Since the cancellation of STALKER 2, we haven’t heard much from GSC, other than the occasional peep when Vostok and West Games started fighting over the latter’s credentials during the Areal fiasco. The studio had closed its doors. But GSC has reappeared, with a new site, a new game in the works, and a few words to say about West Games.
“STALKER 2 was in the middle of development, but we started to realise that we weren't ready to complete the game at the level of quality that we thought it should be,” explained GSC’s Valentine Yeltyshev in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. This lead to the demise of both game and studio.
"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. Actually we would have been able to fund the entire development ourselves, but we still weren't sure we'd be able to sell it once we'd got to alpha.”
Everything from STALKER 2 has been saved, though. All the assets and the engine remain in GSC’s hands.
Right now, a new game is on the cards, but what it will be is still a mystery. Whatever it is, it won’t be - unlike Vostock’s Survarium - free-to-play.
"We're pretty sure about our fans,” said Yeltyshev. “The market we're in is quite old fashioned, they're not 16 year olds, they're 25-40 years old. We don't think free-to-play is the right model for the game we want to make. So we're making an old-fashioned, full price game, we think our audience will be happy about that. We're expecting a lot of our old audience!"
Yeltyshev says that the story of West Games is funny. “I don't really know enough about them, but the story is quite funny. 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. So when they promoted themselves as having worked on STALKER, I was quite surprised. We would definitely win the legal action against them, but we won't start it. They used a lot of the ideas from STALKER... I don't know what they were thinking, starting that. I haven't heard from them for quite a while.”
It doesn’t sound like that drama is going to end soon.