GSC Game World and Valve have announced that S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky will be digitally distributed exclusively through Steam when the game comes out "later this year".
That doesn't mean that there won't be a boxed version, though, because there will, but GSC has yet to announce who will be publishing it. THQ, which handled the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R., seems to have run home crying.
GSC CEO Sergiy Grygorovych said the devs "chose to deliver the digital version of the game exclusively on Steam because of its proven success not only as the leading global digital distribution platform for games, but because it allows us to directly reach its integrated and active community of gamers".
Gabe Newell called GSC a "forward-thinking game maker". Our friends at Rock, Paper, Shotgun remarked that they "like to imagine people quoted in press releases winking chummily to each other when they say things like that", which is certainly more romantic than swapping emails with huge CC lists while everyone changes the wording and then 'ticks' it and someone makes a PDF.
Anyway, Clear Sky takes place one year prior to the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - a group of stalkers has reached the heart of the Zone with catastrophic results, and you have to shoot people in a very free-form manner to sort things out.
For more on why that's an exciting prospect, check in with our S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl review.