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GSC is closed, STALKER 2 cancelled [Up5: GSC: Wait for Up6 in mid-January]

NBtoaster

Member
Stalker games have the spookiest nightimes. I remember just hiding at the top of some abandoned outpost tower for a whole night so the weird piggy things wouldn't get me. Nothing has replicated that.
 

Oreoleo

Member
I love Bethesda and Obsidian, but there is no way they should touch STALKER. Valve could probably do it justice, based on Half-Life, but even that isn't a 1-to-1 fit. I think it would have to be somebody from that region of the world leading the development.

Valve would surely make a good game of it, but their gun mechanics leave a lot to be desired when comparing STALKER to their franchises. No iron sights, and they typically favor fast paced arcade style shooting to STALKERS more deliberate approach.

The only devs off the top of my head that I would be "happy" seeing them take over STALKER are CD Projekt (And even that.. I dunno) or 4A. You gotta keep that European flavor.
 
Just a heads up to anyone thinking of installing STALKER Complete... I installed it, and it seems to work fine with my old saves, so I didn't have to restart after all. The difference is remarkable.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Okay, got SoC since you say it's better than CoP... Is Complete the definitive mod for that still? Oblivion Lost seems popular too and has some nice videos but it's not like I know exactly what's modified in them...
 
Okay, got SoC since you say it's better than CoP... Is Complete the definitive mod for that still? Oblivion Lost seems popular too and has some nice videos but it's not like I know exactly what's modified in them...

Oblivion Lost is terrible, dude. Why not just play the game vanilla first to see if you like it before going all willy-nilly?
 
I love Bethesda and Obsidian, but there is no way they should touch STALKER. Valve could probably do it justice, based on Half-Life, but even that isn't a 1-to-1 fit. I think it would have to be somebody from that region of the world leading the development.

It's a weird comparison but after Dead Island I'd almost think that Techland (Polish) could pull it off; it has that same sense of desolation and being a scavenger in a hostile environment, and the pacing wildly jumps between eerie stillness and a desperate fight for survival just like SoC, although obviously the setting is extremely different and the game never plays it straight like STALKER.

Of course, this is only if you ignore that Techland FPS games are universally terrible.
 

Max

I am not Max
Okay, got SoC since you say it's better than CoP... Is Complete the definitive mod for that still? Oblivion Lost seems popular too and has some nice videos but it's not like I know exactly what's modified in them...

Yep, get on that Complete mod.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Running SoC I get weird shadow distortions/appearances as I look around toward the edges of the screen with settings on maximum. Will Complete fix that (still downloading, only just finished SoC) or is there another fix? On a GTX285 with the latest WHQL drivers. CoP didn't have that issue with or without Complete.

Edit: it's the full dynamic lighting + sun shadow that causes it. Seems like a pretty big thing to sacrifice. Not many things cast shadows if I only choose object only dynamic lighting. While the scene lighting changes completely if I choose full dynamic lighting yet disable sun shadow, from noon-ish it looks like evening or dawn.

Edit: found a GFaqs thread with the same issue but no solutions. Dude made a youtube video too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-XkvqX56BA
Going by the comments apparently the Steam version doesn't offer the latest patch? The fuck? No solution mentioned anywhere outside not using these settings.

Edit: ops, missed it, they have a solution in putting r2_sun_near_border 1 in console. Not sure if it causes any other graphical issues.

Now the only real issue vanilla seems to have is how closely ahead of you the cast shadows become a mess. Can't wait to see what Complete adds.

Edit: can't see much visual difference with Complete, it starts on a different time of day. But gameplay wise it's already eliminated the annoying head bob at least.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
I'm reading publisher's discussion on twitter (people who worked/started russian publishers focused on PC gaming) and judging from numbers they mention it seems that the problem was in lack of console versions indeed. Most sales of PC games come from Russia/Poland and these markets have lower prices than usual (like 3 times lower in Russia for example). By selling 800 000k at retail (where the market still is in Russia/Poland) they get only 10 million$. 200 000k through digital - another 3 million. And that is for a major project with experienced publisher behind it. so they just broke even.

The bottomline - you can't have a team of 50 people and develop for PC only, period.*

Today GSC will issue an official statement and according to various rumours Grigorovich may say that he closed the company because of personal reasons. But personal reasons or not, the real reasons behind closing ae likely to be mostly financial. "Personal reasons" - I don't want to develop a game and then barely stay alive next two years, I had enough of this - something like this, I guess.

*edit: by this I mean single-player games.
 

dLMN8R

Member
I'm reading publisher's discussion on twitter (people who worked/started russian publishers focused on PC gaming) and judging from numbers they mention it seems that the problem was in lack of console versions indeed. Most sales of PC games come from Russia/Poland and these markets have lower prices than usual (like 3 times lower in Russia for example). By selling 800 000k at retail (where the market still is in Russia/Poland) they get only 10 million$. 200 000k through digital - another 3 million. And that is for a major project with experienced publisher behind it. so they just broke even.

The bottomline - you can't have a team of 50 people and develop for PC only, period.*

Today GSC will issue an official statement and according to various rumours Grigorovich may say that he closed the company because of personal reasons. But personal reasons or not, the real reasons behind closing ae likely to be mostly financial. "Personal reasons" - I don't want to develop a game and then barely stay alive next two years, I had enough of this - something like this, I guess.

*edit: by this I mean single-player games.
Look, I love the STALKER games, but this seems like a collection of bullshit excuses.

-Some self-introspection is necessary on their part. Are they ignoring comments from both gamers and reviews about how shoddy their games are? They're absolutely wonderful for the few people like me who can struggle through the broken-ness, but even Call of Pripyat - by far their most polished game - had severe issues with regards to performance and stability. Whether it's people who heard from their friends or who pirated before buying, why would anyone buy the game after they had a chance to try it? It's not an excuse for pirates, but it's also not an excuse for GSC.

-Furthermore, this shit would fly even less on consoles. Why would they think a console version would magically turn their sales around? Plenty of games outright fail on consoles - many did exactly that this year. And most of those games are far more polished and mainstream-ized than even the best STALKER game was.

-That is, of course, if they could even get the STALKER games on consoles in the first place. But with such an unoptimized engine, they would have had to spend significantly more money just to re-work the engine and conform to platform standards, it would have been even more difficult to make their money back.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
Look, I love the STALKER games, but this seems like a collection of bullshit excuses.

-Some self-introspection is necessary on their part. Are they ignoring comments from both gamers and reviews about how shoddy their games are? They're absolutely wonderful for the few people like me who can struggle through the broken-ness, but even Call of Pripyat - by far their most polished game - had severe issues with regards to performance and stability. Whether it's people who heard from their friends or who pirated before buying, why would anyone buy the game after they had a chance to try it? It's not an excuse for pirates, but it's also not an excuse for GSC.

-Furthermore, this shit would fly even less on consoles. Why would they think a console version would magically turn their sales around? Plenty of games outright fail on consoles - many did exactly that this year. And most of those games are far more polished and mainstream-ized than even the best STALKER game was.

-That is, of course, if they could even get the STALKER games on consoles in the first place. But with such an unoptimized engine, they would have had to spend significantly more money just to re-work the engine and conform to platform standards, it would have been even more difficult to make their money back.


I can't understand why you are talking about STALKER but I was talking about sales of big PC exclusives (TW2 in this case).
 

dLMN8R

Member
I can't understand why you are talking about STALKER but I was talking about sales of big PC exclusives (TW2 in this case).

The Witcher 2 made a significant profit despite those facts about Russian distribution, wildly outpacing their expectations. So I'm not sure why you're talking about The Witcher 2 when it goes directly against your statement.

Seemed like you're implying that GSC closed because of sales numbers of STALKER games. That's why I brought up STALKER.

Also, we're in a thread about STALKER, so, ya know...
 

Angry Fork

Member
So when are these publishers going to consider raising money from gamers? What if they asked for x number of dollars to be donated so the game can be made? Gabe mentioned this a couple times a few years ago but nothing came of it.
 
So when are these publishers going to consider raising money from gamers? What if they asked for x number of dollars to be donated so the game can be made? Gabe mentioned this a couple times a few years ago but nothing came of it.

One game is already doing it.



http://www.wmdportal.com/projects/cars/
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
50 person team sounds super small. No wonder the games are so clunky. What are the wages there if 4 million sales over less than 3 years aren't enough to conveniently sustain them? I mean, Spiderweb Software only has a family to feed more or less but they only sell tens of thousands of copies, not hundreds, and don't usually have a game out every year,while some perform much less. I'd think the numbers can work as multiplied for the 50 people in a country with lesser living expenses. And why didn't they try to do more widespread appeal games inbetween/on the side if they were really hurting for cash, instead of continue business as usual if it clearly wasn't viable? And would their wages really be increased all that much if the games did better or just all go to the boss/company? Did employees actively go with less than standard wage?
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
The Witcher 2 made a significant profit despite those facts about Russian distribution, wildly outpacing their expectations. So I'm not sure why you're talking about The Witcher 2 when it goes directly against your statement.

Seemed like you're implying that GSC closed because of sales numbers of STALKER games. That's why I brought up STALKER.

Also, we're in a thread about STALKER, so, ya know...

I just told you how much money they made from TW2. This comes from a man from a company who were publishing TW1 and then TW2 when 1C bought them. He knows better than you. 13 million $ approximately. That is all. (and not only in Russian distribution, east european market included).

Is it enough to exist? Yes. Is it good for a company where majority of people have families to suppot and they need stability and therefore profitability, not barely break even? No. and that is a major publishing house with marketing and all that stuff. GSC didn't have that muscle but they had these expenses. That is why I'm talking about them.

edit: I'll try to clarify these numbers, just in case.

50 person team sounds super small. No wonder the games are so clunky. What are the wages there if 4 million sales over less than 3 years aren't enough to conveniently sustain them? I mean, Spiderweb Software only has a family to feed more or less but they only sell tens of thousands of copies, not hundreds, and don't usually have a game out every year,while some perform much less. I'd think the numbers can work as multiplied for the 50 people in a country with lesser living expenses. And why didn't they try to do more widespread appeal games inbetween/on the side if they were really hurting for cash, instead of continue business as usual if it clearly wasn't viable? And would their wages really be increased all that much if the games did better or just all go to the boss/company? Did employees actively go with less than standard wage?

I guess Grigorovich tried to make extra money with merchandise but it didn't work out.

well, let's wait and see...
 

dLMN8R

Member
I just told you how much money they made from TW2. This comes from a man from a company who were publishing TW1 and then TW2 when 1C bought them. He knows better than you. 13 million $ approximately. That is all. (and not only in Russian distribution, east european market included).

Is it enough to exist? Yes. Is it good for a company where majority of people have families to suppot and they need stability and therefore profitability, not barely break even? No. and that is a major publishing house with marketing and all that stuff. GSC didn't have that muscle but they had these expenses. That is why I'm talking about them.

edit: I'll try to clarify these numbers, just in case.



I guess Grigorovich tried to make extra money with merchandise but it didn't work out.

well, let's wait and see...
You never once clarified in your first post that you were quoting anyone remotely related to The Witcher or CD Projekt. You just listed random context-less numbers generically stating what games sell in Russia.

Still right now, nothing you've posted is adequately sourced or suggest anything but The Witcher and The Witcher 2 making a profit.

It seems like you came into this thread out of the blue, without any sources, and even after being questioned still failing to provide any source, and are using your unsourced numbers to back a claim that the unsourced numbers don't even seem to back up in the first place.


The Witcher obviously made a profit. It's how they were able to develop The Witcher 2 with such excellent quality, stability, and polish that GSC could never dream of reaching. There is also 0 indication that the STALKER games weren't profitable too.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
It seems like you came into this thread out of the blue.

yeah, I came into this thread so out of the blue that I'm the one who started it.

I think I'll rip your post into parts and be done with this discussion because I have no time for discussions with people who don't even remotely know the subject. I suggest you actually read what I'll write below because I won't respond to the same kneejerk reactions. I will highlight some parts for you take notice and have them in mind while you're reading to better understand calculations.

Still right now, nothing you've posted is adequately sourced or suggest anything but The Witcher and The Witcher 2 making a profit.

The post I'm talking about is a tweet by Sergei Klimov, the founder of Snowball Studios - the former big russian publisher and developer which got absorbed in 1C in 2009-2010 (I don't remember which year for sure). Snowball Studios published TW1 in Russia and had close relationship with CD Project. As we know the majority of TW1 copies were sold in Russia (about 465 000 copies as of 2010 - I can't find this old press-conference material in russian, sorry but here is the link to CD Project interview where it's confirmed), Poland, Germany and about 150 000 copies in NA. So Sergei, as a publisher of the game in territories where it made major profits, knows what cut do they have from these copies sold and what cut do they have in general because he worked with international publishers too. So according to him if you sell 800 000k copies with about 40% of copies sold in RU, PL (which sounds exactly like TW1, TW2 and probably STALKER percentage and please note that they sell full price in Germany which is a major PC market too) + 200 000 copies in digital (TW2 sold 250 000 digital copies) they have about 13 million $ on their hands.

As we know The Witcher 2 budget was at 8 million $ (27 million zloty) in summer 2010 and probably went higher when it was released in May 2011. According to CD Project the game had been in development for 3 years, so it's about 4 million $ each year = about 12-13 million $ in the end. That's without marketing. Now let's get back to Sergei's tweets. After these tweets with numbers (which seem to be average but if we take a look at TW2 sales - 1.2 million with 250 000 copies sold digitally - we can see that it sold in almost the same proportion) Sergei said that even CD Project have 1:1 budget/sales ratio and therefore needs to publish the game on consoles to be profitable. Let me remind you that he is a publisher himself, he published the first game, he is close to CD Project and he knows what he is talking about. This directly correlates with appropriate cost of TW2 development which is about 12-13 million $.

I hope cost structure is clear enough for you now.

It seems like you came into this thread out of the blue, without any sources, and even after being questioned still failing to provide any source, and are using your unsourced numbers to back a claim that the unsourced numbers don't even seem to back up in the first place.

look above

The Witcher obviously made a profit. It's how they were able to develop The Witcher 2 with such excellent quality, stability, and polish that GSC could never dream of reaching. There is also 0 indication that the STALKER games weren't profitable too.

as you might not know CD Project is a big international publisher (one of the biggest in Europe) and it's also a public company. They have money and even if The Witcher bombed (and it did at first) they would continue to exist. According to a person on Neogaf who knows people from CD Project and works in the industry, majority of TW1 team was fired after TW1 (some were rehired again). I can't find his posts and the thread but there was even a pic with people fired (and rehired). It's buried in some spring thread, feel free to dig it up. This doesn't happen if the project is a resounding success. But TW1 continued to sell well and it had become obvious that it's better to make the sequel because there is a franchise there which can be brought to other platforms. TW1 made profit, that's for sure but not right out of the gate. TW2 did right out of the gate + had 30% increase in sales according to the latest RPS interview, so that's progress. Still they need to make the game multiplatform to feel comfortable in a financial sense. GSC didn't have a chance to do the same numbers without publisher's support which they didn't get, it seems.
 

dLMN8R

Member
Seems like you're mixing together a whole lot of disparate sources without any cohesive numbers. I have no doubt Segei knows what he's talking about, for his own business, but just because he has insight into one segment of sales doesn't mean he knows everything about every sale in every territory.

Furthermore, what the hell does any of this conjecture and assumption have to do with GSC? Even if sales projections extruded from your rough conjecture about The Witcher were remotely comparable, you still have the far-more-important factor of quality to consider too.


This entire argument started because out of nowhere, you said "judging from numbers they mention it seems that the problem was in lack of console versions indeed". That's just fucking bullshit. As is completely clear from the successes and failures of console games in the last few years, consoles are not magical sources of success. They're extremely expensive to develop for, and even harder to market and sell games for.

If GSC released the STALKER games on consoles, they would have not only bombed hard in sales, but they would have taken a horrible beating in metacritic too, and probably would have forced the studio closed after the first game because of all the tremendous costs that go along with releasing console games.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
on a related note Sergey Galyonkin said in RPS comment sections that devs seek investors:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/12/stalker-2-a-light-in-the-wasteland/

Ex-developers (not Sergey) are looking for investor at this moment, so they could continue development.

I’m not certail how they are going to pull this off, since all rights to STALKER brand belong to Sergey Grigorovich.

Stalker-Risen anyone?

Well, rights to already developed and ufinished STALKER 2 are too belong to Grigorovich, so it would be hard to rebrand it and finish under a new name. Although Grigirovich might be fine with that if he gets his money, right?
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
I think crowdsourcing is the way to go for them but I doubt: 1)that they will decide to go this way because of some reasons it's too long to write about them 2)that Sergei allows that.

But I hope I'm wrong. They need to secure some investor funds and crowdsource the rest of sum they need.
 

MDSLKTR

Member
I would gladly play $500 to fund the development of STALKER 2. It is a corner of gaming that has the biggest potential. Letting it die will only making gaming worse.

Same here. I never gave tought to crowdsourcing before, but I would definitely give some amount of money for it.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
current buzz on twitter is pretty amusing. apparently some people are interested in buying (even one studio "which could do a better game"), but there is nothing known for sure and it seems highly unlikely. Also Grigorovich seems to be a difficult man to work with in a negative way and publishers tend to avoid him.

it seems that STALKER is really dead.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Enjoying the first game with the Complete mod more than I expected (and more than the last couple times). Although I must say it's way more linear than I thought it would be after seeing people rail Metro 2033 for its linearity. So far I might as well be going through "stages" with the option to explore and dick around a little before moving on, but not find much worthwhile anyway once I got geared up to a good progress level for the part I was in. Before I "got" how the game worked it felt good and gave the illusion of open ended play as I explored the very first area, at night, worrying over puny enemies like mutated dogs, finding the occasional stash, etc, but now that I've progressed through another couple or so areas, it seems that outside the main story missions which take me through the areas quite fast it's super limited. Though I realise I'm still in the beginning it doesn't seem like the game will change its design (other than shift the focus from bandits and soldiers to mutants and such and add to the scare factor, going underground, etc). Well, it's fun, even though so far it's all against human enemies mostly, and the gunplay is clunky, the AI makes them quite fun to fight all out or stealthy. There are some annoyances like respawning enemies and such though, clearing all nearby bandit camps then having bandits raiding the friendly camp 10 minutes later is silly. But it's not too bad since it's so linear I just said fuck it and moved on where the story wanted me to go next which was yet another stag... er, area.
 
A lot more console devs have bit the dust than pc devs. Go reread nirolak's list.

No one near the importance for console gaming comparable to what those PC studios meant for PC development. No disrespect, but not one of those studios from that list matches LGS, Ion Storm Austin, BIS, Bullfrog, Ensemble, Sierra. And that's just a few and ignoring the likes of Irrational, Red Storm Entertaniment, Monolith, Illusion Softworks and others getting bought out and going multiplatform or closed down.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Well, that's going into way subjective territory. For example, obviously console-only gamers might think all the PC studios that closed weren't important, while a heavy old school PC gamer might think no current studio matches the importance of those PC devs so any new closure wouldn't be nearly as important to him/her. Disasters have occured on both sides of the industry regardless of what you're mostly into (I mean, look at what happened to SEGA), that doesn't always show an issue with the market conditions on the platforms as a whole but also with the decisions of publishers and developers alike, especially for many of those you just mentioned.
 

scitek

Member
Does Grigorovich own the actual engine and other assets? I'm sure he'd like to make something off of those and not just let them go to waste, but I don't know the guy, nor do I know how much interest in it there is from other parties.
 
Well, that's going into way subjective territory. For example, obviously console-only gamers might think all the PC studios that closed weren't important, while a heavy old school PC gamer might think no current studio matches the importance of those PC devs so any new closure wouldn't be nearly as important to him/her. Disasters have occured on both sides of the industry regardless of what you're mostly into (I mean, look at what happened to SEGA), that doesn't always show an issue with the market conditions on the platforms as a whole but also with the decisions of publishers and developers alike, especially for many of those you just mentioned.

That doesn't change my point, the point that regardless of the reasons of why it happened, PC has lost a lot of very high quality devs (I could list around 20-30) and types of games they were doing , and they are hardly going to come back, most likely never, and that is pretty big loss The same can't be said about consoles; nearly all of the experiences consoles were providing in the past are stll there. The appropriate comparison to some of the above mentioned PC studios would be something like shutting down Nintendo EAD, Platinum Games or Arc System Works.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
Enjoying the first game with the Complete mod more than I expected (and more than the last couple times). Although I must say it's way more linear than I thought it would be after seeing people rail Metro 2033 for its linearity.


COP is more open but it's also more boring imo. You have a lot of sidequests and explorations going but... something is missing. At least for me.

Clear Sky strikes perfect balance between too. The zone isn't boring yet and there is a lot of side stuff to do.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
So I asked some industry people on Twitter and here are figures:

1)To develop a game like STALKER on PC in Ukraine with marketing and stuff you need about 5-6 million bucks (Stalker is an established brand, so marketing would be cheaper). Metro 2033 was cheaper btw (and multiplatform)
3)DD price should be about 30 dollars (30% - distributor's share, 10% - taxes, average price at face value - 70%, so you get about 12,6$ from a copy).

So you need to sell about 400 000 copies through DD only to break even (if your budget is 5 million bucks). But this game is mostly popular in Eastern Europe so you are likely to sell only about 200 000 - 250 000 copies through digital, everything else will go through retail at lower price.

Still it seems pretty viable for a game like STALKER. They wouldn't be rolling in money but survive most likely and have some modest profit after the first year. The question is was it worth it for Grigorovich? Or he had some other motives other than financial ones? I guess we'll never know.
 
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