Rumor: Skyrim, Fallout studio Bethesda acquires S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series

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ZeniMax, you greedy dog, you: Do you really need three post-apocalyptic video game series? You’ve already got RAGE with id and the precious, profitable, and creatively rich Fallout series over at Bethesda. Do you really need S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as well? That’s too much open world nuclear wasteland for any company. Enough.

With S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadows of Chernobyl developer GSC World Publishing officially off the series pursuing its own multiplayer post-apocalyptic shooter, it’s been up in the air whether or not there would be another S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game or if someone would attempt to finish the cancelled S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. Back in April, the rumor was that Bethesda was taking on the series. That rumor faded into the Internet wasteland like some hardened, gas mask-wearing drifter. Now it’s back though, desperate for the wasteland’s most precious resource: Your attention!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun reported on Tuesday afternoon that Ukranian marketer Sergey Galyonkin, the very same man that broke the news that GSC was off of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, says that Bethesda has in fact acquired exclusive rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.

Bethesda’s official word: “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”

“No comment” doesn’t necessarily mean the rumor is true, but anything outside of a flat denial means that at some level the business is involved with the property in question. Bethesda has made some weighty “no comment” comments in the past. Bethesda VP of marketing Pete Hines said back in 2005 while the company’s rights to the Fallout MMO were being contested by Interplay, “We don’t have any comment on the status of another company or our arrangements with them. We are developing Fallout 3 and when we have information on the game and what we’re up to, we’ll let folks know. Beyond that, we have no comment.” Then earlier this year it came out that Bethesda was still fighting for those rights and it won them.

Who will make S.T.A.L.K.E.R. at Bethesda if the company is holding onto the series rights? Galonsky’s unnamed source suggests that it will either be Bethesda Game Studios itself or Obsidian Entertainment, the crew behind Fallout: New Vegas and home of Fallout series veteran Chris Avellone.

Bethesda is expanding rapidly, and the company is hungry for new properties as evidenced by this fall’s much-hyped Dishonored. Glibness aside though, it seems perilous for the company to spend on yet another post-apocalyptic first-person open world franchise. RAGE disappointed at retail when it came out in 2011. Why would Bethesda devote resources to something in the same milieu that isn’t a proven winner like Fallout?

Unless it was making a Fallout crossover with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Salivate on that idea, geeks.