After the collapse of S.T.A.L.K.E.R developer GSC Game World, series fans were left wondering what would become of the post-apocalyptic franchise. S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 was cancelled, as remnants of GSC moved on to create an MMOFPS titled Suvarium.
Well, S.T.A.L.K.E.R fans have a reason to smile today, as publisher BitComposer has acquired the rights to the series – and promises more games to come.
Earlier this year, rumors began to spread that Fallout 3 publisher Bethesda would be purchasing the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe. The publisher would have been a fitting choice, with their ability to craft large, engrossing worlds, not to mention post-apocalyptic shooters (see: Fallout 3). BitComposer however, was the publisher of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat, so it should be deemed an even more fitting choice that they own the series rights – they do have experience with the game’s universe after all.
The publisher plans to create new S.T.A.L.K.E.R games, with BitComposer’s Wolfgang Duhr stating the following:
“S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a reputable brand with a long history of success. Naturally, we’d like to tap into the success of this series, and we see a great deal of potential for the future.”
According to BitComposer, they own the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R game universe, but not the Roadside Picnic novels the series is based off of. Those rights still remain with the novels’ co-author. It was assumed that GSC Game World owner Sergiy Grygorovich also had claim to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, though that does not appear to the case. A BitComposer representative had the following to say to Gamasutra:
“We hold the license for PC and video games from the Strugatsky brothers. The owner of the license was the Strugatsky brothers. As far as we know, GSC never had the license for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.”
We’re glad to see that the series will still live on, though it is worth wondering where BitComposer will take S.T.A.L.K.E.R. next. Prior to its closure, GSC Gameworld was in the process of developing S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2, the fourth game in the franchise. Perhaps BitComposer could even contract Metro: Last Light developer 4A Games – whose staff formed from ex-GSC Gameworld employees – to craft the game.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was targeting a release on the PC as well as consoles, so perhaps we’ll see it next generation.
Update: According to an update from Gamasutra, Russian developer Nival suggests that BitComposer only bought the rights to the Roadside Picnic universe, and not the rights to the game franchise.
Polygon has posted a complementary claim from GSC Game World owner Sergiy Grygorovich, who claims to still own the franchise rights. Vostok games, developer of Suvarium claim to not have spoken with BitComposer about development of another S.T.A.L.K.E.R. title.
We will continue to update the story as more information surfaces.
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