicles?

  25. MrMelons says:

    So long as it doesn’t become a 40 man Shoot fest into the depths of a desolate laboratory so you can get your Epic Gear, I will eagerly await this new MMO’s arrival.

  26. Seth Tipps says:

    This would be interesting. This would probably mind up being a “niche” game, like EVE or WWII online, and would probably be a real breakthrough in terms of MMORPG gameplay. I’d imagine that they’d just throw in better armor, weapons, artifacts, and a few new options to the PDA, and let people go to it; after some fine-tuning of course. Perma-death anyone?

  27. yns88 says:

    I don’t think perma-death would be fun, especially considering how easy it is to die in the singleplayer game. However, perma-death after your faction gets wiped out seems viable.

  28. yegor says:

    One thing that scares me is …. You work away into finding a good gun and armour , and then suddenly die in the firefight , loosing it all as a result of an enemy taking it all off your dead body..

  29. Psychopomp says:

    Thus, players acting as bandits.

    I am in support of this idea.

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