Steam operators Valve have announced that S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
, the prequel to GCS Game World's cult open-world shooter, will be released later this year as a Steam digital exclusive, simultaneous with its retail release.
at the 2007 E3, GCS Game World says the game takes place one year prior to the events of the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
, as players take on the role of a mercenary who plays a key role in the events which lead to creation of the Zone seen in the original.
The company says players will be able to research in entirely new areas including Red Forest, Limansk, Pripyat Undergrounds, have the possibility to play and lead any faction to victory, and benefit from improved AI in the game's computer controlled characters.
Clear Sky will also feature "improved concept of detectors, artifacts and anomalies", a new weapon and armor upgrade system, and a new version of the game engine, with a DX10 rendered as well as new features in its DX9 rendering.
Said Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, "It's great to see a forward-thinking game maker like GCS Game World launching simultaneously in digital and traditional retail channels. By launching S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
on Steam on the same day that it's available in stores worldwide, GCS Game World ensures that gamers can get their hands on this highly-anticipated game in the way that's most convenient for them."