Group DescriptionS.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a series of first-person shooters by the Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, set in the mysterious radioactive "Zone" in the Ukraine. The setting is based on Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky's sci-fi novella Roadside Picnic (1971), but also mirrors a real-life event, the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster of 1986, and the subsequent transformation of the area surrounding it into the Zone of Alienation. The games follow an alternate timeline in which a second disaster occurred in 2006, increasing the anomalies and leading to the birth of mutated creatures in the Zone. The title's acronym stands for Scavenger, Trespasser, Adventurer, Loner, Killer, Explorer, Robber, the principal character types encountered in the games, but also refers to the "stalkers", explorers of the mysterious Zone.
The games are distinguished by their combination of first-person shooter mechanics, an open-ended world, and role-playing elements such as heavy inventory management, the ability to purchase and sell items, limited character customization (equipping artifacts), many side missions that can be completed in a non-linear fashion, and a reputation system that allows the player to perform quests and support one of the factions present in the games.
- On a Pale Horse: Worlds from The Zone (The Escapist, 22nd May 2007)
- Ghosts of the Future: Borrowing Architecture from the Zone Of Alienation (BLDG Blog, 17th May 2010)
- On The Importance Of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Rock, Paper, Shotgun, 10th December 2011)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series Wiki-style encyclopedia
Front cover for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Front cover for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Special Edition)
Front cover for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky - Prologue
Front cover for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Complete Edition
Front cover for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (Limited Collector's Edition)
Screenshot from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Screenshot from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky - Prologue
Screenshot from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl