GSC Game World's Oleg Yavorsky has refuted suggestions that much-delayed PC title S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl - currently on track for Q1 2007 - has been cut down to a scripted, corridor-based first-person shooter.
In a lengthy post on GDC's official forum aimed at clearing up questions that have arisen since E3, Yavorsky offered a detailed explanation not only of what the game is doing - but also the developer's reasons for avoiding certain approaches.
"Indeed, one of the initial S.T.A.L.K.E.R. concepts was a fully life simulation-driven gameplay [known as 'A-life' -Ed] with unobtrusive storyline. However with the very first tests it got obvious that such game can only be good in theory," Yavorsky writes.
"Creating an uncomfortable play-through and confuse the player traditionally accustomed to being 'led' is clearly not the best goal to achieve. That is why it was decided to shift the focus during the first playthrough primarily towards storyline, placed, as previously, within the A-life world."
Yavorsky also comments on the role of vehicles in the game, the removal of voluntary sleep ("Only the story-based sleep for cut-scenes was preserved") and points out that player-hunger and eating (as in, players eating food, not player-eating) remain.
Overall it's a refreshing insight into a few key areas, and concludes with a message from the team, where Yavorsky admits that such a long development reflects a large number of mistakes made in the process. "Once the project is done we could release a book 'The ways you don't want to make your games'," he jokes.
"5 years ago nobody on the team had experience to create a project of such level, and 'experience is a son of tough mistakes' as the saying goes. After all, however, we are on the finishing line. We want to release S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in a way to bring you fun and justify the long wait. Thanks to everyone genuinely supporting the project. We love S.T.A.L.K.E.R. It's our child. A problem child. And you will meet it soon."