Call of Pripyat
exclusive preview from Gameplay magazine (5.2009)
The plot is starting few days after SoC final events - Gunslinger is turning the psy-antennas off, but too, being out of it for few days. In the meantime, all the stalker realized the possibilities and perspectives of the pass opening, rush there. Of course, the way is too thin for all the people, so factional conflicts raise again and all the place began to fill with corpses.
Unexpectedly, the military forces become more active too. News about the psy-emission source liquidation reach military headquarters, and so, the development of "Fairway" operation started. The whole point of it is search for the safe way deep into the Zone for sending heavy-armed troops there and establish full control over the place. But something goes terribly wrong, and all the helicopters sent for reconnaissance vanish.
As said in the old wisdom, probably the one scout can make it where the big group failed. So the HQ send one operative to the place to inquire about facts of the case, while being undercover as a stalker. But, well - why "undercover"? He's actually a stalker, just having an eye on Ministry of Defense pays, so - on the military side. His name is Alexander Degtyarev, and he will be the protagonist.
Our main task will be to find and investigate what happened to those five helicopters. You'll find some info while searching for each of them, and of course in result we'll reveal the inconceivable Mystery. But, of course, the developers won't say anything about it before the release
Alex arrived at the place a bit late - stalkers already settled there, opened the small Bar in the old rusty ship, used some houses around, revealed the nearest anomalies etc.
Only two small groups of Duty and Freedom reached the Backwater, so they concluded a temporal truce and organized a base in the old suiting building. It is divided in two parts - for each faction. Everyone agreed that this will be neutral territory where no one will shoot.
Of course, bandits appeared there too, searching for easy money. One of them, Sultan, smart bastard, started a mess trying to gain control all over the place. But he's not going to kill anyone in sight, so it's possible to work for him.
So, we have 3 factions available for interaction, working etc. It won't be possible to join one of them (because it'll ruin the possibility of visiting lots of places and bring way too much shooting against the aggressive faction stalkers into the game. But you can change the force balance, do various tasks, help faction you sympathize to dominate.
Of course, there won't be any infinite wars for control points! Everything is a lot more interesting. For example: the scientist camp lose mercenary guarding. You can give them an advice like "I know some guys from Freedom, they'll help you, no problem". For faction it'll be the new earning source, and you - will receive respect from faction members, good equipment etc. you need.
Duty members usually prefer the heavy armor assault rifles and machineguns, Freedom - to sniper weapons and light, but protected against the Zone dangers equipment, suiting for those who like to explore the Zone. Developers didn't revealed anything about bandits propensity, but we think it'll be shotguns. And, of course, all the dark side adepts will choose that faction
Weapon assortment will grow a bit. By the way, developers decided to give more attention on smooth-bore weapons, so, for example, you can find and use automatic barreled-magazine shotgun (model prototype is DOA-12). Whole weapon balance will be reworked for higher damage and a lot longer distances.
For players not to suffer while choosing between sniper rifle and machinegun, devs made both two weapon slots universal - for now you can put anything you want into them. Of course, if you want to be armed while using the detector, you'll need one-handed weapon like pistol, but their role on the late stages of the game will probably decrease - everyone will prefer more powerful weapon
Suits will be divided into torso part and helmet part, both with separate stats. There will be 4 quick-use slots for items like bandages, medkits, antirads etc. Also, the new medical item class will appear - boosters. These are the preparations allowing the user to temporary raise some organism functions - for example, some of them will allow to sprint longer, some will speed up the blood coagulability, and so on.
Blowout can happed anytime, so you'd better keep in mind the ways to closest hideouts. You'll have about a minute to hide, and, which is most interesting, the hideout can be already taken by aggressive stalkers. Of, for example, you could the the members of Duty and Freedom in gunfight for the hideout. It's possible to help one of the sides, or just wait and collect the loot later.
Stalkers will act with the correct day/night behavior cycle - at night they're mostly sleeping, in the morning they wake up, prepare the equipment and leave the camp to search for artifacts - individually or as groups. As evening comes, they'll start to return to the camp with loot (or without it). Developers are going to rework the behavior and trade system, so you won't see the 5000 rubles and vodka in the backpacks of stalkers - they'll carry what they actually bought or collected. It allows some interesting schemes for dark side adepts - for example, you can wait for stalker to collect the artifacts and kill him returning to the camp to get your hands over the loot
Monsters will raise their activity at night. By the way, yes - there will be burer and chimera. Those models were already been in SoC recourses, but wasn't used in game due to various reasons. Developers said that they wanted unique enemies, so another dog-like close combat mutant is not needed. So, in sequel, they gave burer and chimera unique abilities and behavior. Chimera will use swift and deadly leaps from the dark while staying unnoticed and stealthed, try to avoid player to see it before the attack. Burer will widely use his telekinetic abilities - for example, for disarming characters. Or at least to make concrete block fall on your head
The stats balance for other monsters will be reworked. For example, bloodsucker will be a bit weaker, but more dangerous, his invisibility won't make him immortal, he will act slightly different.
The attention to details in Call of Pripyat is really surprising. For example, after the blowout anomalies will change their position and the artifacts will appear in completely different places, making almost impossible to memorize the safe route and run without detector like in Shadow of Chernobyl. By the way, it'll be possible to sleep! You won't be able to sleep under the bush within the bag, but on every base you'll find the suiting places to sleep at night. Much better than waiting for the morning in SoC while having time for a tea. Ten cups of tea. Or even more.
But, well, maybe you won't want to sleep at night. There are a lot tactical possibilities and, also - many quests are available only at night
There will be about 70 new unique quests. Small corridor-like locations are in past - prepare to explore three giantic territories:
- Darkwater - marshy territory, heavy affected with anomalies and densely built with various agricultural structures.
- "Jupiter" - industrial territory around and in the huge abandoned factory (by the way, the "Jupiter exists in the real Desolation Zone | translator note).
- Pripyat - 100% precise recreation of east Pripyat part, with central post office, school and other famous places. By the way, the city will be properly placed on the global map - north-west from NPP, not south, as in the previous games. The most important is that this level won't be corridor-like as Limansk in CS or Pripyat in SoC - no, it'll be huge territory with lots of various quests and non-linear exploring possibilities.
To say straight, Call of Pripyat looks like the wise and massive work on mistakes done in previous games. There won't be helicopter bosses, infinite faction wars and other elements that are theoretically interesting, but doesn't fit to S.T.A.L.K.E.R at all. Well-turned features like new detection system or weapon upgrading will be there too, but in overall look the Call of Pripyat is closer to the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R concept with dangerous, desolated and silent Zone where stalkers are rare and gloomy loners, where's no place for huge groups and tons of gunfights. We really hope that the developers will follow this line, because this time they've chosen really proper vector.
We're looking forward for the meeting with the dark and cloudy world of eternal autumn where it's not possible to live, but... where you still want to return. Again and again.