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The Complete List of Stalker Games in Chronological & Release Order

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl

The Complete List of Stalker Games in Chronological & Release Order

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a first-person survival horror series developed by GSC Game World. The games occur in an alternate reality in which a second Chornobyl incident took place, causing even more radiation to spread. This radiation turned the inhabitants into mutants with strange paranormal activities in the area. The games are based on the novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky. 

Despite being a smaller franchise with their only games released more than a decade ago, the series has sold over 15 million copies. However, the most recent title, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl, has been announced for 2024, with a board game being developed based on the games. 

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So, today, in honor of the horror series making its long-awaited comeback, we are going to break down each title in the series, examining the plots and how they have evolved with every release. 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)

Experience the survival horror game that started a franchise with Shadow of Chernobyl.

Shadow of Chernobyl begins the player’s journey as the Marked One as they attempt to hunt down and kill Strelok. However, due to amnesia, the player character has no clue about who they or Strelok are. Their only information is a tattoo and a PDA saying, “Kill Stelok.” The game has multiple paths and actions to take that directly affect the ending. Players can achieve seven different endings, with only one being canon in the series.

At release, critics and fans had a positive reception to the same but criticized the large amount of bugs and glitches. Its horror and setting were widely praised as it used the real Chornobyl for its setting, causing unease and tension in players. The game sold over 2 million copies worldwide and won GameSpot’s Best Atmosphere award for 2007.      

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (2008)

The most impressive feature of Clear Sky is the faction system that pits players against hostile groups.

Clear Sky is a direct prequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, with players following the mercenary Scar. Scar is assigned with keeping a group of Stalkers away from the Zone in the Chernobyl Power Plant. Although the location resembles the first game, Clear Sky adds more areas. It also features new mechanics, such as customizing guns and gear or battling in faction wars. Factions control different areas and fight one another for control and land. 

While adding more gameplay options and expanding the map were well received, the game still suffered from bugs. Some see Gunfights in factions wars as the peak of the series. Its release was met with positive reviews but didn’t have the same impact as the original title.   

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (2009)

STALKER: Call of Pripyat
Call of Pripyat is the peak of the trilogy with new graphics, mechanics, and bug fixes.

Finishing out the trilogy, Call of Pripyat combines what worked in previous titles with fresh elements. For example, the game now consists of three large areas inside the Chornobyl Power Plant instead of multiple smaller maps from the previous game. 

As a sequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, players take on the role of Major Alexander Degtyarev, who is sent to the Zone after the events of the first game. After a series of helicopter crashes that the Ukrainian government sent, Degtyarev must go and learn what caused the crashes and investigate the area. 

While it may not be considered the best in the franchise storywise, Call of Pripyat is the most polished game. The game came with better graphics, fewer bugs, and the best mechanics in the trilogy. It also has a dedicated modding community that adds to its replayability and fixes any issues that may appear. In 2011, PC Gamer ranked Call of Pripyat at 38 on their Top 100 PC Games of All Time.  

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl (2024)

STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl
The anticipated new release from New World Games comes twelve years after its initial launch date.

Originally planned to be released in 2012, the game was canceled for unknown reasons following Call of Pripyat. The development team later announced that they had been working on Heart of Chernobyl since 2018. It was later delayed due to the war in Ukraine, as the team is based in Ukraine.

It will be the latest title in 15 years, with fans eagerly anticipating the title. While not much is known at the moment, West Games have expressed their excitement for the title. It is expected to revitalize the series and hopefully bring in new fans to the franchise.     

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