This may be some of the best news ever or it could be completely dour in your book, but it’s been reported that the follow-up to the cult PC game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is still in the works but will now be backed by Bethesda Zenimax. I don’t know if I should give y’all a brief moment to sink that in since its polarizing news to say the least.
PC gamers should know what S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is but for those console gamers out there who solely think CoD is the best thing ever S.T.A.L.K.E.R. can be succinctly summed up as a distinctly European FPS which favored mood and skill as opposed to all out shooting. Released in 2007, the game quickly rose to gain a reputation for being downright creepy and allowing a great sense of freedom as gamers walked around Chernobyl hoping that a mutant or rogue wouldn’t suddenly surface to end their journey.
It may seem good that the deep pockets of Zenimax are backing the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. follow-up, but here’s the catch: the original dev team isn’t making it. That’s partly because the studio that made the game closed up shop but it’s also because Bethesda reportedly now has the sole rights to develop a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel. All this news comes from a Ukrainian blogger, yes there are vidgame bloggers there too, who reports that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. creator Sergei Grigorovich still owns the core brand but Bethesda now has the rights to do a sequel i.e. a potentially loose interpretation using the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. name.
All this may seem a bit illogical and like it’s nothing more than the silly rumor of the day, but as of now Bethesda have issued a formal “No Comment” statement concerning the whole matter. Of course in the video game industry we all know that saying “No Comment” is a nice way of saying something is true but not saying anything official since it’s not time yet.
The main source of concern for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fans right now is that Bethesda will do a weird entry in the series which ditches the survival roots in favor of something mainstream and that lacks a distinct European style. Sure, Skyrim may be good and all but Todd Howard and his team can’t make every open-world game Bethesda creates so for now we’re going to be left hanging as to what the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel will be. Some hope in the project may be restored if it retains the core elements of the first entry or looks at DayZ as inspiration, but for now I think there’s going to be a heavy amount of skepticism until an official announcement is made.
As to which studio in the Bethesda stable is developing this purported S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel it’s a bit of a toss-up. There’s a chance that a 3rd party developer could take the project on, but it’s also possible we could see a Bethesda studio tackle the game since the rumor involves the game being made on Bethesda tech. It’s been interesting that we haven’t heard a peep as to what Machinegames has been working on so maybe that’s a potential suitor for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel given how the studio consists of the founding members of Starbreeze.
In the end if this news does pan out I just hope that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 doesn’t run into the same problem as Prey 2 did since that whole incident is still in complete debacle mode.