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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. dev GSC denies closure via Twitter

Fri 09 Dec 2011 3:59pm GMT / 10:59am EST / 7:59am PST
Development

But tweet vanishes soon after, giving rise to fresh confusion

GSC Game World, creators of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, is rumoured to have been closed down, with the in-progress S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 reported as being cancelled by the same sources.

Initially, PC gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun reported on a Ukranian news story claiming that owner and founder Sergei Grigorovich had closed down the studio, dissatisfied with progress on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.

The company's official Twitter feed soon responded with a Tweet saying: "No we have not closed GSC or cancelled #stalker2". However, that tweet has now disappeared from the feed, leaving considerable confusion over the fate of the outfit.

The original Ukranian report also makes reference, although it is stressed to be second hand rumour, to "interest from one of the security agencies" which may have played a part in the suspected closure. Given the sensitive nature of the Chernobyl area in which the series is based, government intervention would not seem inconceivably far-fetched.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has been a PC exclusive series for its three instalments so far, but rumours of console variants were fuelled by the studio itself prior to the release of Shadow of Pripyat in 2009. Distribution of the series in Europe was originally handled by THQ, before Deep Silver took over for the second game. For the third, German company bitComposer Games secured worldwide publishing rights.

Around 40-50 people are thought to be employed at the studio. GSC Game World has been contacted for official clarification.

12 Comments

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
This would be a terrible shame. Sure, the games weren't all so bug-free... however the skill in crafting those games was very high and if they are closed i hope the people responsible manage to find employment elsewhere in the industry and bring their talent to bear on other projects.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Sergey Galyonkin
Marketing Director, EMEA

24 0 0.0
GSC is closed, sorry.

And no, rumours about security agency are just that - rumors.

Posted:2 years ago

#2
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is one of the most original FPS games to be made in the last decade, alongside Dead Island and very few other titles. It would truly be a shame if we lived in a world where the only successful franchises were made by big studios with little to no interest in pushing the envelope of gaming beyond the occasional killstreak...

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,107 1,089 1.0
Where is your Russian oligarch ruining the competition when you really need him?

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Bonnie Patterson
Freelance Narrative Designer

159 431 2.7
It's a sad day - S.T.A.L.K.E.R was a mind-blowing, engrossing game, especially when played alone in the house with the lights off and no-one to hear me shriek like a little girl.

In particular, I wanted to see that A-Life code get refined, develop and grow over years until it reached the point where the game would write itself. Add some MMO code, stick it up on a server the size of Estonia and send groups of eager students in on expeditions to support their Virtual Zoology and Artificial Anthropology degrees. They discover the horrible thing that happens when a Whirlygig anomaly eats someone's kitchen and the FRAPS footage is banned in 36 countries.

Um, where was I?

One thing that seems very wrong with GSC is their marketing. I had to be introduced to STALKER through word of mouth, as were the friends who told me about it. Looking at their website, GSC seem to have had a strong localized fan community with whom they had an almost-intimate relationship, but worldwide I never really felt their presence and their website has its last listed press release as 2008.

We've seen a number of closures these last few years that prove horribly that no matter how bright some few areas of talent at a company are, they are all for nothing if the rest of the firm is - pardon my Anglo-Saxon - shite. Real Time Worlds, with their amazing art and brilliant concepts became a black, money-eating pit when their project management ate too many sweets and got the attention span of a gadfly, then combined it with an entirely-too-enthusiastic business model ("Subscription or credits? Let's use ALL OF THEM! SQUEE!") Team Bondi's management apparently mistook himself for Emperor Caligula and made all their potential distributors back away slowly and now GSC's marketing department were apparently walking around Kiev in a sandwich board instead of promoting their enormously playable, broad-appeal game to their GIANT POTENTIAL WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE (*breaks off in tears*).

There's always a very very sad feeling to the closure of a beloved studio, but it's much worse in the present economy and doubly so as it appears that the press found out before the staff did. My sympathies and best wishes to the former staff - I hope we'll see your talents in use again soon.

(Note that all my comments above are based on what I concluded based on what I saw in the press etc - they're highly personal and possibly wrong. If anyone out there wants to correct me on my understanding of the reasons for collapse of these establishments, I welcome it.)

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
This is a shame - I'm not a PC gamer so have never played the Stalker games, but they're very acclaimed within their field and seemed to be a moderately successful PC game developer who, while they didn't have huge success, seemed to be doing okay for themselves. Maybe another studio or publisher could rescue them - how about CD Projekt?

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Andy Ross
Game Designer

5 0 0.0
If this is true (and it seems to be) then this is a true tragedy for gaming. GSC created one of the best, most original IPs in recent time and I'm extremely sad to see it (and them) go. So much for my hopes for a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. MMO...

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Edward Buffery
Pre-production Manager

149 96 0.6
I'm actually playing through Shadow of Chernobyl right now and loving it. Such a shame to know the studio is closing, I nearly went to visit them at one point.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Jas Purewal
Solicitor

35 0 0.0
A real shame - my best gaming moments derive from Stalker games.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

James Ingrams
Writer

215 85 0.4
GSC Gameworld released a preque, of sorts, to the STALKER series in 2000 with a game called Codename: Outbreak. It had 14 huge wide open levels, that you could take on anyway you wanted. The game was based on aliens arriving on Earth on a comet and infecting humans, and had the brilliant AI and gameplay we were going to see in STALKER! You had two soldiers, one AI, that you could switch between ad-hoc. You had one weapon that could convert into multiple weapons and the game was just as scary in parts as STALKER!

If graphics don't bother you, I would highly recommend you find and play this title to make up for no STALKER 2. It truly does show the genius of GSC Gameworld to produce open world shooters!

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Patrick Ward
Co-Founder/Art Director/Artist

2 0 0.0
I've been there many times so my thoughts are with the staff. My own view is that Stalker ranks up higher than most of the big name franchises. They drip with atmosphere and suspense. A very sad loss.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Lenny Raymond
Vice President, Strategy & Development

11 0 0.0
I hope something great rises from the ashes. GSC had a singular vision with the STALKER series. While the games weren't fantastically polished at ship, and they certainly could have been marketed better, GSC really achieved something creatively with them. Really fun, and nothing else like them.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

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