Areal vs Survarium: A Stalker Civil War

Scott Tortorice

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Stalker, Metro, Survarium, and now Areal. Choose your poison. And pick your side:

http://www.bluesnews.com/s/152700/areal-spiritual-successor-to-stalker

A new Kickstarter is off to a good start towards its $50,000 goal to develop Areal, a first-person shooter from West Games, a group of former GSC Game World developers who are calling this project the "definitive spiritual successor to the cult hit S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series" (thanks Josh via Polygon). Here's word on Areal:
Areal is a new video game that's being developed by the people behind S.T.A.L.K.E.R. It features a massive and intricately detailed open world environment that is extremely varied and colorful, even though it's set in a post-apocalyptic setting. Areal depicts a future where civilization has fallen apart due to an unearthly material called Metamorphite, which eventually spreads, corrupts and infects the whole world. The source of Metamorphite comes from a meteor that impacted the earth long ago, and it is the site of constant conflict and bloodshed.


Areal's story is not linear – players can choose how their characters act and speak – everything from how you talk to who you kill changes the storyline of Areal. There is no morality system in Areal, so you are free to make choices that you think are best in any given situation, without being blinded and limited by a standard good/evil system. Ultimately, Areal is the culmination of everything that we want to see from a post apocalyptic game, and it's something that we can realize with full creative freedom because of the unique platform that is Kickstarter. All we need is your support!
Survarium's response:

http://www.bluesnews.com/s/152699/survarium-devs-question-areal

If the story above about Areal sounds familiar, it's probably because it's reminiscent of Survarium, a different project in the works at from Vostok Games, a developer also comprised of ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers. Survarium makes similar spiritual successor claims to Areal, and according to MCV, a thread on the Survarium forums included threats of legal action, but this has been deleted. VG247 has a statement from Vostok Games PR and Marketing Manager Oleg Yavorsky refuting some of West Games' pedigree and rights to some of the materials they're using to promote their campaign:


So that you understand, over the years of development of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and then Metro series, there have been literally hundreds of people involved in working on various bits and pieces, starting from beta-testers up to modellers responsible for certain weapon 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?).


Yet, my biggest concern is that West Games are 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. I guess it’s all made for the sake of getting extra publicity (which unfortunately works), but guys on Kickstarter should probably pay attention."
 

kawaiku

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Oh I agree that they do. But this bickering over the spiritual successor to STALKER has to stop. It sounds like Hollywood and the attempts at redoing the Predator/Alien movies. (And agreed about people saying they worked on STALKER, it is kind of annoying.)
 

Dr Zaius

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The problem is that 99.9 percent of the new FPS out there are utter crap. STALKER wasn't. It was a game well ahead of its time and one that delivered a ton of value for the money, something which is sadly almost quaint in this era of overcharging for very little actual content. So it's no great surprise that a lot of people want to be associated with the STALKER franchise, as that's a surefire way to attract the more hardcore variety of gamer.

I don't know which one of these games has the true claim of being heir to the STALKER throne, but I see it as a good thing that so many want to try. Ultimately, if we end up getting one really good game out of this I won't complain.
 

kawaiku

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I don't know which one of these games has the true claim of being heir to the STALKER throne, but I see it as a good thing that so many want to try. Ultimately, if we end up getting one really good game out of this I won't complain.
Couldn't agree with you more!
 

Scott Tortorice

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For me, Stalker wasn't a great game because it did anything different from other shooters (perhaps their "A-Life" AI was a bit better than most AI, though), but because the setting was so darn unique. It was horror without being cheesy Hollywood horror; it was a fitting tribute to the eschatological essence of both Roadside Picnic and the movie Stalker. That was what made it so special. I just hope these would-be Stalker replacements understand that otherwise their efforts are for naught.

As for SP shooters - there are some good ones out there. Borderlands 1&2 goes without saying, as does the Metro series (also from "former Stalker devs"). I even thought CoD: MW3 was an excellent SP experience. Fallout 3 was great, too. I think one of the signs of this Great Gaming Recession is that AAA shooters are not becoming bad, but just rare. Remember just a few years ago how we all used to say "ugh, not another shooter!". Can't say that anymore, can we?
 

Scott Tortorice

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No, now instead we say, "ugh, not another Battlefield game...."
Right! :D Or "ugh, not another COD game. Really, IW/Treyarch and DICE are the last of the dedicated shooter devs. And they are quickly running their respective franchises into the ground.
 
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