How close to real life is the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game?


  • 24/06/2020
  • Helga

There is hardly a real fan of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone who is not familiar with the game, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. This is a series of first-person-shooter survival horror video games, based loosely on the novel, “Roadside Picnic” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and the film of the same name, “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky. But S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has one interesting feature - the game developers have put a lot of effort into making the virtual Zone as close as possible to the real one.

Know the difference between Stalker and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

First of all, bear in mind that “stalker” is not the same thing as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. While the former is a common term for a Zone inhabitant, the latter is an abbreviation with uncertain meaning. Supposedly, it stands for:

S = Scavengers
T = Trespassers
A = Adventurers
L = Loners
K = Killers
E = Explorers
R = Robbers

How did the developers created an unique virtual copy of Exclusion Zone?

After several trips to Chernobyl, the GSC Game World developers collected a large number of photos and video material. At its basis, the appearance of in-game objects were created: all kinds of rusty tractors, cranes, telephone boxes - all of this was taken from the Zone. Most of the textures were also replicated from real objects. 

It is clear that not everything we see in the game takes place in real life. Many elements had to be changed, both for the sake of gameplay and design. But still, most of the locations are quite recognizable and those who have been in the Zone or have seen it in photographs, will find many familiar landscapes for themselves. Authenticity and photorealistic surroundings are one of the main features of STALKER.

Real Pripyat vs. In-game Pripyat

We will consider the objects in the city of Pripyat, which was introduced by the game creators in the original game “Shadows of Chernobyl” and addition - “Call of Pripyat”.

First of all, gamers are attracted to the dead city of Pripyat. Even the monument sign, “Tree of Friendship of nations” in the 1st microdistrict is in the virtual world. The statue looks like the coat of arms of all the 13 Soviet republics.

Tree of Friendship of nations

The Bear statue, which was situated at first at the kindergarten №2, is now near the special laundry in Pripyat. In the game, the statue is in its original place.

Bear Statue from the Kindergarten №2

One of the most popular places in the city is called Café “Pripyat”. The developers didn't forget about this place and they depicted it close to the original.

Cafe "Pripyat" at the river port

Unfortunately in STALKER, gamers haven't got the possibility to enjoy the beautiful windows of the cafe “Pripyat”, but they still have a possibility to see it in real life .

Cafe "Pripyat" from within

Walking (in reality) several tens of meters from the river port, you will run into the cinema, “Prometheus”. The western wall is decorated with the sculptural and decorative composition, "Energy". The mosaic was created by the designer Ivan Litovchenko in 1977.

Cinema, “Prometheus”

In the old photos, you can see the statue of Prometheus, which was kept from looters and relocated to the main entrance of ChNPP. That was one of the symbols of Pripyat.

Statue, “Prometheus”

Here is the “White House”, on the main street of the town - Lenin Boulevard. Yes, citizens of Pripyat had their own “residence of officials”. But it was a simple apartment house. Viktor Bryukhanov, the former manager of construction of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the director of the plant lived here. Comparing reality and the game, there is visibly some differences.

“White House”, Lenin Boulevard

The biggest swimming pool, "Lazurniy (Azure)" was one of the finest destinations of the city. After the Chernobyl disaster this place didn't lose its popularity and was still used by liquidators until 1998. In the game it is simply called the "Sports Center". 

Swimming Pool, "Lazurniy (Azure)"

Welcome to the most famous place in Pripyat - the Amusement Park with the prominent Ferris Wheel. After the evacuation this square served as a landing spot for helicopters. In the game this place was changed a little bit, but not as its main destination .

Amusement Park with the Ferris Wheel


As you can see the creators had made back then a great piece of work to create by creating a virtual tour to of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, especially to in Pripyat. If you want to compare the game with reality, now you have the best chance to explore the abandoned city and walk the same paths trough through which you also passed in the game. Or, perhaps, you can try our virtual tour for a comparison with the game.  

SEE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE… BUT DO NOT TOUCH!