The marshlands consist mostly of murky irradiated water and tall reeds, with thin passages of safe land stretching like labyrinthine bridges all over. A few abandoned buildings and settlements dot the landscape.
The Great Swamps are where the game begins in Clear Sky, with the player starting out in the base of the Clear Sky faction. It is also the field of battle between Clear Sky and the conquering Renegades.
The swamps were not always marshland. Before 1991, the area used to be a farming region, with villages and fields, several of which still remain in the area to this day. It was destroyed when the Soviet engineers, building a dam for the hydroelectric power plant nearby, flooded the area. Whether it was deliberate or an accident is unknown. What is known, however, that there were many casualties and the area was abandoned for years to come.
The second Chernobyl incident, the birth of the Zone, has made the unpleasant experience of visiting the Swamps even more unpleasant. Apart from being almost completely inaccessible due to anomalies surrounding the area, it became a haven for renegades, bandits and mutants. Coupled with the amount of anomalies and irradiated swampwater, it was a location to steer away from.
That is probably why Clear Sky chose this area as their base of operations. Its remote location and hostile inhabitants would protect them from other stalkers and keep their operations secret. However, all that changed with the great emission of 2011, the one that changed the Zone and made the anomalies that blocked off travel to the swamps vanish. Renegades moved into the swamps and started taking land from Clear Sky, killing their members. Members of this “faction” are little more than barely organized rabble; the Swamps are the lowest a stalker can go, so Renegades are a haven for degenerates of every kind. All types of people disappear into the swamps: random loners, outcasts from various factions, and just plain criminals.
- Clear Sky base
- Pump station
- Machine yard
- Southern farmstead
- Northern farmstead
- Village ruins
- Fishing hamlet
- Old church
- Burnt farmstead
The marsh is a hostile area. Apart from Clear Sky stalkers and their camp, everything else is hostile: the Renegades are the only human enemies in the Great Swamps. The mutant presence includes blind dogs, boars, fleshes and the enigmatic marsh creature.
The marsh is not a completely new level. The first version was supposed to appear in Shadow of Chernobyl and was released with Build 1935. It is noticeably smaller (one sixth of the Clear Sky size), but still has noticeable landmarks: the Tuzla tunnel, bridge, hamlets, watchtowers, and, of course, the swamps.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Clear Sky Swamp tactical map, prop/prop_map_2.dds
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, st_dialog_manager.xml, string id : dm_about_27: “We've been hiding here so long that sometimes I feel like the whole world is one big swamp. I heard a story once that this used to be normal land, with villages and fields and everything. Then they started building a dam for the hydro power station, and ended up flooding the area. Either they miscalculated or just plain screwed up, but there was just too much water. Lots of folks weren't even evacuated in time. So now it's all a huge swamp.”
- String id dm_about_26: “You could roam these marshes for days on end and never get anywhere. It all looks the same: water, reeds and the occasional vegetation. I guess that's why Lebedev and Beanpolev chose this place for a camp. Even the army with their choppers can't spot us down here. That's how we've managed to do our business freely, away from prying eyes.”
- String id dm_about_5: “The Swamps are the lowest a stalker can go. The only folks you'll find here are those that are running from problems more serious than marshlands, mutants or consumption. On the outside, most of 'em would be rotting either in prison or six feet under. Me, I didn't get along with the army guys, so I had to run around the Zone for a while until the emission opened up the way to these parts. This here's a good place to hide.”
- String id dm_about_15: “The Swamps are a haven for renegades of every kind. All types of people drop in here - random loners, outcasts from various factions, and just plain criminals. We welcome them all; only some get the open-arms treatment, and some the feet-first kind.”