Get Into Here: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Studio GSC Reopened

Back on the road.

Y’know GSC Game World? Oh, you do! The Ukrainian studio behind spookyhard FPS series S.T.A.L.K.E.R.? Oh, you must! You remember – they seemed to close in 2011 but held on a bit longer, still working on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 for a few months then cancelling it, and since only resurfaced to weigh in on confusing brand rights issues. See, I knew you knew them. Well, they’re back, baby! Boom! And other exciting onomatopoeia. They’ve announced a return to active game-making, and chatted a little about what went down, including about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2’s fate.

They’ve got a new site up and everything, but the real deets come from PR person Valentine Yeltyshev in interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

Look, see, here’s Yeltyshev explaining that though the sequel had a shiny new engine and scenarios written by the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. chap, “we started to realise that we weren’t ready to complete the game at the level of quality that we thought it should be”. He sez of its cancellation:

“It was a difficult decision, because the team was working towards a full-scale game, but they and our CEO understood that the game just wouldn’t be at the level we wanted from STALKER 2. There was also a problem getting interest, and the right money, from publishers. We were offered funding once we reached alpha. Actually we would have been able to fund the entire development ourselves, but we still weren’t sure we’d be able to sell it once we’d got to alpha.”

He notes that they still have what was made – the engine, a few levels, and a couple of characters – archived. But what are the reformed GSC making? They didn’t just make S.T.A.L.K.E.R., you know, with RTSs aplenty too. Divine what you can from this:

“We’re pretty sure about our fans. The market we’re in is quite old fashioned, they’re not 16 year olds, they’re 25-40 years old. We don’t think free-to-play is the right model for the game we want to make. So we’re making an old-fashioned, full price game, we think our audience will be happy about that. We’re expecting a lot of our old audience!”

Of course, games are made by people, not studio names. While Yeltyshev says GSC have “a solid team”, it’s certainly not the same as before. A large chunk of folks who worked on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. went on to found Vostok Games and make Survarium, a free-to-play multiplayer FPS with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-y influences. A few others, including series lead designer Yuriy Negrobov, ended up at West Games, the folks who are now having an iffy second crack at crowdfunding a S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-like. Others, well, who knows where they’ve gone to over the years?

Yeltyshev also kicks at West Games’ claims to credibility a little, saying they were mostly working on a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. browser game intended to keep folks interested until 2. “We would definitely win the legal action against them, but we won’t start it. They used a lot of the ideas from STALKER… I don’t know what they were thinking, starting that.” It’s a mess all right, that situation.

But you don’t need me to quote any more chunks. Go read the interview for the rest, okay?

26 Comments

  1. shinygerbil says:

    It’s time to get spookyhard

  2. TomxJ says:

    I’m reading Roadside Picnic at the moment actually so this is VERY welcome news!

  3. lowprices says:

    So is anyone from the original games at GSC now? Is this just going to be like Atari?

    Regardless, this is as good an excuse as any to reinstall the original.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      Mostly not. The real soul of STALKER moved to 4A Games long ago. Valentin Yeltyshev himself is a GSC old-timer, though.

  4. Terragot says:

    “So we’re making an old-fashioned, full price game, we think our audience will be happy about that. We’re expecting a lot of our old audience!”

    I hope they’re financially secure, as I’d hate to spoil my experience with the tempting offer of an early access STALKER.

    But god damn am I happy about the prospect of a new STALKER.

  5. squirrel says:

    In fact GSC had started to lose blood since 4A. But, that’s usual in any industry.

    And that perfectly explains why GSC has been holding the franchise right so tight all along even when it had announced to cease operation. It was planning a comeback all along.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      GSC started to lose blood even earlier — since Deep Shadows.

  6. CMaster says:

    Don’t just stand there, I said come eiiiin

  7. Conehead The Barbarian says:

    West games seem to be really iffy, and they’re also using the trouble around “The Interview” to get more interest. They’ve released some ‘stories’ about NK in the apocalypse.
    link to pcgamesn.com
    A nice quote from the article “To save you time though we’ll give you the basics: Kim Jong Un turns a bunch of people into mind-controlled zombies, people get mad and kill him.”

    *Goes and gets bargepole*

  8. dethtoll says:

    Just in time for my birthday today!

    Now let’s hope their boss doesn’t pull another Herve Caen.

  9. GernauMorat says:

    Oh yes please. If STALKER 2 ever gets released I’ll buy four copies.

  10. Razumen says:

    Wow, well, that’s one nice way to start a Monday off.

  11. icemann says:

    I wonder on which end of Ukraine their situated. I’d assume on the Western end.

    Hopefully the Russian militia guys don’t come anywhere near them.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Their HQ is in Kyiv, about 380km (236 miles) from the Russian border.

  12. Mittens89 says:

    This is probably the best gaming news i have heard since i found out a new Elite game was coming.

    If they need some crowd funding support for a proper STALKER 2, i am there. It’ll be my first time actually backing a game, and im usually against most of the ideas behind it, but id be all over this.

    Again, amazing news. What a lovely surprise, AND i just about fit in to their target demographic at the age of 25! Hooray!

  13. fupjack says:

    The world just went from “there will never be another Stalker” to “well, maybe it’s possible.” I’ll take it!

  14. SlimShanks says:

    When I scrolled down the page and saw this article, I was so shocked I started twerking in my chair and spluttering and coughing. I’m fairly confident that this won’t translate into Stalker 2, but the idea of GSC making games again pleases me greatly. They deserve better for their contribution to gaming.
    Honestly though, the Misery team seem to be the foremost Stalker experts at this point. If Stalker 2 was ever made, they should be consulted. And of course, anyone who has read my posts knows I’m not biased towards Misery at all…
    Seriously though, the genius of making a game where half the plot is in an underground bunker that you have to go find on your own. Could we have more games like this please?

  15. Monggerel says:

    GETOUTOFHERESTALKER

  16. manny says:

    If they were listening to fans they should just release a “Mod Release’ of the original game and sequel, where they polish up the game with all the best mods.