After an abrupt collapse in 2010, it would seem that STALKER developer GSC Game World is back. At least, there are people saying it’s back, and doing interviews to that effect. But I’ve long since abandoned any illusions that reality will influence the state of things in Ukrainian game development.
Valentin Yeltyshev, interviewed in the link above, doesn’t offer much clarity on the studio’s return, indicating only that they’re not working with (or hiring back) any of the known refugees from GSC’s original collapse – most of whom wound up forming Vostok Games, which has fallen disturbingly silent after making what appeared to be impressive progress on Survarium. Yeltyshev does mention Vostok, and adds even more confusion to the strange story of West Games, whose bizarre Areal Kickstarter raised red flags across the crowdfunding world. (West Games is back on another crowdfunding site with STALKER Apocalypse; they’re not close to achieving their goal, but the fact that they’ve made any money at all suggests truth to the wisdom about fools and their money).
All we know is that GSC itself is evidently working on a new IP altogether, but we still haven’t heard much of the story behind why the company shut down in the first place. There’s little in a name, really, and if the new GSC is just that – a name – without the creative muscle of the original studio, then it hardly matters. It’s mostly interesting from an anthropological perspective.
Arguably what makes the GSC name valuable isn’t the studio, but the fact that it appears to still own the STALKER intellectual property. That could be worth a lot of money to the right investors, not least of which would be the aforementioned Vostok Games. Most of GSC’s original staff is there, and it’s widely known that they tried and failed to secure rights to the STALKER IP when they began work on Survarium. Given the political climate in Ukraine right now, it might make more economic sense to resurrect the GSC Game World brand simply to sell a valuable IP and then shut down again, rather than try to secure funding and develop something new even in the relatively stable Kiev area.
Email the author of this post at steerpike@Tap-Repeatedly.com.