A new game called Areal, which is being dubbed as ‘the definitive spiritual successor to the cult hit STALKER series’ has sparked a potential legal tussle.
“Areal is a new video game that's being developed by the people behind STALKER,” the Kickstarter from new studio West Games states. “It features a massive and intricately detailed open world environment that is extremely varied and colourful, even though it's set in a post-apocalyptic setting.
“As most of you know, a studio called GSC game world existed until 2011 and they were responsible for the STALKER series. After GSC dissolved, two new studios formed that consisted of former STALKER employees: Vostok Games and 4A games.
“In 2013, a new company formed called West games, which consists of many former senior staff members from the now dissolved GSC Game World.”
However, these claims are being disputed by Vostock Games, which itself was formed from the remnants of STALKER creators GSC and is currently working on its won spiritual successor Survarium.
“We have contacted GSC's lawyers regarding this fraudulent claim of being the developers of Stalker and Metro Last Light,” Vostock PR manager Joe Mullin said on the game’s forums. “Please do all you can do ensure people know these claims are false.”
Certainly there does appear to be a number of former GSC devs in the West Games team, judging by the details on the Kickstarter page.
The STALKER IP is no stranger to ownership disputes. In December 2012 GSC disputed claims from German publisher BitComposer that it had acquired the rights to the franchise.