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GSC Game World insists it still holds STALKER rights

Ukrainian studio disputes new ownership claims

GSC Game World insists it still holds the sole intellectual property rights to the STALKER game series and the overall brand.

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The Ukrainian company said so in a statement released last night in response to reports that independent German publisher bitComposer Entertainment had acquired the rights to make future STALKER game adaptations.

In a press release yesterday, bitComposer claimed it had picked up the STALKER game rights from the now deceased Boris Strugatsky, the co-author of the novel Roadside Picnic, from which the three STALKER titles released to date by GSC were adapted.

The company said the deal ensured "the successful series will continue" and promised that further details would be "released shortly".

But GSC has disputed the announcement, with Eugene Kuchma, who works in sales and marketing for the firm, telling Gamasutra:

"In view of the rumors appearing in press, we find it necessary to inform that GSC Game World and Sergey Grigorovich [GSC CEO] remain to be the sole owners of all the intellectual property rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game series and the brand overall, including all the trademarks, the game universe, the technology etc. This can be easily verified with the trademark services online.

"From time to time news on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand purchase by this or that company appear over the Internet. We relate such a keen interest in the brand to its exceptional popularity. Even the purchase of rights to create a Roadside Picnic book-based game by a small publisher is presented as the continuation of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise.

"We have doubts regarding the mentioned product by BitComposer (the publisher of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat in some territories), since the latter has significant debts in terms of fulfilling the obligations under the existing contract between our companies."

However, bitComposer also insists it holds the rights, telling the site:

"We hold the license for PC and video games from the Strugatsky brothers. He reiterated, "The owner of the license was the Strugatsky brothers. As far as we know, GSC never had the license for S.T.A.L.K.E.R."

Last year GSC cancelled the development of a sequel in the post-apocalyptic shooter series as the studio broke up.

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