An entire book could be written about the development of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R .: Shadow of Chernobyl game. That game came out on this day exactly 15 years ago, and then it was somehow her last chance to come to life as a playful product. Namely, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was announced in late 2001 and was due out in 2003, then in 2006, before being postponed for another year.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was often delayed because of its ambition, primarily because of the artificial intelligence system that the Ukrainian developer called ALife. This game system was supposed to allow NPC characters and animals to live life independently of the player - migrate across the map, perform all functions, and clash with each other - all without scripting.
Such a thing was difficult to report completely. For example, the game should
not have allowed the characters important to the story to perish in some
random skirmish. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has ultimately achieved part of what was
promised in this regard, but artificial intelligence itself has not been as
revolutionary as it was thought to be.
The game put us in the role of a Stalker called Marked One who had a
classic diagnosis - he didn't remember anything, which was a bit awkward in
the radiation-bathed Chernobyl Zone. Mutants, bandits, and some worse things
stood in our way of revealing the truth.
The game was quite buggy after the release, which was a consequence of poor testing. Two months before the release, the game’s publisher, then-THQ, organized a contest whose winners were to play a beta of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Fortunately, the players eventually managed to recognize the charm of this game despite all its problems. One can often hear the claim that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. had a unique post-apocalypse atmosphere. This helped it sell in more than two million copies in a year and a half, which was an impressive result for one PC exclusive at a time when Steam was not yet a major platform for PC gamers.
The success of Shadow of Chernobyl took the series to two more games - a prequel called Clear Sky and for many the best and most elaborate part - Call of Pripyat. The second part of the game was in development, but due to the financial problems of GSC Gameworld, the development was interrupted and the developers have since said goodbye to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise. On the other hand, fans continued to refine the game, so S.T.A.L.K.E.R .: Lost Alpha was released four years ago.
For years, it was unclear what the future of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise was, and then in 2018, it was announced that the second part would still be made. We had the premiere of the gameplay from Stalker 2 in 2021, and although the game was supposed to be played in the spring of 2022, it was initially postponed until the end of the year, and then until further notice due to events in Ukraine.