So is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 dead or what? Last year saw S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 cancelled as studio (opens in new tab) GSC Game World collapsed in a cloud of radioactive gossip, only for January to bring the revelation that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 isn't dead after all (opens in new tab). So which is it for the game with the least-typable name in the history of the medium? Spoiler: The first one (opens in new tab). Having for worked on the sequel - unpaid, mind - for upward of a year, the game's developers have finally said (opens in new tab) they simply can't get the rights necessary to complete and release the game. But even cancerous mushroom clouds have a silver lining.
Above: Scratchy film, subliminal bacteria and giant spiders - they know how to put together a dev diary over in that Ukraine
Here's the first developer diary from the newly-formed Vostok Games (opens in new tab), composed of GSC employees still eager to get a decent game out of the ten years' hard work they put into the sadly-deceased sequel. The team's already got a good start on a decidedly S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-esque MMOFPS tentatively titled Survarium, which it's billing as a free-play shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R's Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone.
Above: Here's the first concept art released for Vostok's newly-announced Survarium
As Vostok explains, with the loss of S.T.A.L.K.E.R's Chernobyl setting, the stage was set for a game with similar concerns on a much larger scale – so Survarium will comment not just on Chernobyl, but on more recent environmental catastrophes like those in Fukushima and the Mexican Gulf. Vostok is projecting a late 2013 launch for Survarium; keep an eye on the new studio's Youtube channel (opens in new tab) for future updates, all of them hopefully just as subliminally perturbing as the first.