|Developer(s)||GSC Game World|
|First release||Shadow of Chernobyl|
20 March 2007
|Latest release||Call of Pripyat|
2 October 2009
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers) is a series of first-person shooter survival horror video games developed by Ukrainian video game developer GSC Game World for Microsoft Windows. The games are set in the area surrounding the Chernobyl disaster site, colloquially known as the Zone, in an alternative reality where a second explosion occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant some time after the first and causes strange changes in the area around it.
|2007||S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl|
|2008||S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky|
|2009||S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat|
Based loosely on the novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and film of the same name, Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games take place within the Zone, an alternate history version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. In the world of the games, experimental labs were made in the Exclusion Zone which allowed scientists to experiment with psychic abilities which arose following the disaster. Their experimentation resulted in a second disaster, causing physical and meteorological phenomena to manifest throughout the Zone, as well as the mutation of fauna and some humans. The Zone is littered with such anomalies: hazardous entities which seemingly defy physics, having various effects on any object entering them.
Anomalies also often produce items known as artifacts, objects with special physical properties such as anti-gravity, or absorbing radiation. People known as stalkers enter the Zone in hopes of finding such items for personal financial gain. While a great number of stalkers work alone, various factions populate the Zone, each with their own philosophies and goals. For example, the Duty faction believe that the Zone is the greatest threat to humanity on the planet and are intent on destroying it by any means possible; by contrast, the Freedom faction believe the Zone should be accessible to all.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine maintain a cordon around the Zone, attempting to prevent any unauthorised personnel from entering. Additionally, Ukrainian Spetsnaz units routinely conduct special operations within the Zone such as surgical strikes on stalkers or to secure specific targets. Other hostile entities within the Zone include humans and other creatures mutated following the two disasters, many of them possessing aggressive psionic abilities.
The protagonists of each game have their own goals separate to those of the various factions, however they are presented opportunities to aid in the plans of others. Generally, the ultimate objective of each game involves reaching the centre of the Zone, a task complicated by the various threats and hazards present therein.
Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)
In the first game of the series, the player takes on the role of an amnesiac stalker referred to as the "Marked One", who is tasked with killing another stalker named Strelok. During the course of the game, the protagonist uncovers clues to his past and true identity while helping other stalkers and fighting the mutated creatures that inhabit the Zone. Shadow of Chernobyl features 7 endings. These endings are dependent on multiple factors, such as money earned during the game, supporting certain factions, or how much of the protagonist's memory was pieced together.
Clear Sky (2008)
Clear Sky, the second game released of the series, is a prequel to Shadow of Chernobyl. The player assumes the role of Scar, a veteran mercenary. The lone survivor following a huge energy emission he was caught in while guiding a group of scientists through the Zone, he is rescued by and works with Clear Sky, a faction dedicated to researching and understanding the nature of the Zone. Throughout the game, the player can choose to have Scar side with or against certain factions in the area to help achieve Clear Sky's goal.
Call of Pripyat (2009)
The third game in the series, Call of Pripyat takes place shortly after the events of Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered the open path to the center of the Zone, the government decides to take control of it via "Operation Fairway", in which they plan to thoroughly investigate the territory before dispatching the main military force. Despite these preparations, the military operation fails, with all helicopters crashing. In order to determine the cause of the crashes, the Security Service of Ukraine sends former stalker Major Alexander Degtyarev into the Zone.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was announced in August 2010, with an initial release date scheduled for 2012. Sergiy Grygorovych, CEO of GSC Game World, specified that the video game featured a completely new multi-platform engine, written by GSC itself. On 23 December 2011, GSC Game World announced they would be continuing development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, despite an earlier announcement pointing to its cancellation. However, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was cancelled yet again by GSC Game World through a Twitter post on 25 April 2012.
Development of a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was announced on 15 May 2018 with a post on the Cossacks 3 Facebook page. The post links to a site that displays the text "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.2 22.214.171.124", implying a planned release year of 2021 powered by the Unreal Engine 4. In May 2018, Sergey Galyonkin, the creator of Steam Spy, tweeted that GSC Game World would create a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, using Unreal Engine 4. Shortly the GSC website mentioned that the company was working on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, and a teaser website appeared mentioning the release date of 2021. It was suggested that the game was still in the design phase, and was announced just before E3 2018 so it could find a publisher.
On 23 March 2020, GSC Game World published a screenshot of the game in development, promising they would share new information about the game in the coming months.
Metro, another series of Ukrainian first-person shooter games based on Russian post-apocalyptic science fiction literature, was created by some ex-members of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. development team who left to form 4A Games in 2006 before the release of Shadow of Chernobyl.
The former S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 team opened a new studio, Vostok Games, in 2012. In 2015, they released a free-to-play massively multiplayer online first-person shooter game titled Survarium in the spirit of the franchise, using ideas they created for the cancelled sequel. Their new project is a battle royale game set in Chernobyl, titled Fear the Wolves.
In 2014, West-Games, which claimed to be composed of former S.T.A.L.K.E.R. core developers (according to both GSC Game World and Vostok Games, falsely) launched a Kickstarter campaign for a spiritual successor to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. called first Areal and then STALKER Apocalypse. While it managed to reach its goal of $50,000, multiple concerns were raised throughout the campaign about the project being a possible scam, and Kickstarter eventually suspended the campaign two days before its deadline, for undisclosed reasons.
In 2019, Alexey Sityanov, former game designer and story writer of Shadow of Chernobyl, Survarium and Sketch Tales, teamed up with The Farm 51 to work on their Kickstarter project, Chernobylite. The game features similar gameplay and themes to S.T.A.L.K.E.R, and the environment is based on the real Chernobyl exclusion zone, done by utilizing photogrammetry measurements. A new stalker is introduced in the game as an antagonist, known as Black Stalker. Chernobylite released the first early access version of the game on October 16th, 2019 on Steam.
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has received favorable reviews from gaming websites. By August 2010, the franchise had sold over 4 million copies.
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- More details for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
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the game is currently in the design doc phase, and developers GSC GameWorld are hoping to secure a publisher at E3.(...)Galyonkin, however, suggests that that date could be wishful thinking, as the game doesn’t actually have a publisher at this point.
- "Here's our first look at Stalker 2". PC Gamer. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
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- Hall, Charlie (22 December 2014). "The original developer of STALKER re-opens, has a good laugh, announces new game". Polygon. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- Purchese, Robert (25 June 2014). ""Definitive spiritual successor" to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. hits Kickstarter". Eurogamer. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- Tach, Dave (24 June 2014). "STALKER devs working on survival horror spiritual successor Areal". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- Andy Chalk (19 December 2014). "Crowd funding firm denies links with STALKER Apocalypse studio". PC Gamer. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
- Kain, Erik. "Kickstarter 'Areal' Scam Is Back With 'STALKER Apocalypse' On Shady New Crowdfunding Site". Forbes. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- "Chernobylite - Official Website". www.chernobylgame.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
- Chernobylite Kickstarter Video, retrieved 17 October 2019
- Clayton, Natalie (16 October 2019). "Radioactive shooter Chernobylite enters early access today". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
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