G.S.C. Gameworld was founded in 1995 in Kyiv, Ukraine, by a bunch of passionate game developers hellbent on making immersive and memorable games. During their initial years, they made games like the “Cossacks” series and “American Conquest” series, which were quick to develop their own fanbase but didn’t gain the studio much notoriety, especially with the Western audiences. All of that changed, however, as during the year 2007, G.S.C. Game world released a game that would send shockwaves throughout the industry and gamers alike and revolutionize a genre by delivering a product that gamers play and enjoy even to this day. I am, of course, talking about “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl,” an open-world, narrative-driven immersive-sim that tells a story inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. It’s not easy to describe what “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.” is; it really isn’t, as the game is so much, and all of it, though not flawless, is just plain phenomenal. I mean, there’s a reason why players still play this game to this day, right?
The craziest part about the game, if you ask me, is the story and the lore. The events of the game take place inside the real-life Chernobyl exclusion zone, as I mentioned, but at the same time, they have built it around the philosophical concept of the Noosphere, the Earth’s information field(this is not really proven science but is a real concept just so we are clear). The subjects this game touches on are very ideological, divided between multiple factions, each sharing their own philosophy and the zone itself, which is alive, to say the least. The game was a massive success, and with the years that followed, it spawned sequels like “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky” and “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat.” A direct sequel for the game titled “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2” was planned but got canceled, but the fans eagerly waited in hopes that it would see the light of day. Lo and behold, their prayers were answered, and “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2” is on its way. Let’s see why this game will be worth your time when it releases sometime in 2023.
A quick note before we start, this game has seen many delays, and despite the promise, it may not come out in 2023 because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. We hope and pray that the developers and their families, alongside other people of Ukraine, are safe and sound, and we’d ask you to show respect and empathy to this matter as well.
I’ll be the first one to come out and say that I have not played a single game in this story before, and yet the plot intrigues me. The whole philosophical and ideological nature of it all is something that I’d happily chew up the moment I get my grubby paws on it. Thanks to the internet and YouTube, I have learned a great deal about the factions like Monolith, the Loners, Clear Sky, and more, alongside the experiments the government did inside the zone, which birthed the C-conscious alongside the brain scorchers which ran rampant inside the zone and how the stalkers themselves have made the zone into their home. These concepts are very well thought out, and they sound as interesting and intriguing as they have been fleshed out, so I am eager to experience all of that first-hand and learn more about the world of “S.T.A. L.K.E.R.” and see where the story goes.
Everything from stealth to shooting to surviving looks immaculate in all the gameplay trailers we have seen so far. Ask anyone who has played these games, and they’ll sing praises of how well-made and realistic the mechanics here are and how they have spent hours getting lost in the zone and messing around with the game’s A.I. and systems. The games also have a huge modding community that has added and refined a ton of features through the years and made this masterpiece into something bigger and better. The prospect of having an open-world game that is also an immersive-sim and takes us to an area running rampant with mutants, dangerous humans, and other dangers and hands you a gun and asks you to learn and survive the area is an experience that I am sure will tick many players’ boxes as it does mine.
This is a big one. I love open-world games a lot, and while the genre has gotten a bit stale, laborious, mundane, and overall same-y over the years, that doesn’t mean golden gems don’t pop out every once in a while. “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Heart Of Chornobyl” aims to be one of those gems which will give us a vast open world to explore, which won’t be chock full of question marks and similar activities. The world will have to be explored to find its secrets and face its horrors. Remember in the old days, when someone found something in a game hidden in a corner, they’d spread the word of it, and everyone will go hunting? That’s the kind of experience this game will deliver(hopefully), and we are all the more for it. Alongside that, they are expanding upon their A-Life system, which makes the world alive in every sense of the word meaning that events happen with or without you being there. Enemies and allies fight each other in the background, and the world moves forward whether you are there as a witness or not. How cool is that? Alongside all of this, the landscape looks breathtakingly gorgeous thanks to the use of Unreal Engine 5, which is doing a fantastic job of bringing every frame of the zone to life thanks to detailed textures and incredible lighting. There’s so much I wish to say about the zone, but I have to bear witness to it first myself, right? No matter what, the blend of an immersive sim in an open world using systems like the A-life is bound to give us a memorable experience and lands that we will roam for hundreds if not thousands of hours to find all of its secrets and marvel at all of its wonders.
I hope I am right about this game, and I am sure that G.S.C. Gameworld will deliver upon all the promises they have been making. This is one of the few games coming out this year that I am eagerly looking forward to biting my teeth into and spending hundreds of hours inside the zone. The “S.T.A. L.K.E.R.” games have always been one of a kind, and “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Heart Of Chornobyl” is aiming to raise the bar even higher, and we are so excited to get our hands on it. This is a once-in-a-generation kind of game, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this game will cement its name and legacy among the greats in the hall of fame of video games. The game comes out sometime in 2023 for P.C. and Xbox Series X|S and will also be included with Xbox Game Pass on day one. What a momentous time to be alive if you are a gamer, truly.