When things went tits-up with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 at Ukrainian developer GSC, a large chunk of disgruntled staff formed a new studio called Vostok Games. There they built a new game on familiar foundations and called it Survarium.
In the open beta are Team Deathmatch and Battery Retrieval modes - a kind of capture-the-battery. There's still no pivotal Freeplay - roam around the twisted world killing mutated AI - mode but, the developer assured, it's on its way. And it's here Survarium will be most like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
I played the closed beta and, connection and teething issues aside, it has robust, entertaining foundations. What struck me most was how Survarium effortlessly - honestly - oozed a kind of bleak Eastern European charm. There are no superfluous frills here.
Survarium isn't to be confused with Stalker Apocalypse/Areal - the suspicious crowdfunding project also based in Ukraine, and also linked to S.T.A.L.K.E.R..