The new trailer for Stalker 2 showcases the upcoming survival-horror, and there’s a lot in it that’s reminiscent of the Metro series.
By John Higgs
Published Jun 14, 2021
E3 2021 is in full swing, bringing a tidal wave of gaming news and announcements. One game to receive a brand new trailer was S.TA.L.K.E.R 2: Heart of Chernobyl, GSC Game World’s atmospheric survival-horror sequel. The original Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl released in 2007, and was followed by sequels in 2008 and 2009. Stalker 2 was first announced in 2010, but was cancelled two years later. It wasn’t until 2018 that GSC Game World confirmed that the new title was under development once again.
The Stalker series is set in the Zone, an alternate history version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. In the game’s backstory, a second explosion occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant twenty years after the historical disaster, causing strange effects throughout the Zone. Now populated by mutants, monsters, and physics-defying anomalies, the Zone is host to several human groups seeking to contain or exploit it. Among these groups are the Stalkers, guides and fortune-hunters who risk the dangers of the Zone for anomalous items of incredible value called Artifacts.
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The world of the Zone, with its Soviet architecture, radiation hazards, and warring factions, is very reminiscent of another popular game series. 4A Games’ Metro series is also set in a Russian?post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the new Stalker 2 trailer shares a lot of vibes with its latest entry, Metro Exodus.
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It’s not just their similar settings, or their similar gameplay, that links the Stalker and Metro series. The two survival horror titles also share a similar origin, both being based on books by Russian authors. In fact, many of the developers at 4A games also worked on Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. The Stalker series is based loosely on Roadside Picnic, a 1972 Soviet sci-fi novel with a similar concept. It was adapted into the film Stalker in 1979, which helped to inspire the look of the games series.
The Metro series is based on the 2002 novel Metro 2033, and follows its source material much more closely. Despite the gap between the publication of Roadside Picnic and Metro 2033, they share a lot of the same themes. Both novels are set in a post-apocalyptic, former-Soviet society, as warring groups of humans struggle to survive fallout, monsters, and each other.
While the first Stalker game was released three years before the original Metro title, it didn’t reach as large an audience. The main reason for this is that Stalker has always been a PC exclusive, while Metro is available for a wide range of consoles. Despite this, Stalker has always retained a cult following, and one strong enough to promote a new title 12 years after the last one.
While there have always been a lot of similarities between the Stalker and Metro games, the new Stalker 2 trailer seems to bridge the gap more than ever. In the marketing for previous Stalker games, the focus was almost always on the Zone and the dangers that inhabit it.?Not much time was given to getting to know individual characters and their own stories. However, the new trailer focuses almost entirely on a group of Stalkers?sitting around a campfire, as the point-of-view character retells various adventures in the Zone.
Two of these adventures also have a big character focus, one with a man called Bolshak who tunes a radio to classical music, and another with an unnamed stranger who gives a passionate speech about the Zone. These character moments are a lot more reminiscent of the stories in the Metro series, which have always had a greater focus on individuals.?Characters like Anna the Ranger sniper and the mysterious Khan help ground the post-apocalyptic world with well-written human interactions.
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The?trailer for the Xbox exclusive Stalker 2?definitely has Metro vibes in general, but the one game that it’s most?reminiscent of is the most recent, Metro Exodus. Metro Exodus was the first of the Metro titles to move away from the linear world of the Moscow underground railway, and out into?a sandbox overworld. The game features a dynamic weather system, as well as a day-night cycle, both elements that have been in the Stalker series since its original title.
The story of Metro Exodus follows a journey right across the post-apocalyptic wasteland that was once the Russian Federation and Republic of Kazakhstan. It may still be a long way from the Zone, but fans of Metro Exodus are sure to have recognized the similar environments, encounters with mutated creatures, and survival elements that were showcased in the Stalker 2 trailer.
Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl is scheduled to release on April 28th 2022, and?fans can expect more information out of GSC Game World over the next year. What’s clear already however, is that fans of both the Stalker and Metro?games should be paying attention to the upcoming?title, which seems to be combining inspiration from both series.
STALKER 2: Heart of Heart of Chernobyl?releases April 28, 2022, for Windows PC and Xbox series X/S.
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