Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl release date confirmed

Good news for the two people on the SDMB who are eagerly awaiting the Russian FPS/RPG Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl, which has been in a constant state of limbo regarding its release date, until now - if the official website is to be believed, the release date has been fixed for the first quarter of 2007.

Despite the common perception that this game is “vaporware,” I remain optimistic. In fact, many games, including Half-Life 2, have been in development just as long as this one has. The only reason people think “it’s never going to come out” is because the developer is considerate enough to constantly release updates, videos, screenshots and other material regarding the game, making people think they are being strung along.

In any case, I don’t see how any red-blooded gamer could not be thrilled about this game. It promises absolutely unprecedented weather effects (night/day cycles, moving clouds, sunsets, thunderstorms), open-ended non-linear gameplay, a mix of FPS and RPG elements, a massive free-roaming environment, and a story based on a Russian novel called Roadside Picnic.

Just take a look at some of these images if you don’t believe me.

A masked gunman (with power plant in background.)

Storm clouds over an abandoned Ferris wheel.

Soldier checking his watch in the evening.

Amazing nimbus clouds

Elite soldiers by a marsh.

Incredible blue sky with clouds and wild dog.

Sunset over an apartment block.

Stalker with wild pig in the background.

Another amazing sky.

From everything I’ve read, this game has been extremely well-recieved by play-testers, thought to be mind-bendingly scary and engrossing, and will cause “schools to be closed,” in one man’s words. I think it has the potential to be one of the best shooters of all time.

At this point, I wouldn’t believe it was done if the developer drove to my house and handed me the gold master disc. This is one of those games that is meant to tease me into upgrading my computer year after year. “C’mon, Brahe,” it croons. “STALKER’s coming out soon. Better get that new video card.”

My deepest fear is that it turns out to be Boiling Point, but in Russia.

But, man! STALKER’s coming out!

I bought Boiling Point and played it for one day before I gave up. It was too buggy. It had the potential to be a great game. I personally am sick of developers releasing games too quickly. THQ should take all the time it needs to get the kinks worked out of STALKER.

It looks pretty and I want it… Want it now!