Stalker 2 Developer Diary shows a team that is obsessed with detail down to the tooth

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,036   +815
Staff member
Highly anticipated: In celebration of the 14th anniversary of the original game Stalker, studio GSC Game World released a developer diary to show its current progress with the sequel Stalker 2. The game is due out sometime this year but still has not gotten a specific release date or launch window.

After two cancelations and a six-year hiatus, GSC Game World is well aware that fans are getting anxious to play Stalker 2. So the studio thought Friday would be a good day to update players on how the game is coming along. The video (above) teased character models, weapons, and teeth. Teeth? Yes. Teeth.

First off, the models look amazing. The attention to detail is phenomenal. Backpacks show scuff marks and wear, clothing looks old with stray threads protruding here and there, and the textures are close to photorealistic. Despite how great the models look so far, GSC's Zak Bocharov says they are still "a work in progress." If these are the unfinished details, it's hard to imagine what else the devs will do with them.

Likewise, the weapons are just as detailed. These aren't pristine guns straight from the factory. Metal shows rust and pitting, wood shows wear and fade spots, and some have jury-rigged repairs made with duct tape. There are also various intricate details in the weapon textures. For example, the shotgun has an ornate etching on the jointing depicting a duck-hunting scene (below).

The game will have over 30 different weapons. Firearms are modular, so different attachments like grenade launchers, laser sights, and flashlights can be placed on the base models. Bocharov didn't go so far as to say weapons would be modifiable by the player, but that would not be an unreasonable assumption.

Now, what is this thing about teeth? Apparently, the team is so obsessed with the smallest of details that they created a unique "teeth tool."

"We worked a lot to fill the world with a decent amount of memorable details," explained Bocharov. "And sometimes it takes us to completely unexpected realms. Literally, every human in Stalker 2 has a one-of-a-kind smile."

The teeth tool allows character designers to remove teeth, make them crooked, or replace them with dental crowns. Just as in real life, no two people have the same dental pattern, neither do they in Stalker 2. Players are not going to pay much attention to this minutiae when the bullets are flying. Still, this obsessive attention to detail shows how the team is dedicated to making the game graphically spectacular.

Bocharov didn't have any updates on a release date. Last we heard, Stalker 2 releases sometime this year as an Xbox Series X|S and PC exclusive.However, it will likely only be a timed exclusive because GSC spent much effort creating a new multi-platform game engine, which it probably does not want to see go to waste. So hang in there if you've been waiting. It shouldn't be too much longer.

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Neatfeatguy

Posts: 350   +535
I absolutely loved the first STALKER game, Shadow of Chernobyl. The atmosphere was amazing and while there certainly were bugs that needed to be fixed, the STALKER series is the only series that I've paid full retail price for. The best thing about the release prices for the STALKER games was that they were only $39.99.

My favorite out of the 3 game was Clear Sky. I played the crap out of it. I replayed the game many times so I could try joining every different faction. The atmosphere wasn't there as it was in SoC, but that didn't bother me, I just enjoyed what the game had to offer.

Call of Pripyat was okay, it was kind of a mix of SoC and CS. Not as good as the first it didn't capture my attention like CS and SoC did, but I enjoyed playing it.

If STALKER 2 can be at least as good as CoP, I'll be content with it and will be willing to buy it at full retail price. If the game falls flat, I'll wait until a sale brings the price down to the $20 and under before I buy it.
 

kapital98

Posts: 357   +306
The original Stalker is one of my all-time favorites. Especially since it came out just before Crysis and well before Fallout 3. Both in the visuals and the narrative -- it remains a classic FPS (bugs and all).

The modding community has always been helpful for the Stalker franchise. There were some really amazing mods that fixed many of the shortcomings of the original game. The original was so vast -- it always seemed incomplete.

As above, if Stalker 2 can even be as good as third game, CoP, that's a big win for Stalker fans.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 428   +465
This obsession with minor visual details that most people won't even pay any attention to is dumb. It doesn't help in making good games. We're playing a game, not watching a CGI movie.

I'd be much happier hearing about the devs having this same obsession with AI, gunplay, level design, atmosphere and especially polishing and bug hunting, considering how buggy the initial release of previous STALKER games were.
 

GamerNerves

Posts: 93   +49
There is supposedly no harm in crafting these indifferent details, but like @arrowflash wrote, it is much more useful and appealing to focus your energy on different things. Gameplay is what matters and minute details don't contribute to that. I was actually little afraid when I saw the second trailer, that the devs would have too heavy focus on graphics, but I still remain hopeful. Maybe they have big enough team for such refinements.

Now that I think about it, the original Stalker games had quite detailed weapons and characters, but other things like the levels are simply bare, so overall the series was not focused on graphical details, but still looked often gorgeous.
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 763   +647
So loved this series but never finished STALKER due to bugs. The atmosphere is amazing and creepy as all hell, it's brutal and makes you pay attention and be conservative.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 357   +314
This obsession with minor visual details that most people won't even pay any attention to is dumb. It doesn't help in making good games. We're playing a game, not watching a CGI movie.

I'd be much happier hearing about the devs having this same obsession with AI, gunplay, level design, atmosphere and especially polishing and bug hunting, considering how buggy the initial release of previous STALKER games were.
Immersion and the uncanny valley is the goal, to the point you are playing a cgi movie that looks almost real life. It's been the progression of graphics since the 80s and your statement is kind of dumb.
These are artists molding 3d models and making textures into their art, which artists always go to the smallest of details, it's what separates a professional from an amateur, the problem with the industry is when you get people that think it's just a job and don't give 2 craps and have no passion.
The only thing I can suggest to you is stick with 16 bit retro games and cell phone time passers if that is how you feel. I am being sincere with this statement it's not meant as asinine.