It's a natural assumption: After all, 4A Games was founded by former employees of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developer GSC Game World who left the company a year before it was released and GSC Game World founder Sergey Grigorovich has apparently claimed in the Russian gaming media that the Metro 2033 engine is based on pre-release S.T.A.L.K.E.R. code. It's also pretty hard to argue that on the surface, at least, 4A's post-apocalyptic FPS doesn't have a serious S.T.A.L.K.E.R. vibe going on. But 4A CTO Oles Shishkovtsov denies that there's any connection between the two and furthermore, says it wouldn't be practical to make the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. engine meet the demands of Metro 2033 anyway.
"There's no relationship [between the two]," he told Eurogamer's Digital Foundry. "Back when I was working as lead programmer and technology architect on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. it became clearly apparent that many architectural decisions put into S.T.A.L.K.E.R. engine were great for the time when it was designed, but they just doesn't scale to the present day."
"The major obstacles to the future of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. engine were its inherent inability to be multi-threaded, the weak and error-prone networking model, and simply awful resource and memory management which prohibited any kind of streaming or simply keeping the working set small enough for back then 'next-gen' consoles," he added.
He also claimed that the nature of the X-Ray Engine code left it completely unsuitable for use on anything but a PC - presumably a high-end PC, as fans of the game can attest. "When the philosophies of the engines are so radically different it is nearly impossible to share the code," he said. "The final answer is 'no.' We do not have shared code with X-Ray, nor would it be possible to do so."
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. connection or not, there's no denying that the DirectX 11 screens for Metro 2033 that were released last week look super-hot. Is it finally time to wave goodbye to DirectX 9 forever? Metro 2033 launches on March 16 for the PC and Xbox 360.