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: Clear Sky
[sound of coffin opening] Welcome! I am your (g)host, Craig FEARSOME, beckoning you in to this eldritch gathering of... LOOK BEHIND YOU! [sound of special effects budget being cut] Yes, there is NOTHING there. The very absence of fear is perhaps the greatest fear of all. No? But I used Caps Lock and italics! WhAt aBOut NOwWow? [sound of awkward silence] Fine, you are unafraid of typography. How about a list of the scariBOOest PC games? Hah. I saw you flinch! Now you are atmospherically prepared, ensure there are neither babies nor pets between yourself and the nearest toilet, lest your bowels react unfavourably to this mildly cursed list of possibly evil games, aka The five Scariest PC Games of alllllllll timmmmmme*. [sound of coffin closing][sound of Craig snoring]
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."
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.
A brave Russian mod team has challenged themselves to port the whole of GSC's survival horror, STALKER, into Crysis' more advanced engine. The project's called Cryzone - Sector 23, and is far along enough for the team to have released a video of the mod in action. You'll find the video embedded below.
The grim survival horror series, STALKER is getting its very own TV series. It's set in the Zone, and will feature many of the things that made STALKER great, like dark radioactive tunnels, deadly anomolies, and lots of angry men shouting at each other in Russian. You'll find the trailer embedded below.