S.T.A.L.K.E.R. moral lesson: Ambition is very costly

Coming soon, thanks to THQ

“The time when development here was cheap is now gone, so our budgets for development are now comparable to European or American budgets,” says GSC Game World‘s Anton Bolshakov, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl project lead when asked by GamesIndustry.biz on what it’s like to be an Eastern European dev playing a big boy’s game. Which is why they appreciated the attention THQ Entertainment gave to the project two years ago.

All developers are dreamers by default. So having a publisher look into things helps a lot to speed things up, to move properly along a development schedule: it’s very important to have this cooperation. Especially for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

So much for Orson Scott Card’s vision of a publisher-less dev world, I guess.

The hard part was that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was an ambitious title designed to push itself hard, just like the PS3. With advanced AI, and the sharpest graphics ever seen when it was first revealed, it really attracted a lot of attention. And just like the PS3, all that hard-pushing inevitably meant cost and production concerns.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was originally meant to be released in 2004. But the advanced “A-Life” concept took so much experimentation – and time – that it resulted in the inevitable delay. Now, two years past 2004, its graphics look quite dated compared to recent releases. GSC is banking on the game’s other draws – A-Life included – to attract the attention of gamers.

At least it attracted THQ. “For any developer it’s important to have a big, well-established partner like THQ to work with. Including us.” Look at it this way. At least it’s no Duke Nukem Forever.

Coming soon, thanks to THQ

“The time when development here was cheap is now gone, so our budgets for development are now comparable to European or American budgets,” says GSC Game World‘s Anton Bolshakov, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl project lead when asked by GamesIndustry.biz on what it’s like to be an Eastern European dev playing a big boy’s game. Which is why they appreciated the attention THQ Entertainment gave to the project two years ago.

All developers are dreamers by default. So having a publisher look into things helps a lot to speed things up, to move properly along a development schedule: it’s very important to have this cooperation. Especially for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

So much for Orson Scott Card’s vision of a publisher-less dev world, I guess.

The hard part was that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was an ambitious title designed to push itself hard, just like the PS3. With advanced AI, and the sharpest graphics ever seen when it was first revealed, it really attracted a lot of attention. And just like the PS3, all that hard-pushing inevitably meant cost and production concerns.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was originally meant to be released in 2004. But the advanced “A-Life” concept took so much experimentation – and time – that it resulted in the inevitable delay. Now, two years past 2004, its graphics look quite dated compared to recent releases. GSC is banking on the game’s other draws – A-Life included – to attract the attention of gamers.

At least it attracted THQ. “For any developer it’s important to have a big, well-established partner like THQ to work with. Including us.” Look at it this way. At least it’s no Duke Nukem Forever.

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