Posts Tagged ‘S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat’

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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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.

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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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.”

Stop Making Scenes: Against Cinema In Games

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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Idle Musing: Watching The AI Fight

Dead!

Over Christmas I drew up a list of little things about games that have always intrigued, interested, or appealed to me. I’ve been adding to it over the past couple of weeks, and I’ll be writing about these little nuances of gaming in the coming months. These are just idle musings, but I hope you’ll find them to be food for thought. Today’s is about the odd joy in seeing AI entities getting into a fight.

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GSC Enter The Good Old Games Zone

That's no Zone

GSC have announced their arrival at Good Old Games with a bundled package of some of their most fondly remembered titles. Yes, it’s the Cossacks Anthology, containing Cossacks: European Wars and its two expansion packs. Now, I do have very fond memories of Cossacks’ take on the historical RTS, throwing around thousands of units at once, but of course it’s the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games that most people know GSC for. Further titles will be appearing but I’m not even sure S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is old enough to be considered anything other than a GG. The Cossacks Anthology is available here, priced at $5.99. Maybe if everyone in the world buys it twice, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 appears immediately?

The Skies Clear for STALKER 2

The screenshot-based 'light in the darkness' metaphors will continue unabated

The Stalker team is extremely happy! Why? Because we are continuing work on Stalker 2 after the holidays.” That makes me extremely happy too. That’s the official line from GSC, although it’s not quite as simple as that. Speaking to Edge, the studio’s Oleg Yavorsky reveals that “We are still in the process of seeking funding to back up the project. We are hopeful things turn out well eventually.” Which still sounds pretty precarious, but given the situation last month was that the studio and the game were flat-out closing down, it’s still a good day for Stalker fans.

Let’s hope they find a funder in time. Anyone got a few million bucks to spare? Notch, are you reading this? Alternatively, have I got any long-lost billionaire uncles who’ve been waiting for an excuse to get in touch with me?

STALKER: “There Is Cause For Hope”

What light from yonder Ukraine breaks?

A surprise Christmas present from GSC, at which there appears to remain some life despite the awful news that they (and with them Stalker 2) had apparently been shut down earlier this month:

“Dear Stalkers: We will not be releasing any official news until around mid January. However there is cause for hope! Good hunting!”

That is all. But that is something. And it’s the second claim that all might not yet be lost in as many weeks, meaning the rescue operation is hopefully bearing fruit. Good luck, brave Ukrainians.

Stalker 2: A Light In The Wasteland

The sudden apparent closure of GSC GameWorld and death of Stalker 2 is, for me, the saddest gaming news of this year, and a whole lot of other years to boot. Jim eloquently summed up why over the weekend. The waters of explanation remain deeply muddied however, so all we can do is hope that some glimmer of life emerges from the ruins. We got a small hint of that earlier, with the GSC Twitter account suddenly offering “We will do our best to continue. However, at this moment, nothing is certain.”
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On The Importance Of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

With the news that iconoclastic Ukrainian developer GSC Gameworld has closed its doors, putting the future of the Stalker series in jeopardy, thoughts turned to the games they had made, and the hopes we’d held for a sequel. There are a few reasons why the Stalker series is so important in the greater scheme of gaming, and as of 2011 those reasons seem more pressing than ever.

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Get Out Of Here: GSC Closure “Confirmed”

Noooo.
LATEST UPDATE: GSC’s twitter this morning announced there will be an official statement on Monday.

1c Ukraine’s Sergey Galenkin has blogged about the closure of GSC. He states: “GSC is closed, a fact confirmed by all. The team is almost completely dissolved, the state has only a few people.” Galenkin blames the cost of developing a PC only shooter for a European audience, and a failed console publishing deal, for the collapse of the developer.

The rest of the story, as it happened, below.
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“Stalker Soup”, Narodnaya Solyanka

Happy holidays!
So I’ve finally got around to installing the Shadow Of Chernobyl “mega-mod”, Narodnaya Solyanka. It’s a tangled compilation of Russian-language add-ons, put together by a Russian team, which has been roughly translated into English by enthusiastic bi-lingual Stalker-fans. The translation is interesting. Overall, though, Narodnaya Solyanka provides us with a vast amount additional content, including new maps, maps pulled in from the other games, and a daunting radioactive salad of minor Stalker mods. It hugely expands the size of the zone, and reportedly adds another several hundred hours of missing-driven content. It is also a bizarre and off-putting experience, as my initial dabblings have discovered. “It all gets better after the cave,” is the mantra that appears across various Stalker forums. And they’re right. Because the cave is a horrible mess. What lies beyond, however, is intriguing…

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Mod News: The End

Sniff

This is it. The end. This column you are about to read will be the last ever Mod News. Sniff. It’s been a pleasure, guys.

But no, really, it has. Over the past year, I’ve had a fantastic time as RPS’ mods guy, and it’s been a real honour to write this column every week – even if it is essentially just a roundup of all the latest happenings on a particular gaming scene. I can assure you that the end of Mod News coincides with the Hivemind’s bigger and better plans for mod coverage in the months ahead. You’re being left in very safe hands.

So, folks, would you join me for one more dance? Here’s the last and final week in mod news, including stuff for Half-Life 2, Neverwinter Nights, Oblivion, Morrowind and Stalker.
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Mod News: Excuses, Excuses

Where were you all last week? I turned up and no one was here, honest! What’s that? No, I’m not crossing my fingers behind my back, and you definitely didn’t see him heading off on holiday. What nonsense. Anyway, to make up for it, here’s an extra-long edition of Mod News to cover the past two weeks. This time: Crash Bandicoot, a Warcraft III art mod, a surprising number of trailers and a bizarre remake of Deus Ex…
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Call Of Pripyat Complete Is Complete

That's the mood he's going for
Popular Stalker mod series Complete has arrived at its third iteration, with the completion of Call Of Pripyat Complete. Complete hooray! The mod overhauls the visuals, the audio, the AI, the UI, as well as adding a bunch of other features such as the sleeping bag (for sleeping anywhere), and the fate of stalkers caught out in the emissions. There’s a trailer below. It’s rather pretty, in a bleak sort of way. You can completely download it here.
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GSC Explain The STALKER TV Show

No problem, I've already saved at the start of this bit.
The Stalker TV show was pretty much the most unexpected news item of the week, and I just had to drop a line to GSC to find out more. Below you can read my quick chat with GSC’s Oleg Yavorsky, in which he stresses that the TV show’s production is intended to be as faithful as possible the source game, and reveals that it will be timed to air on the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.
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Your Quest In STALKER 2?

Don't worry, he's actually just going to buy some bread.
That’s what GSC are suggesting with their Quest Contest. There are bunch of rules and stuff over on the competition page, but what it comes down to is this: “The best ideas from the contest may be implemented in the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game. This said, the developers retain the right to change the quest looks or implementation, while preserving the key author’s idea.” Quest authors will also get the name in the credits. They’re looking for less than a side of A4, so it’s not exactly an insurmountable challenge. Might as well have go, eh? It can’t look bad on your CV, either.