It’s been a bumpy, vacillating road for STALKER 2 and GSC Game World, and in a move likely to jolt longtime fans of the series once more, the skeleton crew of Ukrainian developers now looks primed to chart a new course entirely.
Scantily staffed and frugally financed, GSC announced last December that, despite their belabored efforts of bringing the ghostly FPS to fruition, they were closing their doors pending a takeover by the Ukrainian government. Fortune changed briefly in January when the team somehow stayed afloat, resolving to carry on with STALKER 2 – but even then, their balance sheets were hanging by a thread.
Whether for monetary, quality, or legal reasons – we’re not quite sure – news came out today GSC is closing. A group of veterans from GSC have formed a new studio, Vostok Games, with a new project in the works entitled Suvarium. STALKER 2 won’t be joining them, and has subsequently been put on ice.
According to a series of tweets from the official STALKER Twitter page, the decision to create a new IP wasn’t dictated by financing, but rather because Vostok couldn’t attain IP rights for the STALKER license. Those belong to GSC owner and founder Sergiy Grygorovych, who apparently isn’t a part of the Vostok transition.
In the meantime, though, an official website has been launched for Suvarium, and judging by the one and only screenshot above, it looks kinda familiar (as in to STALKER – but a The Last of Us comparison could be drawn as well). Described as an “MMOFPS set in the near future” it begins after a massive ecological catastrophe. Instead of Chernobyl, however, the entire Earth has fallen victim: Cities have become incubators for infected plants and animals that somehow are intent on destroying human civilization. Towns are isolated; resources scarce. As scientists race to find a cure, the only survivors (presumably the players) are those with the ability to fight for themselves.
Vostok even kicked things off with a developer diary to explain the transition from GDC and their vision for the design of Suvarium:
Just as the STALKER series was often marred in secrecy, today’s news of a studio break up and a new IP came with little speculation and foreshadowing. For all intents and purposes, STALKER 2 does seem to be dead, and this article its obituary, but it looks like the same talent behind it is equally committed to Suvarium. The MMORPG model could turn out being a panacea for Vostok’s small size and resources, and might allow them to push their brand forward in ways STALKER never could.
Ranters, are you sad to see STALKER 2 go? Does Suvarium seem like a more interesting take on what used to be GDC’s traditional format.
Suvarium is planned for a PC release at the end of 2013.
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