Stalker dev refutes claims

Nearly beta, lay-offs misreported.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developer GSC Game World's responded to a Russian games mag's report that the repeatedly delayed FPS is in yet more trouble.

GSC denies claims of mass lay-offs, conflict with publisher THQ and problems completing the game within 2006.

GSC says the game is "on the stage of beta approval" and rumours of mass lay-offs are incorrect. "The team has undergone certain reductions, particularly in the art section, due to all the graphics-related works being almost complete (out of 40 people 5 were dismissed)," the developer said in a statement. "None of the leads, programmers and moreover, testers may not be reduced at any time."

Which doesn't sound entirely rosy, anyway, but isn't quite "mass" lay-offs.

GSC also said that its relationship with THQ was fine, and commented on the technology leak, which saw some of its code get out onto the internet. Although, er, we thought that happened years ago.

"Regarding the technology leak, none of the designers gone has the rights to the game's engine (all the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. technologies, including the X-Ray engine and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-2 engine belong to the company). Even if the current or next-generation engine would appear on the net, their legal use is impossible. GSC does not intend to sell its technologies in the nearest time, so as does not intend to postpone the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl due to rumours of that kind," the statement read.

All a bit odd, frankly. Doesn't sound terminal, but then repeated delays and peculiar press statements don't usually bode well. We'll let you know if we hear anything else.

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