S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky Update

The return to Chernobyl looks hot, and we're not just talking about the radiation.

A lone stalker guides a team of scientists into the heart of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Their goal is to discover the secrets behind the deadly anomalous energy explosions that continue to ravage the zone in the years following the second (and fictional) Chernobyl meltdown. These burnt plains of the Ukraine are littered with aggressive mutant animals, pockets of impassable radiation, and factions of humans willing to kill for valuable irradiated artifacts. Only a seasoned stalker, mercenary hunters of this forsaken landscape, can guide these scientists through unscathed. In the distance, a thundering rumble grows closer, shaking the earth. The stalker halts the scientists as the sky turns blood red. The area suddenly explodes with deadly energy. The scientists are obliterated. The stalker, somehow, survives.

Nothing cheers up a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland like a little kumbaya.

Thus the stage is set for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, a prequel to the celebrated S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. This first-person shooter/role-playing hybrid is set a year before the events of Shadow of Chernobyl and puts you in control of Scar, a mercenary stalker that has somehow become immune to the anomalous energy waves that threaten all life in the exclusion zone. The exclusion zone is open for you to explore as you see fit, allying with factions and playing through the main storyline or simply collecting valuable artifacts to upgrade your abilities and fill your wallet. As always in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., how you play is entirely up to you.

Gallivanting around the exclusion zone isn't going to be easy. There are other stalkers and clans out there, each with their own goals and agendas. Quite often, your goals will clash. For example, you'll seek to collect a powerful artifact while a rival stalker may simply want to kill you. You can see the conflict here. What's impressive is that the clans will operate independent of your actions and non-player characters will fight their own battles in this large, open world.

GSC Game World gave us an updated look at Clear Sky in action, walking us through one of game's largest open areas: the marshland. We spoke quickly with a friendly clan leader who directed Scar to save a stranded comrade that was being hunted by wild, irradiated boars. Before leaving the friendly confines of the camp, Scar shared some friendly words with other clan members--almost every character in the game has something to say--and then purchased a new shotgun from a weapons dealer. The inventory system works much like that of Resident Evil 4--you have a limited number of slots to store guns, ammo, and artifacts. Choose wisely.

As we left the base camp, a group of clan members came along to help out. Since we last saw Clear Sky, GSC Game World added some rudimentary squad commands. They are limited to "attack" and "take cover," but they were nonetheless effective as we ran into a group of bandits hunkered down in an abandoned house in the middle of the marshland. After ordering the squad to take cover, we moved into a good cover position and ordered it to open fire, gaining the element of surprise. We quickly dispatched the enemy, took out a few mutant wild boars, and rescued our friend.

We only saw the shotgun in action, but there will be plenty of interesting weapons, such as one-handed machine guns and old Red Army firearms. Keep in mind that Clear Sky takes place in 2011, so you won't be wielding any giant radiation guns of the future here. Weapon will degrade over time, and you will have to maintain them to keep them from jamming--not something you want to have happen as a mutant boar bears down on you.

In addition to Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Artifact Hunt from the original Shadow of Chernobyl, GSC Game World is adding a new game type to the 32-player multiplayer mode. The development team was scant on details but did say the new mode will be similar to a traditional Capture-the-Flag. We're hoping some of the role-playing-game elements of the single-player game make their way to multiplayer, including customizable clothing and weaponry, but we won't know more until the E3 Media & Business Summit where the game will be shown later this summer.

Many of the buildings are modeled after real-life structures in the exclusion zone.

So far, Clear Sky is looking to expand upon the winning formula that made Shadow of Chernobyl a critical hit last year. While the post-apocalyptic, nuclear wasteland instantly draws parallels to the venerable Fallout franchise, Clear Sky's blend of tactical combat, role-playing elements, and dynamic storytelling looks to carve out a niche all its own. We'll have more on Clear Sky soon.

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Discussion

141 comments
Andzins
Andzins

Best game of 2008!!!! The atmosphere was brilliant,graphics look really really gorgeous!!! :) Game World is very big and gorgeous,gorgeous,gorgeous :) Super B 9.5

westsidesneo
westsidesneo

Yes it will be... the faction wars should be very nice. And with regards to all the people worried about the bugs... I think the devs have learned their lesson with regard to Shadow of Chernobyl. They will be using a lot of the material from STALKER 1 in Clear Sky, so they've probably made it a lot more stable. If you guys like the genre, don't forget Fallout 3! It won't hold a candle to Clear Sky though :D

mjcsniper
mjcsniper

I loved and hated the first game (so many bugs!) - Cant wait for the release, its going to be epic with actual faction wars!

nightharvest
nightharvest

I recommend reading 'Roadside Picnic' by the Strugatsky Brothers before playing this (or the original if you haven't played that yet). It will provide some more perspective to the game. Oh yeah - looking forward to it.

rex97213
rex97213

Wil this run it on max Amd 64 x2 5200+2.61 ghz in each core Nvidia 8800gt 2gig of ram cause it ran the last game on max with full dynamic lighting

xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

cheesman242424 - this game runs on 500 ram with an ati on low settings ,with 1000 ram this game work properly on medium and iven hye settings,but no maximum ,or then crash ...

Roscoe245
Roscoe245

The original game was amazing, I just hope for the love of God, they managed to fix the majority of the bugs in the game before they release it, and have a good amount of server side administration tools unlike the original one.

Bluemaxia
Bluemaxia

I love Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl so much,a FPS/RPG finally,and the atmosphere was brilliant,never used any of the mods,i thought the original game was good enough. I really really cant wait for clear sky,the graphics look really really gorgeous,and i cant wait for all the armor and weapon mods,and the new a-life system should really liven things up,i cant wait to take out some mercs going on a night time raid,muahahaha

dippy88
dippy88

I loved the first 1 and can't wait for this 1 !!

bassbomber20
bassbomber20

I loved the enviroments in STALKER: SOC, you really felt like you were in this haunting wasteland, I'd have to say it was the best experiance I've had in my 14 years of gaming. When a game draws you in like that, and manages to creep you out, you know it's good!

MisterDC
MisterDC

First was good lets see even better :)

runngun123
runngun123

This game should be good if they improved from the last ones bugs and other various bugs (which were fixed and improved by the mods) then this game will be excellent. like oblivion, stalkers saving grace is its modding community and only the modding community is keeping me playing stlaker to this very day ever since it has been released. hopefull GSC have taken on board some of the modding communities improvements and ideas and implemented them into this briliant looking game.

juztrax
juztrax

Fuk Console, PC rules any and every time. PC is the only platform for new development ! Having said that, the original game was a breath of fresh air, to have a game created by russian perspective and feel gave us a whole new experience to gaming that has been lacking for so long. We have been so used to the mind set of American's influence and how their set of values and perspective, influence how a game or story should be played out. Original STALKER was fresh, it gave a feeling of place that American driven games lack. Looking forward to another episode of Russian made darkness. A game infulenced by their unique vision of life, mixed with their hashness from lifes experience, coupelled with FPS action and mystery.

STEVSEN
STEVSEN

Dear god GSC... Add some coop, will ya?!

monty_4256
monty_4256

I loed the way the first one was fallout style... but not that annoying turn based system, and instead FPS, and good FPS too

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

Im looking forward to it.. loved the original STALKER and this one is looking great!

mrklorox
mrklorox

I'm looking forward to Clear Skies. I hope they make the nights dark in vanilla. The Night Darkening mods for the first STALKER made the atmosphere that much more enthralling. Having a firefight in pitch darkness with the only light from the muzzle flashes and lightning is an incredibly fin experience.

pitchblack3
pitchblack3

This is the ONLY game I'm waiting for ever since I finished Shadow of Chernobyl. Not the only one truthfully told, CB's Jericho 2 comes to a close 2nd!!!

dark-wolf12
dark-wolf12

hey xMADxDOGx the book is called "a roadside picnic" it pretty good for those that want to read it but inst like STALKER and shadow of chernobyl was awesome but they could have had some randomisation in where the enemies spawned

jay0012k3
jay0012k3

The original game was bit of a let down apart from the stunning atmosphere, HDR lighting etc. The game play wasn't up to promise and had loads of bugs. I hope the developers get rid of all the anomalies that made the first game disappointing. I don't care about the visuals since S.T.A.L.K.E.R was in every way 'beautiful'. I just want the game play to improve top notch and give us a better experience as to make us feel we are REALLY stalkers out there in the zone.

xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

Aphexchris - you'r probebly in the beginning ...

shailesh_das
shailesh_das

I played the original Stalker for few hours but it has all but Creepy and Gorgeous Environment. I just wanna play Clear sky to see more environment stuff.

aphexchris
aphexchris

@JS24 yeah, i nearly crapped myself myself in some underground lab somewhere - possibly the poltergeists, or the guy with that pulls you towards him... needless to say, i don't like going underground in stalker anymore... =:O clear sky's looking good! :D

harrygordon1000
harrygordon1000

I knew a lot of people who weren't so keen on Stalker but I loved every second of it :). I think it's amazing how well they managed to generate atmosphere - that kind of thing is possibly the games most underated achievement. Can't wait to get my hands on Clear Sky!

shlubster
shlubster

lmao JS24 thats happened to me befor too, except it was in fear when u go down the ladder, and as u turn to go down shes standing in front of u, damn man, im installing that game again lmao its going to be great game though, clear sky

JS24
JS24

OMG This is going to be one of the best games ever ! I was playing the original stalker a couple days ago and came into this abandoned village. It was getting dark and it started to storm. The atmosphere that game creates gave me the chills. It got way worse when i heard a bloodsucker roar inside one of the abandoned houses then burst out of the door. I jumped out of my seat and nearly smashed the exit button i was so scared. F.E.A.R is childs play compared to this game. You know you've made a good game when it makes the player crap his pants he's so scared. lol I am so excited for this game!!!!!!!!

santanadedios
santanadedios

i cant wait for this sequel, stalker 1 was a legend on my pc

quirky_clayboy
quirky_clayboy

I really hope this fills all the gaps left in the gameplay from the original. Like others have said, the atmosphere really pulled you in, but it also felt very artificial how all the stalkers would say the same thing.

Psycold
Psycold

Thank god good PC game developers like this still exist

-Dragon_Hunter-
-Dragon_Hunter-

I've been waiting for this since it was first announced, as i'm a huge fan of the original (Game of the Year 2007 in my book). I have faith in that they will be able to maintain the atmosphere of the first, and if all the improvements they have been talking about make it into the game, i think i'm going to have myself a new all-time favorite.

DFA1
DFA1

I wish they would release this for the Xbox 360, I love playing it on the PC and think it would make for an awesome game on the console.

Treflis
Treflis

I liked Shadow of Chernobyl, struggled to understand the story and found some of the text on the quests didn't add up with what was said. Got often frustrated as I tend to avoid manual quick saving and saving the game in general until I get enough for the day. Hated it when I played one hour, died and was thrown a entire hour back. Frustrating. With that said the atmosphere sucked me in completely and I could feel my neck hairs stand when I went down in the dark bunkers. A good game and I'll probably Check out Clear Sky too.

Lemonsquare
Lemonsquare

This S.T.A.L.K.E.R. looks great, the first one was an awesome game, This should be better? Then maybe Half-Life 2 and the Half-Life episodes are for you landfill_dump? Better graphics, story and game-play? Oblivion had a great atmosphere NF_Stalker... People are so nice here. :)

xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

:) Its realy cool that there is actualy a game of the book and evin a sequel ( book wrote by "Arkadi Strugatsky " and "Boris Strugatsky"- russian writers...for pips who wanna read it ...)The game is way not the same as the book, and the name of the book isn't stalker :p its somthing with piknik(can't translate in eng...).But it takes you realy to a post apocaliptical enviroment/univers , just like in the book...And if you want to be a real stalker , READ the book :D , and you'll be it :)

xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

landfill_dump
landfill_dump

Shadow of Chernobyl rocks! But I have to say that HalfLife never has been a game for me. It's boring, graphics suck and the story isn't good. But hey, that's just my opinion, and i'm very aware of the fact that it has been praised as the best PC game ever, but it just doesn't hit me. Back to Stalker. I really hope that this game will live up to its expectations. I think that it's really hard, because SOC brought something new with it. The deserted city of Pripyat, the devastated power-plant and the feeling of really being on your own, gave the game its unique feeling. That is what the game lived on, without the perfect environment Shadow of Chernobyl would have turned up as a regular FPS that everyone had played before. Even if I don't think that Clear Skies ever will beat SOC, I'm still going to buy it. Only because the first game was so great!

cyw1988
cyw1988

I haven't really played the Original Stalker will look to play it one of these days... to get a feel for it... Still I don't really fancy FPSes unless they are really really good. And they have to be Half-Life 2/COD good to get me to play them... =/

MasterCorban
MasterCorban

Stalker (the first one) was my game of last year, and i bought a lot of games last year! Best atmosphere i have ever felt in a game-so desolate and alone. Cant wait to play this one!

SwitchBlade4474
SwitchBlade4474

Haven't tried the original stalker but i may have to before this one comes out, looks pretty darn good

rockatanski
rockatanski

Stalker rules. It's the closest game to FALLOUT and it is way underrated. Buggy yes, but it still had an eerie environment like no other.

LordAsher
LordAsher

The first game is simply amazing. My computer can run it but only at half of its potential. So the graphics were pretty good. Gameplay is amazing, being able to befriend alot of the stalkers that are in the game. Awesome how you can go through one part of the game and then to another and then go back and find that half the stalkers have died from bandit raids or becoming a meal for a pack of mutants. Everything about the game has kept me a major fan even to this day. I can't wait for the next one, definately have to get a new computer that can run it and the rest of the games that will come out within the next few years. Definately check out the original game, everyone. Well worth the low price that its sold for.

maverick_76
maverick_76

This looks freakin' sweet! I still need to play the original, now that it is $20, I might have to pick it up.

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

I can´t wait to play it... STALKER ownz.... This chernobyl, radiation, cold war theme is awesome....

stevo_360
stevo_360

Looks fantastic, I wish I had a PC that could run it.

maden2004
maden2004

haven't had a chance to play the stalker just but heard alot of good things about it. I might pick it up after i read up on it.

PenthiusX
PenthiusX

The Previous Stalker game was a major disapointment for me i hope this ones better....

criticfromhell
criticfromhell

the first had an atmosphere that would send the highest optimist to hell and back, so i can't wait to see what they do with an improved engine.