Chernobylite – from the quirky, diverse, and sometimes brilliant developers The Farm 51 – finally launches in July 2021 on consoles (alongside the PC mega-patch to v1.0). It’s spent the better part of two years in early access on PC – gaining a rabid fanbase, dealing with aggressive feedback, overhauling and adding in several systems – and is finally ready for launch.
Chernobylite is a science-fiction hybrid of survival-horror and RPG. There’s the free exploration of several large zones, disturbing encounters, challenging combat, a crafting system, NPC allies (or enemies), and non-linear storytelling. What started off with time-limited excursions, minimal story, and unsatisfying combat, has slowly grown into a massive, mechanically complex story-driven adventure. You can get a glimpse of that intent in the trailer below from the recent Guerrilla Collective press conference
Some of the recent developments include: a rewrite of the entire storyline, the addition of all-new voiceovers in English and Russian, the implementation of a brand-new and original soundtrack from award-winning composer Mikolaj Stroinski, while PC players can experience the first part of a new level – “Heist” – giving them a hint of what to expect in the finale.
When it comes to the gameplay experience, The Farm 51 lists the following features:
- Explore a beautiful and horrifyingly accurate 3D-scanned recreation of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
- Collaborate or compete with other stalkers in the Zone, but whatever you do, never fully trust them. Remember, everybody has a hidden agenda.
- Face and survive natural and supernatural threats.
- Immerse yourself in a thrilling, non-linear science-fiction horror story.
- Make good use of your chemistry and physics knowledge to craft equipment and manage supplies.
- Fight against savage creatures pouring out of an alternate reality.
- Investigate and collect data with a set of sophisticated environmental and substance-analyzing tools.
It all sounds fantastic but, as with any game set in or around Chernobyl involving anomalies, Chernobylite can’t escape the legacy of GSC Game World’s janky but captivating Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007). That game excelled at creating a thick, oppressive atmosphere while mixing up conventional gunfights with the ever-present threat of encountering deadly anomalies and mutants. Will Chernobylite manage the same feat? We’ll find out in a month.