BitComposer announced today that they purchased the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game franchise. According to the press release, (courtesy of Gamasutra:)
bitComposer Entertainment AG has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights for future video game adaptations of the acclaimed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand from Boris Natanovich Strygatsky.(sic) This is the second strong international license that the Eschborn-based company has acquired within the space of a few years, and this move ensures that the successful series will continue. Further details will be released shortly.
However, GSC owner Sergiy Grygorovich quickly followed-up the announcement with a press release of his own, claiming that the purchase didn’t actually happen:
In view of the rumors appearing in press, we find it necessary to inform that GSC Game World and Sergey Grigorovich 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.
Backing up his claim, Trademarkia is still listing the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. name as being owned by Grygorovich.
For a bit of educated speculation, note that the BitComposer press release reports that the purchase was made to “Boris Strygatsky,” a presumably misspelled typo for “Boris Strugatsky,” the author of Roadside Picnic, the book that the 1979 Stalker film was based on. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games took considerable cues from both the movie and the book, but are not part of Strugatsky’s IP. However, the press release makes no mention of Grygorovich and his ownership of the game franchise.
Did someone at BitComposer accidentally buy the rights to the book instead of the games?
The confusing afterlife of the S.T.A.L.E.R. franchise has gone full-circle once again. Last July, rumors of Bethesda buying the IP after the original studio’s closure were quickly denied.