GSC Game World closing down, future of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series uncertain

Founded in Kiev, Ukraine approximately 16 years ago, GSC Game World are best known for being the creators of the beloved S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series (a first-person shooter franchise based on classic Russian post-apocalyptic fiction, such as Roadside Picnic and Tarkovsky’s Stalker, but with a firm grounding in reality, centering around the 1986 Chernobyl disaster). For the past year or so, they’ve been hard at work on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, but approximately one week ago, we started hearing reports that the developer was closing down.

The very first news came from UkraNews, although you won’t understand much of it unless you actually speak Ukrainian. The story initially said only that GSC founder and CEO, Sergei Grigorivich the company was being closed due to “personal reasons”, but UkraNews speculated that the closure could be linked to some sort of interference or investigation from the Ukrainian government. Interestingly, GSC’s official S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Twitter page denied that the company was closing down, but the tweet in question was then suspiciously deleted not long afterwards.

However, the company’s closure was then confirmed by Sergei Galyonkin, who had much to say about the company’s demise. He stated that some of his friends at GSC believed that the reason for the company’s closure was a failed console publishing deal regarding S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, which would have placed the title in the unenviable position of being a PC-exclusive game from Eastern Europe. As Sergei puts it, it isn’t a “great future” for any game. He goes on to mention that other GSC employees believed that GSC’s CEO, Sergei Grigorivich “demanded a lot from publishers”, who perhaps might have withdrawn their support when seeing his “unacceptable terms”, and that he had heard that Grigorivich had been thinking about closing GSC Game World for a year now. However, he debunks UkraNews’ speculation that the company’s demise was linked to government interference, stating that there was nothing of interest within GSC Game World for the Ukrainian government.

Other employees who confirmed that GSC had closed down were Joe Mullin, who tweeted that news of the company’s closure had come on the 9th of December, “to everyone”, as well as a mysterious GSC employee who posted S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 concept art on Krautchan. After a Krautchan moderator verified that the poster was legit, this unidentified employee then posted more information regarding GSC’s closure. However, there was still no official word from GSC until the 12th, when they made two separate tweets on the aforementioned S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Twitter page: “We will do our best to continue. However, at this moment, nothing is certain.”, and another, which stated that the GSC website, forums and tech support would remain active, as will the store, although only in the current stock’s remaining (and limited) capacity.

More than that? We’ve got no idea. Evidently, the future of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is in doubt. It might be cancelled for good, or GSC might pass the torch on to another developer. Some speculate that they might release the current S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 build in freeware “as-is” form, as they did back in 2009, when due to popular demand, they released S.T.A.L.K.E.R. build 1935 from October 2004. However, as GSC said, at this point, nothing is certain. In any case, let’s hope this isn’t the last we see of the Zone.

GSC Game World