GSC Game World

Official Stalker Facebook page extends, then retracts, support for Areal Kickstarter

Andy Chalk at

The official Facebook page of GSC Game World, the now-defunct creator of the Stalker series, issued a statement over the weekend calling for an end to disparaging comments about Areal, the "definitive spiritual successor" to the Stalker games that's now on Kickstarter/a>. That led Misery Developments, one of the most prominent critics of Areal, to remove all such criticism from its Facebook page; yet now GSC has reversed course and removed all mention of Areal from its own Facebook page.

Stalker series saved from GameSpy oblivion via new patch

Tom Sykes at

Like a lot of you (I'm guessing), I've never even tried the multiplayer modes in the terrific Stalker series, but it's good to know that I'll be able to if I ever get the itch. GSC Gameworld's post-apocalyptic horror shooter games are the latest to be rescued from GameSpy oblivion, via automagical Steam patches, or if you don't own the games on Steam, one equally magical manual multi-patch for all three games. This will switch the multiplayer servers over from GameSpy to GSC Gameworld's own, slightly less risky ones (it's not entirely clear who's running them, as GSC was dissolved in 2011).

Stalker: Lost Alpha released, restores cut content to Shadow of Chernobyl

Phil Savage at

Usually, to make a STALKER mod, it's required that you make everything 700% harder, possibly while pouring homebrewed vodka into any available orifice and glueing beard-extending bear fur directly to your face. Lost Alpha is a little more subtle. It started life as a pure restoration of Shadow of Chernobyl's cut levels, but later expanded into a more expansive project: creating a new parallel story that takes place across these restored and recreated zones.

The mod has now been officially released, after an unfortunate leak dashed the creators chances of having their work become an official paid-for expansion to the series. Now, it's instead a great, free excuse to dig the oldest Stalker out from its bunker.

Stalker: Lost Alpha mod leaked, April 26 release date announced

Emanuel Maiberg at

A couple of months ago we wrote about Stalker: Lost Alpha, a mod that aimed to revive an early version of the game teased prior to release, which included more, bigger areas, and other features that didn't make into Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. Yesterday, the Hungarian team behind the mod, Dez0wave announced that some testers leaked a beta build of the mod, and the mod makers are understandably pretty upset about it.

STALKER: Lost Alpha mod video shows the promise of an expanded Chernobyl

Phil Savage at

People are never satisfied with what they've got. That's okay, we're an aspirational species. Although, I do question the healthiness of that impulsion when it comes to STALKER: Lost Alpha. It's being created by a group seemingly dissatisfied with GSC's final version of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. As such, they're trying to bring the game back to its 2002-era screenshots, when certain areas were larger, and more open. That's right: this is a group of people who want STALKER to be larger, more overwhelming and, of course, more harrowing.

They've been working on it for a long time, too. We last reported on the mod back in December 2012. Over a year later, and a new video provides a lengthy demo of their progress, and reveals why - despite its expanded bleakness - Lost Alpha is a place you may well want to visit.

Reinstall - Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl

Christopher Livingston at

Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Chris returns to the haunted, irradiated wastes of Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl.

It’s one thing to feel an overwhelming sense of dread while crouching in the darkened sub-basement of an abandoned lab at the stroke of midnight. It’s quite another to feel just as uneasy in the middle of an empty field with the sun directly overhead.

Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl certainly has its share of jump- scares and oh-shit monster moments, but what makes the game so memorable is that the neck-tightening tension never evaporates, even in broad daylight, far from claustrophobic chambers full of mutants. The sense of dread is like white noise: pervasive and constant. It begins with the sombre tones of the menu music and doesn’t end until long after the quit to desktop.

STALKER: Call of Pripyat mod Misery's new trailer runs through huge list of improvements

Phil Savage at

Major STALKER: Call of Pripryat mod Misery has a new trailer that runs through the additions planned for its v2.0 update. It's nine minutes long, which should give you an idea of just how much has been packed into this revisit. Wait, what's that, YouTube description? "Not all features of MISERY 2.0 are mentioned in this trailer." Yikes. In that case, this giant overhaul promises to be one seriously miserable time. In the best possible way.

Survarium interview: the devs talk about Stalker's spiritual MMO sequel

Marsh Davies at

When GSC Game World went nuclear last year, it was feared that the Stalker series would be buried in the irradiated rubble. Instead, the ensuing months have seen no shortage of scavengers attempt to lay claim to the ownership of the gloomy open-world shooter. Meanwhile, the actual developers responsible for building its aborted sequel have dusted themselves off and set up on their own. Though their new project doesn't have the Stalker name, it shares a lot of its DNA - albeit mutated into a new free-to-play MMO form. Alexei Sytyanov, lead designer at the newly minted Vostok Games, tells us all about survival in their online wilderness.

STALKER Lost Alpha mod expands explorable land, adds cut and new features

Omri Petitte at

An ambitious international modding team has taken on the challenge of expanding and adding to GSC's bleak survival-horror STALKER on a significant scale. The group's project is called STALKER Lost Alpha, and it's churned in the reactor core long enough for numerous screenshots and videos to emerge tracking the mod's progress.

STALKER acquisition update: GSC responds, say they remain "sole owners"

Phil Savage at

It seems to be the day for companies making snide shots across the bow through official statements. In light of yesterday's rather confusing announcement from bitComposer that they had acquired the rights to "the acclaimed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. [sic] brand from Boris Natanovich Strygatsky [sic]," GSC Game Worlds have posted on their website to say that actually, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. belongs to them.

STALKER license acquired by bitComposer [Updated]

Phil Savage at

For a while there, it seemed as if we'd seen the last of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and its pesky punctuation. Since STALKER 2's cancellation at GSC, with employees from the developer forming Vostok Games and turning their attentions to the similarly post-apocalyptic Survarium, the Zone seemed forever closed. Now, though, word comes through from bitComposer Games that they've obtained the STALKER license for further titles in the franchise.

Rumour Mill: Bethesda taking over STALKER 2?

Richard Cobbett at

That's what blogger and former 1C marketing guy Sergey Galyonkin claims in this post (A Google Translate version is here) - though Bethesda has yet to comment. If true though, it wouldn't be the first time it took over a popular post-apocalyptic series, and there's definitely a gap to slide into - the original team has long since set up a new company and moved onto a new game called Survarium.