S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Real Pripyat vs Virtual

  • 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 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.

After several trips to Chernobyl, the GSC Game World developers collected a large number of photo and video materials. On its basis, the appearance of in-game objects was 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. 

STALKER - Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, Robbers

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 the photographs, will find many familiar landscapes for themselves. Authenticity and photorealistic surroundings are one of the main features of STALKER.

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 in 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 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 game, there is visibly some difference.

“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

So, are you ready to see real Pripyat and feel atmosphere of emptiness, silence and wildness of nature that make up the perception of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone?