New screenshots of Survarium, the online spiritual successor to Stalker, have surfaced from the game’s alpha development phase. Stalker, the fantastic first-person shooter with a legion of devoted fans, set expectations high for Stalker 2, which was then unexpectedly and unceremoniously cancelled. Since the sequel officially died, Stalker 2’s former developers have set up shop as Vostok Games to pursue an MMOFPS version of the game that never happened.
It's nice to know that sometimes a headshot really is a headshot. Vostok Games has released some new details about its in-progress survival shooter Survarium in an interview with Worlds Factory. Designed as a free-to-play online first-person-shooter, the development team has now hinted at just how ambitious the post-apocalyptic MMO game world will end up being.
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.
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.
It looks as though Vostock Games might not be the only studio to form in the aftermath of the break up of STALKER developers, GSC. Russian gaming site, StopGame reports that a significant element of the GSC STALKER team have set up shop in Kiev, and have formed a new outfit called Union Studio.
There are a few tidbits to back this up. A description on UnionStudio's sparse LinkedIn page describes the developer as a "new company, created together with the best professionals that worked for GSC GAME WORLD and other AAA class studios." The page announces that they're making a "cross-platform action shooter which will be available for PC, Mac, PlayStation, XBOX." There's also a work-in-progress Union Studio site, which simply says "coming soon."
The big news this week was a surplus of information on Crysis 3 - but it's stealth action FPS Dishonored that creeped in and impressed us with its old-school open-ended sensibilities. Elsewhere, our hopes for STALKER 2 were finally and tragically squashed, but new tidbits of information just might have slipped out about Half-Life 2: Episode 3.
We also took a closer look at Sniper Elite: V2, Guild Wars 2, Microsoft Flight, and TERA. Read on for a full list of this week's biggest stories.
If this post eventually descends into a stream of profanity or a black pit of despair, I apologize, but it is difficult to face such dire news: STALKER 2 is cancelled, and the team has moved on to another project the will let STALKER's "ideas and spirit live on." The new project is called Survarium, and it's a free-to-play MMOFPS and I'm just going to start drinking now.
Things have been murky for STALKER 2 since late last year, when GSC studio head Sergiy Grygorovych apparently surprised everyone by announcing he was shutting down the studio and the development of STALKER 2.
Against all odds, STALKER 2 has risen from the grave. Or, well, the probable grave - given recent talk of closure and the dev team being "almost completely dissolved." It would appear, however, that rumors of STALKER 2's death have been greatly exaggerated. Straight from the official Facebook page of the horse's mouth:
"The Stalker team is extremely happy! Why? Because we are continuing work on Stalker 2 after the holidays."
So dry your radiation-tinged tears. The Zone lives on to brutally murder you another day. I have, however, gone ahead and contacted GSC in hopes of finding out whether development's proceeding full steam ahead or in the emaciated fingers of a dedicated skeleton crew. Here's hoping for the former.
Late last week, the PC gaming world emitted a collective gasp as STALKER dev GSC Game World went nuclear. Since then, very loud whispers have suggested that the team is "almost completely dissolved" - a sentiment that doesn't exactly inspire hope. GSC, however, hasn't gone completely silent just yet.
"We will do our best to continue. However, at this moment, nothing is certain," the developer tweeted, also noting that its website, forum, and store will remain operational for the time being.
When reached for comment, Russian-speaking acoustic guitar playing guy spoke Russian and played the acoustic guitar.
A Ukranian news site is reporting that the developers of Stalker and Stalker 2, GSC have shut down their studio. An "informed source" told them that founder and CEO, Sergei Grigorovich made the announcement at a staff meeting, saying that the company was closing because of unspecified "personal reasons." RPS spotted a tweet from the company denying that GSC has been closed, but that has since been deleted. If true, it would be a sudden and very sad turn of events. We'll know what's happening for certain when GSC make official comment.
GSC are currently considering using online-only DRM as a possible anti-piracy solution for Stalker 2, according to an interview with Ukrainian website KP spotted by Kokaku. GSC said:
"Protection from piracy? Part of the content will be located on the server and downloaded as the game progresses. Permanent internet access is required. Text information, code and quests will be loaded through that connection."
Later, speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, GSC clarified that this was only one of many possibilities, saying:
“The idea of implementing DRM came in as a possible anti-piracy solution. You know the severe level of commercial piracy we have here in ex-USSR region. This said however, there is no firm decision to go for DRM with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 as of now. Be assured, we do realize how uncomfortable this solution is for the players, so we’ll continue looking for most effective, yet acceptable for all, way of protecting the game by the time of its release.”
The STALKER 2 development team have been answering questions from fans on Facebook, revealing a few early details about the sequel. The game is being built in a new engine for console and PC release, but GSC make assurances that the game is still being developed primarily for the PC, and will contain Direct X 11 support. STALKER 2 will also have more of a survival element, and will contain new mutants to run away from. Read on for details.
The folks at GSC Game World sure picked an interesting time to tell the world that they're making S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 (lengthy, Castlevania-like subtitle yet to come)--it's 5:30 p.m. here in South San Francisco, and we were just about to hop out the door for a weekend of StarCraft 2 and booze. Maybe they wanted to beat publishers that are announcing titles at GamesCom next week in Germany to the punch--the convention's going to be packed with major announcements.
Within: a stock quote from a CEO, confirmation of the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s sales, and a release window.