S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.

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Published by FFxSTALKERx 11 years ago , last updated 2 years ago
The guys over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun recently sat down with Anton Bolshakov to discuss S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl, the history behind the game, Chernobyl (real one) and the upcoming sequel Clear Sky.
RPS: How did the idea for the Stalker concept change over time? How did THQ influence its outcome? Until year 2002 the initial concept (back then the project was called simply Oblivion Lost) was oriented on fifteen linear levels, similarly to classic adventure shooters. An anomalous Half-Life, if you like. However in spring-summer 2002 the concept got drastically changed and Chernobyl was made the center of the game. We decided to implement a huge world of the 30-square-kilometer zone around the Chernobyl Power Plant, split it into locations and use a feature nobody ever used in shooters – life simulation. We had a very strong concept to go in line with our robust engine. It was a concept which, in our estimations, would remain relevant and innovative even after a decade. Then in 2004 there was one more change to the concept when we rejected the fully “A-Life”-driven game without the story and obligatory tasks, where any [NPC] s.t.a.l.k.e.r. could complete the game ahead of the player. When we had assembled a playable prototype we realized that such a concept would barely be understandable to the players. It was either too much or too little of gameplay content, while everything was under the control of A-Life. It was frequent that the players didn’t understand what to do next. Such a concept required considerable improvement and a search for a form both understandable and involving to the players. In May 2005 such a solution was found – we placed the storyline within the A-Life world. It is this very concept that you can see in the game today. We started working closely with THQ’s Producer Dean Sharpe in early 2006. I respect Dean’s professionalism: when he joined the project he understood that drastic changes to the game at this development stage may completely ruin all the deadlines. Therefore, we focused on finalising the current concept and the features which worked 100%. Some of the features were cut from the game or put aside for the next iterations. We concentrated on polishing up the gameplay, balance, difficulty levels…
Check out the full Q&A interview here! Over the next few weeks Rock, Paper, Shotgun plans to have more information from GSC on their upcoming projects (Clear Sky, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2)
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