Rumor: Bethesda Claims S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Rights

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Rumor: Bethesda Claims S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Rights

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The rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise are reportedly now in the hands of Bethesda.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among fans of post-apocalyptic shooters late last year when word got out that the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 plug had been pulled. For gamers who prefer their end-of-the-world nightmare scenarios grim, punishing and resolutely unironic, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise was an unending hotshot of perfect bleakness, and the loss of the long-awaited full sequel - especially after GSC Game World had finally pulled it all together for the last S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, Call of Pripyat - was a real blow.

But fret not! Or at least, fret about something else, because the word from Sergey Galyonkin is that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is not dead and buried, but is instead in the hands of Bethesda. Between a horrifically mangled Google translation and the good folks at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it appears that the studio behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises now holds the rights to develop and publish a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, although the rights to the brand remain with GSC Game World boss Sergei Grigorovich.

And who is this Galyonkin guy? He was formerly the director of marketing at S.T.A.L.K.E.R. publisher 1C company, and is also the fellow who confirmed the closure of GSC Game World and the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, at least in its current state. He has a pretty solid track record of knowing what he's talking about, in other words.

None of this is to say that Bethesda is currently working on a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, and the more cynical-minded folk out there might suggest that the company picked up the game rights simply to eliminate a Fallout competitor. But that's an unlikely proposition; the two games are only superficially similar, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R., despite its genius, has nowhere near enough of an audience to pose a threat to Fallout. It does feature the sort of sprawling, open world that Bethesda games are famous for, however, and before everything fell apart GSC Game World had expressed serious interest in broadening its audience by bringing the franchise to consoles.

Is it? Will it? Could it? Would it? All Bethesda has to say about the situation at this point is, "No comment."

Source: Galyonkin.com, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun

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The world of Stalker compared with the way Bethesda makes sandbox games could make for one epic game.

Whelp... we wouldn't have seen another Stalker anyway, with GSC going under.

I'm curious as to what the implication of Bethesda NOT owning the brand of Stalker are. Does this mean they can't expand on the existing universe?

Well, the horrendous amount of bugs that any given S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game has show that the franchise is a perfect fit for Bethesda and their patented "Invisible QA Department."

In all honesty, at least it's not dead. The franchise has a lot of potential and even though they are VERY rough around the edges at the best of times, an incredibly amazing game is within each one. I only hope that whoever ends up actually working on this title, be it id, Bethesda Softworks or anyone else under the ungodly Bethesda rule, gives it the proper time, attention and polish that a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game deserves.

And God help them if it sucks, because ruining that franchise would put any developer in a sink hole they can't get out from, both from a sales perspective and a fan backlash.

Calumon: I preferred it when fans kept people cool, not yelled at everyone.

I don't mind, the Stalker series were already a bug riddled mess, it would perfectly fit Bethesda's lineup.

Jack and Calumon:
Well, the horrendous amount of bugs that any given S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game has show that the franchise is a perfect fit for Bethesda and their patented "Invisible QA Department."

SupahGamuh:
I don't mind, the Stalker series were already a bug riddled mess, it would perfectly fit Bethesda's lineup.

I only just bought the series last week in the Steam sale, but supposedly the "Complete" mod fixes many of the bugs people complained about.

UNHchabo:

Jack and Calumon:
Well, the horrendous amount of bugs that any given S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game has show that the franchise is a perfect fit for Bethesda and their patented "Invisible QA Department."

SupahGamuh:
I don't mind, the Stalker series were already a bug riddled mess, it would perfectly fit Bethesda's lineup.

I only just bought the series last week in the Steam sale, but supposedly the "Complete" mod fixes many of the bugs people complained about.

"Fix" is a very, VERY strong word in this circumstance. Being barely playable would be more accurate. The games have always been a mess, whether I was particularly unlucky, I don't know, but it's taken me several fresh files to see the end of each game, and it honestly wasn't worth it.
I'd rather Bethesda pushed the rights on to someone else or buried them, focusing on one good post-apocalyptic game at a time and actually making something remotely passable.

UNHchabo:

Jack and Calumon:
Well, the horrendous amount of bugs that any given S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game has show that the franchise is a perfect fit for Bethesda and their patented "Invisible QA Department."

SupahGamuh:
I don't mind, the Stalker series were already a bug riddled mess, it would perfectly fit Bethesda's lineup.

I only just bought the series last week in the Steam sale, but supposedly the "Complete" mod fixes many of the bugs people complained about.

I watched my little brother play it with the "Complete" mod, actually and still saw bugs actually, one after the other. The first came after he stabbed everyone in a camp for giggles and because the knife is stupidly overpowered, where he saw someone sleeping a foot off the ground and 8 feet from his bed, slowly floating over to the bed. When he got there, he then decided to faze in and out of the mattress for about 10 seconds before getting up and I presume he wanted to greet him, but instead he ended up moving his mouth up and down and snoring at him, all while staring right in his face and crossing his arms as if he was deliberately trying to get on his tits.

The games are and always will be bug riddled messes, and the problems go beyond what mods can do, it is infested to the point where fumigation for months on end would be the best solution.

Calumon: Even his snoring had an accent. >.<

I'm sure some people are going to be pretty pissed about this, but all I can think about is the game will be:

image

that is going to be "fun".
-----------------
its pretty damn sad that it seems like only a handful of developers survive.
bedestha, bioware and square enix are eating everything up.

Some people say the STALKER games were "broken," although I suspect those people don't really understand what that actually means, but I never had any such issues, even with the original Shadows of Chernobyl. I did some .ini tweaking to improve the graphical performance (I think I was playing on a Radeon X800 at the time) and it was actually a pretty solid experience. Definitely Eastern European, with all that entails, but no worse from a bug/glitch standpoint than (dare I say it) a standard Bethesda release. I never really understood why people say the "Complete" mod is necessary to make it playable. It changes and adds things, yes, and may very well make the game "better," but it's hardly unplayable out of the box.

I'm on the fence here. Good news, but Bethesda has been annoying me as of late.

Terrible, terrible news, if true.

Bethesda is completely the wrong people to make a STALKER game with their dead, static worlds where nothing happens if it's more than 10 yards from the player.

They wouldn't understand the glory of the Zone being completely oblivious to you. The times you stumble over a corpse and wonder what happened. Or see a fellow stalker shooting it out with bandits and lend him and a hand followed by a wary silence as you loot the corpses with him.

What STALKER is best at is making a living, breathing world that lives on without you. When I quit Skyrim I know nothing will happen until I start it again. In STALKER it feels like the clock will keep running in the Zone.

I urge all of you who think this is anything but terrible to read this to better understand why it's so terrible.

People are really going Ape-Shit over this one again even when it is still just a rumor. Look I'm MASSIVE Stalker fan (I'm the last remaining mod over at the now sadly mostly empty STALKER group, I've 100% completed all 3 of the games numerous times and I've even created my own custom mod setups.) but the RAAAAAGE and bitching going on here and other places are way too much.

Bethesda as a developer make some deeply flawed, slightly bland games yes but they are also a publisher. There are a few possibilities here;

1. Bethesda has not bought the rights but does not want to rule its self out

2. Bethesda has bought the rights to publish the game but might be using different
tech/developers.

3. Bethesda has bought the rights and is intent on making a STALKER game with its own tech (in which case I'm worried Bethesda couldn't pull that off)

4. Bethesda has bought the rights to sit on them an eliminate a superior competitor to their interpretation of Fallout. (In which case fuck you)

Still we are still at rumor state here. So anything is possible. Survarium looks cool though.

Jack and Calumon:
Well, the horrendous amount of bugs that any given S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game has show that the franchise is a perfect fit for Bethesda and their patented "Invisible QA Department."

In all honesty, at least it's not dead. The franchise has a lot of potential and even though they are VERY rough around the edges at the best of times, an incredibly amazing game is within each one. I only hope that whoever ends up actually working on this title, be it id, Bethesda Softworks or anyone else under the ungodly Bethesda rule, gives it the proper time, attention and polish that a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game deserves.

And God help them if it sucks, because ruining that franchise would put any developer in a sink hole they can't get out from, both from a sales perspective and a fan backlash.

Calumon: I preferred it when fans kept people cool, not yelled at everyone.

Call of Pripyat worked well right out of the box and the only thing the Complete mod does for that is graphical stuff, some combat tweaks and weather and skyboxes. There was no reason to bug fix.

And STALKER isn't really rough around the edges. It's designed with emphasis on game play and interlocking systems and not designed to be easy, slick, welcoming or stream lined.

OH NO THE GAME I THOUGHT DEAD IS COMING BACK!
OH NO A COMPANY I DONT LIKE IS MAKING IT!
PANIC!

God its like all the Fallout puritans screeching about being betrayed and how isometric heresy was committed all over again.
Oh wait they still do that.

teh_gunslinger:

Jack and Calumon:
Well, the horrendous amount of bugs that any given S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game has show that the franchise is a perfect fit for Bethesda and their patented "Invisible QA Department."

In all honesty, at least it's not dead. The franchise has a lot of potential and even though they are VERY rough around the edges at the best of times, an incredibly amazing game is within each one. I only hope that whoever ends up actually working on this title, be it id, Bethesda Softworks or anyone else under the ungodly Bethesda rule, gives it the proper time, attention and polish that a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game deserves.

And God help them if it sucks, because ruining that franchise would put any developer in a sink hole they can't get out from, both from a sales perspective and a fan backlash.

Calumon: I preferred it when fans kept people cool, not yelled at everyone.

Call of Pripyat worked well right out of the box and the only thing the Complete mod does for that is graphical stuff, some combat tweaks and weather and skyboxes. There was no reason to bug fix.

And STALKER isn't really rough around the edges. It's designed with emphasis on game play and interlocking systems and not designed to be easy, slick, welcoming or stream lined.

There's no real need to defend the game, I'm not decrying it, though the notion that it works out of the box is a funny one as I expect a game to do that anyway, and if it's commendable that happens, then it says a lot about the series.

I kid really, CoP had a lot of improvements over the other games, it had the least amount of bugs in the series, and is currently the best one available in terms of gameplay and technical prowess. Despite all this, it is still not bug free (after all, what is?) and "Worked well" would not be the words I would use to describe it. It still had crap loads of bugs and glitches, like entering some imaginary 5th dimension when colliding with some of the furniture you can find.

As for it being rough, yes, I appreciate the fact that it is rough around the edges as it does increase the atmosphere of the difficulty of surviving. However, it should still be polished. The graphics are dated by modern standards, AI is stupid, and need I mention the bugs? I know the game isn't meant to easy, slick, welcoming or stream lined but neither was Dark Souls and that was still an incredibly polished game with edges so smooth I use them to spread the butter of my toast in the morning.

Calumon: I don't know why he won't use a knife. :S

tmande2nd:
OH NO THE GAME I THOUGHT DEAD IS COMING BACK!
OH NO A COMPANY I DONT LIKE IS MAKING IT!
PANIC!

God its like all the Fallout puritans screeching about being betrayed and how isometric heresy was committed all over again.
Oh wait they still do that.

Yeah... thats shit is never gonna get old...

I can only hope that they treat it with the respect it deserves, and recognize what made STALKER great in the first place (as in, persistent world that lives on without player input, delightfully punishing difficulty, atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife). The thought of a Bethesda-developed STALKER doesn't exactly sit well with me, and I'd greatly prefer that they licensed it out to someone that can handle it and make a worthy entry for the franchise.

Also, fully patched, Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat are quite fine, CoP more-so because it released in a much better state than SoC did. Clear Sky is another story, and still seems prone to crashes even with bugfix mods, but CS was always the black sheep in the STALKER family.

I'm also not exactly a fan of the Complete mods because, at least in SoC's case, it actually makes the game easier and introduces some mechanics I'm not fond of. For SoC, I prefer just running with the ZRP bugfix mod if I play vanilla, or AMK if I want to play modded. For CoP, I just get Atmosfear and a few other minor tweaks. I also don't bother with any overhaul mods for CS and just stick to a bugfix mod and make a few config tweaks.

....

I just hope Bethesda sticks to publishing this time and hand the game over to someone else. I'm going to wait to see what happens next before I react any further, if they even decide to do anything with it.

Andy Chalk:
Some people say the STALKER games were "broken," although I suspect those people don't really understand what that actually means, but I never had any such issues, even with the original Shadows of Chernobyl. I did some .ini tweaking to improve the graphical performance (I think I was playing on a Radeon X800 at the time) and it was actually a pretty solid experience. Definitely Eastern European, with all that entails, but no worse from a bug/glitch standpoint than (dare I say it) a standard Bethesda release. I never really understood why people say the "Complete" mod is necessary to make it playable. It changes and adds things, yes, and may very well make the game "better," but it's hardly unplayable out of the box.

My friends and I played through SoC out of the box and it worked fine, I don't see what everyone was complaining about. Maybe it had buggy multiplayer but who cares about that.

It was definitely one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. Including many heart thumping, mouse throwing moments that I haven't felt since the AvP 2000.

If you get the chance try Oblivion Lost, it intentionally "breaks" a lot of the game but in a cool way. Vehicles that can get thrown around by vortex anomolies, blowouts that the AI is smart enough to run away from, Controllers popping up in "safe" bases turning the area into a massive firefight.

I didn't play Clear Sky but CoP was a major disappointment. It was much more polished than SoC but it just felt homogenous and consolized. The world wasn't nearly as "alive" as SoC with most of the buildings being locked and the obvious "quest hub" setting. Two exceptions were the scripted vampire sneaking part and recruiting the NPCs for the tunnel run, that was actually pretty cool. This wasn't the epic modern fantasy story though like in SoC.

I will be disappointed if Bethesda takes the franchise and "westernizes" it by doing something terrible like turning it into a cover shooter with regenerating health.

Bethesda Softworks owning STALKER doesn't mean Bethesda Game Studios has anything to do with it. Chances are it'll go to (or is already with) some other developer, but I doubt I'll be seeing a lot of people who will recognize that.

As long as the original devs get to keep working on it, and it's just being published by Bethesda, I don't see much wrong with this.

I don't know if I'd be interested in a non European developed STALKER. Devs from "Eastern Europe" (Including Poland and I know it is Central Europe) have a unique sensibility in their games, one that I haven't experienced from any North American dev. I can't think of a Bethesda dev who could do it justice. Once I might have considered Id a possibility but they have lost their way. Bethesda themselves are a terrible fit for STALKER the only sensibilies they share are poor quality control.

rembrandtqeinstein:

I will be disappointed if Bethesda takes the franchise and "westernizes" it by doing something terrible like turning it into a cover shooter with regenerating health.

Funny you should mention that. I'm pretty sure that you did heal over time in Clear Sky (albeit very, very slowly) provided you weren't bleeding. Plus, you were pretty much fucked if you didn't keep running from cover to cover lest you be drowned in insta-death grenades. Also, any player worth their salt would have enough health packs to med-stack their way through practically anything by the third or fourth area anyway, so I wouldn't say that stalker is necessarily any more punishing than a game with regenerating health unless you really have no idea what you are doing.

Facetiousness aside, that would be a bit of a disappointment, but no amount of haphazardly handling the series will take away the current games. Plus, obsidian is a subsidiary of bethesda, and they seem to have a fairly good grasp on deep but buggy-as-hell experiences. There is also Arkane, but we'll first have to see how dishonored turns out (crosses fingers).

All I can do is hope with every little bit of fucking ounce of hope that is left for all things pure that Bethesda does NOT get have the rights to STALKER. Bethesda makes games that can't hold a candle to the greatness that is STALKER. I'd rather see it die then they be the ones with the rights to it.

To all the people saying they won't be making it, who the fuck will be? The old developers of the STALKER series have already moved onto different projects, which they are already well invested in (like a year of their lives).

Waffle_Man:
Plus, obsidian is a subsidiary of bethesda, and they seem to have a fairly good grasp on deep but buggy-as-hell experiences. There is also Arkane, but we'll first have to see how dishonored turns out (crosses fingers).

Obsidian is a free lancer developer, they work for whoever pays them money. Out of all their games they have only made one game for Bethesda, and that was New Vegas.

Perhaps S.T.A.L.K.E.R. inspired the Fallout 3 quest, "You've gotta shoot'em in the head!".

Stalker was a refreshingly different shooter. But man, curse the inpenetrable bullet vests that every guy in the Ukraine must be walking around with. Never again did I have to perform this many headshots.

I really don't get all the negativity about this. Bethesda seems like a better fit than most to me. Yeah sure they could always totally fuck it up but it's not like the series was going anywhere before now(although it may still not be going anywhere).

I keep hearing about how buggy the STALKER games are, but...I went through SoC and Clear Sky and only got a single bug worth mentioning. (A storyline NPC didn't spawn when he was supposed to, so I had to go and manually spawn him in using the console)

Edit: They can't balance guns for shit though. Seriously, almost every gun in that game is horrible. Shotguns and handguns are total shit, and only the high end assault rifles are remotely usable.

Edit 2: I lied. The game bugged out a lot when I would do things I wasn't supposed to do with a sniper rifle. (Like when they told me to sneak a guy around to take out an enemy sniper position...but I just killed the Sniper and all of the Monolith soldiers. So the Clear Sky guys were shooting and yelling at...air, basically.)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

First Fallout, and now S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will be ruined by Bethesda.

God, please let this be a false rumor.

NO! NOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

DAMN YOU BETHESDA! YOU'RE GONNA RUIN ANOTHER OF MY FAVORITE FRANCHISES BY TURNING IT INTO RELENTLESSLY CASUALIZED GARBAGE IN THE NAME OF "Mass Appeal"

FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!!!

What's up with this weird new format? Anyway, I'm glad Bethseda was able to pick it up. Frankly, its work with the Fallout franchise is head and shoulders above what most devs do when they pick up someone else's franchise.

It might not be the STALKER 2 I wanted, but it'll probably be a good game nonetheless.

Well, if Bethesda are picking up S.T.A.L.K.E.R with any luck they'll leave Fallout to Obsidian.

*fingers crossed*

Honestly, nobody would notice the change.

It would be just as glitchy in Bethesda's hands as it was with GSC.

Awww, I hope this is true!

...

But not in the 'I'm wetting my pants I'm so excited' way.

Just in the 'I'd like to play more S.T.A.L.K.E.R' way.

Call of Pripyat really felt like it was locking it all down, story wise, and I'd like to explore more of the possibilities- I believe, before Chernobyl, there were ten top secret millitary city/bases hidden across soviet Russia, used to devellop their own nuclear capability- why not incorporate some or all of that history into the mythos?

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