Strangeness surrounds Stalker
The latest news out of Eastern-European developer GSC Game World responds to repeated speculation surrounding their much delayed first-person shooter Stalker, which seems to have been in the works for an interminably long time now. A Russian gaming magazine had, prior to GSC's latest press release, made claims of large-scale lay-offs at the developer, a strained relationship with publisher THQ, and even the possibility that the game would not be completed in 2006. For their part, GSC Game World deny this tittle-tattle, stating that Stalker is at 'beta-approval' stage, and that only the staffing of their art section has been cut, because that area of the game is all but complete.
"The team has undergone certain reductions, particularly in the art section, due to all the graphics-related works being almost complete (out of 40 people 5 were dismissed)," the company stated. "None of the leads, programmers and moreover, testers may not be reduced at any time."
"Regarding the technology leak, none of the designers gone has the rights to the game's engine (all the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. technologies, including the X-Ray engine and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-2 engine belong to the company). Even if the current or next-generation engine would appear on the net, their legal use is impossible. GSC does not intend to sell its technologies in the nearest time, so as does not intend to postpone the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl due to rumours of that kind," the official release added, in response to conflicting reports and rumours that there may have been a technology leak at the firm.
Certainly an odd statement from the developer... and we'd be surprised if their relationship with THQ hasn't at least been put to the test by the game's succession of delays. Not to mention controversies such as this. We'll keep you posted as Stalker limps towards release.