With a new patch the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series will retain multiplayer following the end of GameSpy.
The GameSpy multiplayer network shut its logic gates for good at the end of May 2014, ending the online multiplayer capabilities of more than fifteen years’ worth of games. Since the service first announced its intention to close down players have been in an uproar over the possibility of losing access to a core part of their favorite games. For some games, the multiplayer is lost for good. For others, user-made patches are helping to keep them alive in lieu of developer interest. For the lucky few, official patches are being released to allow the games continued support through other service providers.
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series — Clear Skies, Shadow of Chernobyl, and Call of Pripyat — are popular games that provide players with a unique blend of survival horror and first person combat, all set against a dark background of nuclear fallout and nigh-Lovecraftian horrors. Known for their foreboding atmosphere and tense gameplay, the games are in many cases remembered more for their single player experiences than multiplayer. Despite this, continued support for the titles is a wonderful thing, and with any luck the GSC Gameworld servers now being used will keep the titles alive for a long time into the future.
The patch will be automatically updated to users who own any of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles on Steam, and is also available as a universal patch for all three games from the developer’s own web site. While many players may be annoyed by the necessity to set up new multiplayer profiles, as well as the loss of all rankings associated with the old system, support seems to be planned for some time.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Skies, Shadow of Chernobyl, and Call of Pripyat are far from the only games to be affected by GameSpy’s decay and subsequent closing. They are far from even being the most high-profile titles on the long list of games that are losing their multiplayer components due to the service ceasing. With other notable titles like Borderlands and the A.R.M.A. series already making their moves away from the service, though, there is still hope that as many titles will survive the change as possible with their multiplayer portions intact. Unfortunately, for many smaller games it is likely that we will never see online support again.
For more information on the GameSpy shut down, check out our own article from back when it was first announced to see how far reaching the effects truly are.