S.T.A.L.K.E.R. prequel gold, slightly delayed

Clear Sky expansion for GSC's shooter/RPG hybrid wraps development, now on the retail prowl September 5.

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
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More than its moribund dealings with the remnants of irradiated Chernobyl, GSC Game World's S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was defined by its numerous delays. First announced in 2001, the THQ-published shooter/role-playing hybrid didn't lumber onto the PC until March 2007, though it did so to commendable critical approbation. For Shadow of Chernobyl's follow prequel--Clear Sky--GSC Game World and new publisher Deep Silver have largely avoided that fate...but not entirely.

Today, GSC and Deep Silver announced that S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky for the PC has been shipped to manufacturers for mass production. However, with the game makers initially planning Clear Sky to break on August 29, the two said today that the release date has been pushed back a week to September 5.

Playing heavy to the eerily desolate outcome of the 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Clear Sky promises to be as atmospheric as its predecessor. However, as it is set in 2011, the game offers a more modern look at the what-if scenario of fallout-induced mutations. New parts of the Zone, including Red Forest, Limansk, and the Pripyat Undergrounds, can now be explored, and Clear Sky boasts a new animation engine, improved artificial intelligence, and a new upgrade system for weapons and armor.

For the latest on S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, check out GameSpot's hands-on from this year's E3 Media & Business Summit.

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