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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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First S.T.A.L.K.E.R. hamstrung by over-ambition

That and inexperience, says Oleg Yavorsky.

GSC Game World has tried to explain why S.T.A.L.K.E.R. took so long to make, admitting that inexperience and over-ambition were to blame.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. took six years, and GSC's Oleg Yavorsky sees the funny side of this. "Children are born and start going to school within that period," he told Eurogamer in today's interview. "Our big problem was we were developing our technology and the game simultaneously, which for us was a lot of headaches.

"When we wanted to try out a gameplay element, it wouldn't work because there would be some problem with the engine, which was still not finished. Then there was just this ambitious concept: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was to be the ultimate game, with a mix of pretty much everything - shooter, RPG, survival horror, driving.

"We were inexperienced and took on too much," added Yavorsky. Obviously there's a bit more experience floating around now though, because prequel Clear Sky has only taken a year and a half and will be out on 29th August.

But GSC may not be out of the trenches just yet, with console development providing the next hurdle. "We've just started to figure things out with the consoles," admitted Yavorsky. "The technology's pretty much new to us. We'd love to port Clear Sky onto consoles, but currently there are a lot of technical questions.

"We'll see if our technology runs on consoles and go from there."

Head to our preview of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. prequel Clear Sky to see how it's shaping up.