Bethesda and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.? The rumour has surfaced again.

This time it's Ukrainian blogger Sergey Galyonkin (via Rock, Paper, Shotgun) claiming Bethesda has signed the extended rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe.

How the snot does he know? "A very reliable source whom I trust", according to his blog. And Galyonkin has a good track record with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-related news, having tipped the world off about the troubles at developer GSC, which led to a mass exodus of staff who went on to form Vostok Games earlier this year.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. cosplay - there's quite a lot out there.

It was at that time that the 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sold to Bethesda' rumours began.

Galyonkin went on to stress that while Bethesda has bought the game rights to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., GSC founder Sergei Grigorovich retained the rights to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. books, films, merchandise and "everything else".

Exactly what will happen to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 project was unclear. Galyonkin's article was titled "STALKER 2 alive, publishes Bethesda", but that doesn't appear to be echoed in the text. But that could be a Google translation quirk.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was well into development, but how easy it will be to finish without the original team we're not sure.

Bethesda, predictably, wouldn't give an inch when contacted by Eurogamer. "We don't comment on rumour or speculation," the stony-faced PR said.

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is based around the nuclear Chernobyl disaster of 1986. The games - open-world shooters with RPG elements - use an alternate-reality where a second nuclear explosion caused all sorts of strange and otherworldly things to happen.

The first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game took ages and ages to come out, and when it did, was filled with bugs. But it also oozed with an eerie and unique Eastern European atmosphere, and quickly picked up a cult following for it.

Prequel Clear Sky came out in 2008, and semi-sequel Call of Pripyat two years later in 2010.

The name S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a genuine acronym, by the way, and stands for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, Robbers.

Bethesda's own Fallout 3/New Vegas games tread a similar path to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., as does id Software's Rage. It's not clear how and where a Bethesda-developed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game would slot in.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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