I was obsessed by the initial trailer for Stalker when it first came out (which felt like more of a tech demo) – a lot didn’t make it into the final game, such vehicles, but it was such a tech leap (along with Doom 3 and Half-life 2) that it was so exciting to see the possibilities of what could be done with lighting and physics. Man I remember playing the original beta as a kid, that shit was SO DIFFERENT from what the first game actually eventually came to be, but damn I hope that they go back and look at the beta and take inspiration from it a bit more for this sequel.
I can’t think of a technical reason for it not feeling the same – there’s not really anything XRay doesn’t that couldn’t be replicated in the newer engine, and IMO, the jank never added anything to the game’s experience. There were some funny moments with bugs (“you see, Ivan…”), but that really isn’t what makes STALKER in my mind. The atmosphere and gameplay are the important part, and from what I can see? They’ve got the first part very right; let’s just see if they can do the second. People seem to confuse the charming quirkiness of Eurojank with actual advantages over other engines. It’s fun to look at those quirks and it certainly sets those games apart, often feeling like they can accomplish more than the ‘streamlined’ engines, but realistically a better engine would only enhance games like STALKER. If your game’s personality comes largely from its jank and unreliability, it hasn’t got much personality to begin with- I think STALKER has plenty to offer outside of that, and in theory, not much will be lost in translation to a new engine