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Former GSC devs tried and failed to win STALKER 2 rights

Vostok insists its still "friends" with GSC boss, defends Survarium's free-to-play model.

The development team behind S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 tried unsuccessfully to win the rights to the franchise after GSC's closure last year so it could continue working on the stalled sequel at new start-up Vostok Games.

Vostok's Oleg Yavorsky told Eurogamer that it had hoped to save the follow-up to the cult 2007 PC shooter from the scrap heap but unfortunately that proved impossible.

"In December 2011 Sergiy Grygorovych - the owner of GSC Game World - decided to close down the company, for his personal reasons as he explained to the team. Effectively, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 development was stopped therefore," explained Yavorsky.

"The team was at a choice of either going to seek employment opportunities elsewhere, or stick together and try to attract external funding and secure the IP rights to be able to complete S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. We chose the latter option and this is how the new studio ultimately emerged.

"As developers of the game, we were certainly eager to continue with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and finish the project. However, after a month or so of negotiations, we did not reach agreement with the rights owner to continue developing under the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand. Alas."

He added that all work on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has now stopped and the rights remain with what is left of GSC.

Yavorsky confirmed that Grygorovych has no involvement with Vostok, but everyone remains on good terms.

"We are communicating with him though and have parted as friends," he insisted.

Although the Stalker franchise now seems dead and buried, Vostok hopes that its spirit will live on in its first game, Survarium, which was announced earlier this week.

"[The] Survarium concept is a next evolutional [sic] step of S.T.A.L.K.E.R we've been working on for the last ten years. Survarium will go a step further, forcing the mankind to fight for survival not only within the closed area of Chernobyl zone, but also far beyond," explained Yavorsky.

"We are keen to preserve the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-similar atmosphere and feel of the game. There are quite a few ideas that we will be borrowing into Survarium.

"For example, players can expect to see a lot of survival elements, factions, anomalies and so on. We are also open to integrate the players' community to sharing ideas and feature plans to determine what would be most appreciated by the players in the new game."

News that the game will be free-to-play wasn't met with universal enthusiasm from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fanbase. However, Vostok was quick to defend the payment model, arguing that it helps maintain a close link with players and combat piracy.

"Free-to-play is an actively developing game model worldwide and we can see many big titles going in that direction today," he said.

"We can also see a bunch of advantages by sticking to this model: possibility to be closer to the players and continuously develop the game in the direction as liked by the community; a way to deal with piracy which is still a keen problem over here; and we can have shorter production cycles for adding new content to the game and expanding it gradually."

The game is expected to launch some time in 2013.