STALKER: Lost Alpha Plan Scrapped Over Pre-Release Leak

STALKER: Lost Alpha Plan Scrapped Over Pre-Release Leak

STALKER: Lost Alpha screen

The makers of STALKER: Lost Alpha say a leak of an unfinished version of the extensive mod has scuttled any chance of it being released as an official sequel.

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl was a fantastic open-world shooter, but even so it fell well short of the ambitious goals detailed in the 2001 reveal. Those shortcomings are what the STALKER: Lost Alpha mod is intended to address, as it seeks to restore the game to its original, pre-2005 state and give it a much-needed visual overhaul as well.

Even more tantalizing for fans of the series, there was talk - entirely unsubstantiated, but talk - that Lost Alpha could actually be released as an official STALKER product. The franchise is effectively dead in the water thanks to the collapse of STALKER 2 and the subsequent dissolution of developer GSC Game World, so the possibility of a "new" release, even if it's based on an old version of the game, is a very exciting prospect. Sadly, it now appears that won't happen.

"Some testers have decided to ruin years of our hard work and have leaked an unfinished render-test build of Lost Alpha to the public," developer Dezowave wrote in an update on ModDB. "This leaked version is not finished and not prepared to be released by any means. It contains render bugs that we've been working on since last year among the other ones that prevent smooth gameplay."

"This unfortunate event crosses out any chances to release LA as an official addon to STALKER series," it added.

The good news is that the most recent version of Lost Alpha will be turned loose on the public on April 26, the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. "It won't be completely finished as we wanted it to be but at least stable and finishing the game would be possible," the developers wrote. "This can be called 'early access,' which means patches, updates will be added in the future."

An anonymous source said there's still a "very small chance" that Lost Alpha could see a commercial release in some form, but putting it out as a free mod, even in an incomplete state, would seem to suggest rather strongly that it's not going to happen. On the other hand, both Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable began life as free Source engine mods before going on to commercial success as stand-alone releases, so anything is possible. Either way, and in spite of the promise of future updates, Dezowave said that it is preparing to move on to a new project, which it will reveal later this year.

Source: ModDB

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I'm confused. Why would the leak prevent it from being released officially? Bigger projects like this have had leaks, haven't they?

Compatriot Block:
I'm confused. Why would the leak prevent it from being released officially? Bigger projects like this have had leaks, haven't they?

Some leaks are more serious then others :P. Dezowave dont have a big budget. For an example, Valve with Half Life 2 can afford to have a leak and still be certain of profit.

Fucks sake. Every time i see STALKER news its bad news. Having a new team that by the looks of their VERY long running labor of love and are 1) Extremely dedicated to the series 2) Familiar with the X-Ray engine and its tools and 3) Bring a fresh perspective could have helped revive the series in SOME form.

I've been following the lost alpha for what feels like forever now.

Well, at least they will continue development. I can't really say I care too much whether this will be "official" or not as long as it's good. The article's title made it sound like they wanted to abandon the project now because of this leak. Also, agreed: Plenty of mods made it from that to commercial stand-alone release, often with industry devs adding some support or tweaking to it later on. I don't see the issue, really. The reaction seems overexaggerated.

So a really stupid overreaction then...
Look guys some games get released for free because devs simply want to share and when the work is good people will actually ask for a price tag so they can give something back, don't just run away at the first sign of trouble, complete the project properly and your user base will gladly give you money for it.

Mr.K.:
So a really stupid overreaction then...
Look guys some games get released for free because devs simply want to share and when the work is good people will actually ask for a price tag so they can give something back, don't just run away at the first sign of trouble, complete the project properly and your user base will gladly give you money for it.

The problem here is that the people that leaked the game were also selling the leaked versions... and people actually bought them...
They were selling stolen alpha versions ... that is just sad...

Mr.K.:
So a really stupid overreaction then...

It may not be the dev's that over reacted, since GSC and THQ are gone the STALKER copyright is somewhat up in the air, GSC's old boss, a German publisher called BitComposer and the Strugatsky family (who wrote Roadside Picnic) all claim to own the rights to the games.

Whoever was talking to the Lost Alpha crew (presumably at least one of the three) may have been convinced by the leak that the whole can of worms was not worth re-opening over a fairly niche game with not a huge amount of money to make.

The devs themselves are still working on it, they just seem to be saying that the chances of an official release have gone from slim to none.

I would honestly like an actual explanation as to how a leak prevents it from being a official sequel or them being able to sell it. The answer is... that's complete bullshit.

1. How could they officially release the mod for money when they do not own the rights to it?
2. Why would a leak change that ability to well it if they had an agreement that they could (which I'm convinced they don't)?

Just release the mod finished like you planned, or just scrap years of work. That is your options. You were never going to sell it, that is a fantasy. I would have loved to give money to a group of developers for a game that I loved. You should just put it up for free (as if you had any other option) and then put a donation link up on your page.

Well, shit. Although with STALKER I am already used to it

Seems like they're just whining honestly. Things get leaked (badly) all the time, hell look at Crysis 2. I think they're just using this as an excuse to "finish" development because they were never going to be done to begin with. If they actually think they were going to be able to sell this as an official sequel without getting their asses sued into the ground they must have been ignorant of copyright law or deluded. Right now nobody owns STALKER, and if anybody makes a move they're going to be a few million dollars poorer.

Baresark:
I would honestly like an actual explanation as to how a leak prevents it from being a official sequel or them being able to sell it. The answer is... that's complete bullshit.

1. How could they officially release the mod for money when they do not own the rights to it?
2. Why would a leak change that ability to well it if they had an agreement that they could (which I'm convinced they don't)?

Just release the mod finished like you planned, or just scrap years of work. That is your options. You were never going to sell it, that is a fantasy. I would have loved to give money to a group of developers for a game that I loved. You should just put it up for free (as if you had any other option) and then put a donation link up on your page.

Xangi:
Seems like they're just whining honestly. Things get leaked (badly) all the time, hell look at Crysis 2. I think they're just using this as an excuse to "finish" development because they were never going to be done to begin with. If they actually think they were going to be able to sell this as an official sequel without getting their asses sued into the ground they must have been ignorant of copyright law or deluded. Right now nobody owns STALKER, and if anybody makes a move they're going to be a few million dollars poorer.

GSC owns S.T.A.L.K.E.R. They dont have a developer team, but there are still several people there :)
Considering GSC also helped Dezowave create a new engine version for Dez, gave them all the original files and documents regarding all the development of STALKER... helped create some of the mutants in the game and quests and storylines...
Id say chances were real GSC is on Dezowave's side here :)

I've reached out to Dezowave a few times trying to get more information on this, beginning well before the leak happened, and I've never received any sort of response. If I can find out any more I'll certainly update, but Dezowave is really playing it very close to the vest right now.

From their FAQ:

Q: Don't you need beta-testers?
A: No, not yet.

Q: Will you release a beta version of Lost Alpha?
A: No. We won't release half-made projects. Please do not beg for it, it won't change anything.

(lol)

The whoke fiasco also just reminded me of all those people who were obsessed with Resident Evil 1.5 and thought it was a game superior to RE2. When it was finally leaked last year, it turned out that the reason for it being scrapped really was just 'it was not a good game'.

I have been following this mod since it began on moddb. This new sucks so bad :|

Andy Chalk:
I've reached out to Dezowave a few times trying to get more information on this, beginning well before the leak happened, and I've never received any sort of response. If I can find out any more I'll certainly update, but Dezowave is really playing it very close to the vest right now.

Dezo seems to mostly interact with the community through the moddb comments, he shared this there:

dezowave:
We know who leaked it, he wanted to make 1st of April 'joke' - without informing us - and to boost the view count of his site. We asked him several times to take them down because it can turn out bad, but he said he won't, and we should not worry, because the files are passcoded...

dezowave:
This is how it works. I'm also in the music industry, and labels arent releasing musics officially on vinyl or on beatport if it can be downloaded from the artist's page, or anywhere on the web. It was our fault to trust too many people, however we needed testers, and it was easier to select from those people who we already know for years. This word "know" is also inappropriate, since we never meet in public.

They were helped out by a Q&A team from the official stalker devs to help iron out all the engine bugs, seeing as how they as amateurs only have limited skills in that field. They really did get a lot of support from the original devs, but I guess they can't release it as an official add-on when a free copy is floating around.

I've been watching their progress throughout the years. They practically re-did the engine, added new features, remade and recompiled every single map from the original game + made new ones (mind you this game is not like Source with an easy map editor), they had enthusiast voice-actors.. and now this happens. Such bad news.

 

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