S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a survival horror first-person shooter series created by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World. The series was published by three editors: THQ in 2007, Deep Silver in 2008 and BitComposer Entertainment in 2010.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a video game series set in the Zone of Alienation around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The games are set in an alternative universe, in which a second nuclear disaster occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 2006 and causes strange changes in the area around it, causing the area to be inhabited by illegal residents known as "stalkers".
The background and some terminology of the games ("The Zone", "Stalker") are borrowed from the popular science fiction novella Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker that was loosely based on it, as well as Stalker, a novel based on an early draft for Tarkovsky's film.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are for the most part survival-horror shooter games, although they also combine elements of role-playing games and business simulators. The games feature a non-linear storyline along with various optional objectives. The game's setting itself is comprised of various areas around the Chernobyl plant, ranging from abandoned cities to laboratories and old factories, among others.
The first game of the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, was released worldwide in 2007. In December, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl won the Special Achievement award for Best Atmosphere in GameSpot's Best and Worst 2007, that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. captures the "ghost town" nature of the zone, from the abandoned cities to the overgrown wilderness. Then, the game adds its own paranormal elements, which help make a spooky environment almost terrifying at times." As of September 2008, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl has sold 2 million copies worldwide. GSC Game World CEO Sergiy Grygorovych has said "We are very pleased that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. became so popular among players from all over the world. Financial success will allow us to develop S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in different directions as a brand."  Shadow of Chernobyl's subsequent prequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, was released in 2008 worldwide, and the game's sequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, was released in 2010. A fourth installment, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, was due to be released, but internal problems with GSC and as of 2022, the Russo-Ukrainian War, led to the game's development being indefinitely frozen.
List of games
- With initial release (year)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (2008)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (2009/2010)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl (est. 2022)
- "GameSpot's Best and Worst 2007: Best Atmosphere". GameSpot. 2007-12-24. http://uk.gamespot.com/best-of/specialachievement/index.html?page=24. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
- "S.T.A.L.K.E.R official site". GSC Game World. 2008-09-03. http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/. Retrieved 2008-09-03.