S.T.A.L.K.E.R. point man Anton Bolshavok shared some aspects of the title's development, spoke of upcoming content, and discussed the risks of developing PC games in an interview with computerandvideogames.com
Asked the first obvious question that comes to mind - why the title took so long to develop - Bolshavok said the game's scale and ambitions, such as combining role-playing game and first person shooter elements in a changing, non-corridor environment, factored heavily into the long production cycle.
Asked what the team might have done differently in retrospect, he said he wished proprietary technology was used: "I think we would plan more realistic targets to achieve, would avoid many error experiments which we had to spend loads of time on. And, most likely, we would use someone else's ready-made technology, without having to waste time on creating our proprietary one, whilst having the game developed concomitantly."
Speaking of publisher THQ's involvement, Bolshavok said that there were sometimes heated discussions over game details and features, but that there were no blowups over which way to proceed in the end.
The developer added that producing PC games is an arduous process that reaps little rewards these days:
" The risks are huge. Today's development is very complex. Modern projects are expensive, you need to support a vast amount of technological and gameplay features, hardware, the time to develop extends, you require a bigger team (and expanded team poses a bigger management challenge), professional staff - all this only to get your project out of the door.
Then it may sell or may flop disastrously in sales - it requires the work of the publisher, PR, good luck in the long run. There's high risk here too.
If we were to begin the development as a start-up team not in 2000, but in 2007, we would definitely not take up such a project as S.T.A.L.K.E.R."
In spite of the wait and the numerous release bugs, the title received much praise from reviewers and gamers alike. Community mods and three official patches have significantly helped smooth out graphics and gameplay issues.
Bolshavok said there will be some new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. related announcements for E3 in July.