Ukranian developer GSC Game World, the studio behind the well regarded S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, have announced their reformation three years after their disbandment in December 2011.
GSC, high on the success of three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat, were set to work on a full scale follow up simply titled S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. However, things came to an abrupt halt when CEO Sergei Grigorovich decided to dissolve the company because of “personal reasons.”
From there, the remaining staff at GSC largely migrated to one of two new studios: Vostok Games, who are working on a survival horror MMO titled Survarium, and 4A Games, famous for their critically acclaimed Metro series.
However, GSC team member Valentine Yeltyshev recently gave an interview to gamesindustry.biz in which he clarified that GSC was actively working on a new, currently unnamed title. Regarding the initial closure, he said:
It was a difficult decision, because the team was working towards a full-scale game, but they and our CEO understood that the game just wouldn’t be at the level we wanted from STALKER 2. There was also a problem getting interest, and the right money, from publishers. We were offered funding once we reached alpha.
[…]at the time we were aware of some pretty obvious obstacles that we weren’t going to be able to overcome. Maybe we needed more team leaders. Still, we’d built some levels, areas of the zone, some characters, a new engine. A completely new engine, written from scratch, which was already a next-gen engine at the time.
Regarding this mysterious new game, Yeltyshev confirmed that it wouldn’t be a free-to-play game, but an “old-fashioned, full price game” that would cater to a mature “25-40 years old” demographic. The studio still owns the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise and still has possession of all related assets and materials, but there’s no indication that a sequel for the series is indeed what is being worked on.
Also, Yeltyshev gave some insight into the sketchy Areal developer West Games, who became infamous for claiming to be senior S.T.A.L.K.E.R developers hard at work on a spiritual successor before their Kickstarter was shut down because of allegations of deception to both those claims:
These guys were basically promoting themselves as being the STALKER team, that they were working on STALKER, but that’s not true. When we were working on STALKER 2, we were also planning on releasing a browser game based on STALKER so we could keep the audience engaged until released.
That project was never finished. There were mistakes. But the guys at West Games, that was the STALKER project they were working on – a flash game.
West Games recently resurfaced on a different crowdfunding site, having rebranded Areal into Stalker Apocalypse, and given everything that Yeltyshev has just said, it’s unlikely that that project will ever get off the ground.