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Former  STALKER  devs clash over spiritual sequel claims
Former STALKER devs clash over spiritual sequel claims
June 25, 2014 | By Mike Rose

June 25, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

A band of devs who supposedly worked on titles in the STALKER open world series, have formed a new studio with the aim to create a spiritual sequel to the popular series.

West-Games says that it is a Las Vegas-based company with senior members who have worked on the STALKER series, as well as titles like Metro Last Light and World of Warcraft. West-Games plans to create games for multi-platform using the Unity and Unreal Engines.

The studio's first game is Areal, a spiritual successor to the STALKER franchise. A Kickstarter for the game has made $27,000 in around 12 hours, with a target of $50,000.

Areal will be a single-player, story-driven game. More details can be found on the Kickstarter page.

[Update: Joe Mullin, PR manager at Vostok Games, claims that West-Games is not former STALKER and Metro devs.

Vostok Games was formed in 2012 out of the ashes of GSC Game World. Mullin says that West-Games is nothing to do with GSC or the STALKER series, noting, "We have contacted GSC's lawyers regarding this fraudulent claim of being the developers of Stalker and Metro Last Light. Please do all you can do ensure people know these claims are false."

Gamasutra has contacted West-Games for clarification. This isn't the first time there has been a dispute over the STALKER franchise -- in 2012, BitComposer Games claimed it had bought the rights to the license, while GSC Game World later said this was not the case.

Update 2: Vostok PR manager Oleg Yavorsky has told Eurogamer, "My biggest concern with West-Games is using the footage and assets of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and representing them as their own, which is not only illegal, but simply just not right."

And he added of the claim that West-Games staffers' previously worked on the franchise, "So that you understand, since the long years of development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and then Metro, there have been literally hundreds of people involved in working on their bits and pieces, starting from beta-testers up to modellers responsible for certain weaponry models.

"Many people came to the studio to work for a few months just for the sake of adding S.T.A.L.K.E.R. development to their portfolio. Frequently they claimed afterwards to be the 'core' developers behind the game - you wouldn't know anyway, right?"]

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Greg Pryjmachuk
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Originally read the story about a spiritual successor whilst on the toilet and went crazy happy.

sat down back at my desk and read the story update and felt crushed.

Such is life in the zone.

Andrew Wallace
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This article should really mention Survarium, the game Vostok is working on and the true spiritual successor. There was an open alpha weekend several weeks ago that I played and it was very promising.

Dane MacMahon
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I don't see how a multiplayer, online only game could really be a true spiritual successor. Even ignoring the fact singleplayer only to multiplayer only is a huge shift, STALKER was all about feeling isolated and alone.

I admit I haven't read much about it though, due to not playing multiplayer games.

Joshua Wilson
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50k to make a Stalker like game, on a new engine, out of Las Vegas? When I saw this yesterday that seemed like an immediate warning sign.

If it's legit, then I hope they gets things sorted out because I would be all for it.

Clyde Duensing III
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I am interested in this project, but am also somewhat skeptical of the target goal. $50,000 seems like a small amount for any significant game project. Still I may take the risk and sign on. I'd definitely like to see this happen.

Don't be fooled by the fact that the company is "out of Las Vegas" though. That certainly doesn't mean that everyone working on this is at some facility there, or even that they have and significant offices there. Nevada is one of those places where it is legally advantageous to form a corporation, so the company may be a Las Vegas company on paper only.

Bart Stewart
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So much weirdness, including the seemingly low $50K target (for multiple developers for months) and the identity of the person named as receiving the Kickstarter money if the project succeeds.

On the other hand, an update to the Areal KS campaign observes that the topic on the Vostok/Survarium forum that contained Joe Mullin's comment has been removed... and indeed, that entire thread has been hidden.

All this drama would be merely amusing except that a true successor to STALKER -- which I also would define as a single-player (and PC-optimized) game -- would be a Good Thing. This kind of sniping, even if some of it proves to be justified, is really unfortunate for those who just want more STALKER-like entertainment.

James McDermott
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I'd like to add to the weirdness this rather mixed list of evidence by the team behind MISERY, a game mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Prypriat:

I say "mixed" because the list not only contains clear evidence of misrepresentation - or at the very least naivete - it also tosses in claims based on the MISERY team's own experience and opinions, which seem to have a slight bit of hubris in them. Nonetheless, it's another piece of a very confusing puzzle.

Steve Gannon
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There has been some updates. In this thread you can see information by West Games. There is clearly confusion over all of this and articles made for click bait is just fueling a wall of fire towards these guys. Finger pointing and knee jerk reactions are becoming way to toxic in gaming. We need to give these guys a chance.