No more S.T.A.L.K.E.R. delays?

GSC Game World tells world its long-postponed PC shooter is on the verge of beta-testing...we think.

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Back in November 2001, Ukrainian developer GSC Game World announced it was working on a new PC shooter/role-playing game called Oblivion Lost. A year later, the developer released a second batch of information on the game, which was renamed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. In May 2003, THQ picked up the publishing rights to the game, which it later gave the subtitle Shadow of Chernobyl, and said it would ship around the 2004 holiday season. In February 2005, after missing that ship date, the game was delayed further to a date to be determined.

In the past year, little has been heard about S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and into the vacuum of hard-fact facts dropped rumors galore. The (mostly) uninformed opinions predicted it might be delayed to 2007. Others said it was going to join Duke Nukem in the "vaporware" category--that is, a game in development ad infinitum.

In an effort to set the record straight, GSC sent out an e-mail this week updating the world on S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s status. However, the statement's broken English caused some confusion about exactly how far the game had come along. GSC's assertion that "the project is on the stage of beta approval" led some to believe it was already in the beta stage, while others thought it meant that it was on the verge of going beta. Requests for clarification were sent to US THQ reps, who redirected them to THQ UK, which had not responded as of press time.

Speaking of THQ, GSC's statement shot down rumors that the plug had been pulled on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. by saying that it "is being actively developed in close cooperation with the publisher." It also explained that reports of layoffs were greatly exaggerated. "None of the leads, programmers and moreover, testers may not be reduced at any time," it said. GSC also reiterated that it is the sole owner of the game's X-Ray and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 engines.

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