Does Bethesda Own The IP?
In what can only be described as a truly depressing turn of events, GSC Game World has formally announced that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 development has stalled. Apparently the Ukrainian studio has been unable to acquire the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. IP, and after freezing development since December, they've opted to form a new studio and start work on a new title.
However, the plot thickens. According to some sketchy rumours, the IP may lie with none other than Bethesda Softworks.
Vostok Games, the new studio formed from ex-GSC veterans, confirmed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2's shelving in a video diary, while recapping the painful events of the last few months. If you're a fan of the franchise (and if not, why not?), it'll make for grim viewing. However, we're looking forward to Vostok's debut title, which could well be a spiritual sequel.
That's what we know so far... but there's a twist in the tale. Stalker-GSC.ru have gotten their hands on an email that purports to be from GSC head Sergei Grigorovich, claiming that the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. license has been sold to Bethesda Softworks. They're unwilling to vouch for its authenticity - so do prepare for this to be a total farce - but here it is for completeness' sake (via Google Translate and Kotaku).
I realized that this concept of the STALKER will not be of interest to many players and decided to [cancel development].
Announcement will not be shown instead, all that the team managed to do without me. STALKER brand into the hands of Bethesda Games. I’m leaving the game development.
Hmm. S.T.A.L.K.E.R's Facebook Page states that the IP hasn't been sold to anyone, so watch this space.