Trivia / S.T.A.L.K.E.R.


  • Doing It for the Art: Some beautiful scenery shots were created by painting the real landscape in desired color scheme. Yes, the film crewmembers actually were dyeing the grass and trees.
  • Production Posse: Anatoly Solonitsyn, one of Tarkovsky's frequent collaborators, appeared as the Writer.
  • Troubled Production: Tarkovsky spent a year shooting the film in Estonia with cinematographer Georgy Rerberg, using an experimental filmstock from Kodak. The two argued constantly over the script, with Rerberg constantly pressing for rewrites. It was later discovered that all the footage sent back to Moscow had been improperly processed at the laboratory, and Rerberg left the production by simply walking out of the screening room and never coming back. Tarkovsky managed to convince Mosfilm to start all over again as two-part film but with half the budget, with each part being released a month apart — the film is usually seen nowadays as a whole, with an interval. Production designer Rashit Safiullin claims the final version was very different to the original footage, but other crew members who worked on both shoots claim they were almost identical. There are reports of some footage (either from the first or second shoot, it's not clear) being destroyed by fire, and some claim Tarkovsky actually shot the film three times. Other problems included having to recreate the remains of the troops sent into the Zone with only five tanks when the original shoot had twelve, and the fact that some of the locations were polluted with toxic waste; the "snow" in one scene was actually an irritant chemical spewed out of a chemical works across the river. Many of the cast and crew, including Tarkovsky himself, later contracted cancer as a result. In addition, Tarkovsky actually had members of the crew physically paint the landscapes because he wanted the grass, trees and bushes etc. to look a specific way.
    • The Strugatsky Brothers had to write thirteen versions of the script until they nailed the one which satisfied both them and the director.

Video Game

  • Development Hell: The first game, whose original subtitle was Oblivion Lost. No less than six years. Calling the game ЖДАЛКЕР (translation: WAITER) became an Internet meme. Astonishingly, when it hit store shelves, it was still an Obvious Beta.
  • Life Imitates Art: Illegal tourists of the IRL Chernobyl disaster area are called "Stalkers."
  • Vaporware: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. A full sequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, was announced in 2010. Not much is known what it would have, as in early 2012 it was put on "indefinite hold" as GSC was forced to close down due to massive financial issues. GSC has since reopened, though there's been no word about the game's status.
    • No longer true as of 16/05/2018, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 has been announced for a 2021 release.
  • What Could Have Been: Due to the aforementioned Development Hell, Shadow of Chernobyl underwent a massive number of changes during development.
    • What became Shadow of Chernobyl started as Oblivion Lost, and was originally intended to be a sci-fi game in a futuristic setting akin to Quake before GSC opted to put the game in a more grounded setting.
    • Early builds featured such things as larger maps, player-drivable vehicles, a "faction wars" system that involved dynamic warfare between the factionsnote , dynamic emissionsnote , and more. Much of this was stripped down or removed when the developers had serious technical issues making all this work, as well as other gameplay elements interfering with these features.
    • More mutant enemies such as Cats, hostile Crows, "Proper" Zombies, A freakishly long-armed mutated zombie called the "Fracture", etc were planned, but cut from the game. The Burer and Chimera mutants in Call of Pripyat were originally intended for Shadow of Chernobyl as well. As most of them lasted long enough into development that their assets were left in the game's files, there's several mods to add them back into the games.
    • The new weapons added into Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat, such as the PKM and Protecta, were originally intended for Shadow of Chernobyl. Among other cut weapons were several fully-automatic handguns, a number of sub-machine guns, a minigun, and a number of unique variants of existing weapons. At one point, it was intended to be able to use artifacts to enhance weapons and ammunition, such as firing toxic bullets.
    • The AI was considerably more complex in earlier builds, being capable of throwing grenades, scavenging dead bodies, searching for artifacts, healing the wounded, and being able to roam across the entire gameworld on its own accord. At one point, the developers bragged that the AI was so complex and human-like, it could beat the game on its own. In the end, the AI had to be toned down significantly due to technical issues and to prevent the game from being too frustrating. Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat would both reactivate a number of these cut AI features.
    • The storyline featured more locations such as the Swampsnote , Dead Citynote , Darkscapenote , and Generators/War Labnote . Much of this was axed due to THQ demanding a more linear, story-driven game upon being shown a version with much of this present, forcing GSC to hastily cut the game down. Thankfully, the community has created a number of mods that restore much of this cut content back into the games.
    • Initially the anomalies were planned to be much more subtle. One pre-release report mentioned as an example spotting gravity anomalies by watching for areas where the grass is inexplicably flattened.

TV Series