S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developer GSC Game World is back in action, and willing to throw shade at other companies purporting to be carrying its legacy forward.
"They are trying to steal money. These guys do not even have an adequate team to make a game half as big as the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R., let alone a full game."
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been cancelled and declared back on track so many times since its announcement that we've actually lost track of where it's officially at, but GSC Game World still has the rights to the franchise, apparently.
Speaking to Polygon, GSC Game World PR director Valentine Yeltyshev shed a little light on the confusing situation at the Ukrianian developer.
According to Yeltyshev, he left the company in early 2011 during one of its closure scares, but returned full time in November 2014. The company has a game in the works and approaching alpha state, and hopes to share information soon.
Is that game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2? Probably not, realistically, but GSC Game World insists nobody else has the right to make a game with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. moniker - especially not West Games, the team behind the cancelled Areal and new project Stalker Apocalypse.
Yeltyshev said that the West Games' team's claim to be veteran developers of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise is exaggerated. By his account, the core West Games team were hired to make an isometric, web-based Flash game based on S.T.A.L.K.E.R, which was cancelled because it "would not be as good as [GSC] wanted it to be".
"They are trying to steal money from people with this crowdfunding website. With Kickstarter first and now they are using some weird, other platform," he said.
"Who is so stupid as to give them money? These guys do not even have an adequate team to make a game half as big as the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R., let alone a full game."
GSC will take action if West Games actually tries to sell a product under the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. name, he added.
Survarium developer Vostok Games, on the other hand, is legitimate; Yeltyshev said the team was formed around the same time he left GSC. This matches Vostok's own account of itself as a group of laid off S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 developers.
As for what's happening at GSC, which has a long and troubled history, founder Sergei Grigorovich is CEO but no longer manages the company day to day. His brother Evgeniy, a GSC veteran and former project lead on its games, is in charge - and producing the new game. Yeltyshev said many former GSC staffers are back in the saddle, too.
That's all extremely interesting, if not the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 definitely happening" news we'd like to hear.
For those who came in late, there were three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games. Set in a post-apocalyptic Russian landscape and inspired by the 1970's film of the same name, the first person RPG series is famous for its hardcore survival approach, which was unprecedented at the time and inspired many imitators.