The Great Expanse

In today’s version of Chernarus, we have seventy-six towns and cities dotting the landscape. Many of those places did not exist in the Mod and are located in what was once a vast wilderness. Those places didn’t pop up overnight either, and for the last two years we have watched as the map team took a blank slate and formed it into a whole new area of the map unique to the Standalone.

What is now a major lane of travel bristled with small villages and major cities alike was once an endless, winding valley of green grass and trees. Come with me on a journey as we make our way from the coast to the far west, exploring the expansion of the North through pictures.

NOTE: This is not intended to be a complete record of map development. Instead, this is a showcase of interesting pieces of history about the North’s development and some fun snapshots of it as a work-in-progress. Next week, we will look at another piece of map history on its own: the old Northeast Airfield. Let’s remember these things before they’re lost to us! 🙂

Roads to Nowhere

Here we see two maps — on top we have one of the earliest to become available for the Standalone, and below we have one from 0.57 after the North had become “complete.” Even on the original map, you can see more or less exactly where everything will eventually be added. The planning of Chernarus+ was done this far ahead and in that great of detail, simply because it had to be.

The North was built according to a vision. For a long time, if we squinted hard enough, we could see that vision before us in this vast emptiness lined with streets of no houses. Now, we don’t have to… we can experience the map team’s grand plan for ourselves in all its size and splendor.

Construction at Guba Bay

The first to be added was the city of Svetlojarsk. Before its introduction in 0.31, the bay of Guba where it resides was just a simple inlet for the sea. It began as a grid of streets, some industrial docks, a railyard, and a few houses before becoming the full-fledged city of the Northeast that we know today.


Original image by /u/TheHolyInvader.

Turovo's Prison

Nearly everything after Svetlo was done east-to-west from the coast. Our first stop on the way out of town would be the village of Turovo, which was introduced with 0.46. At nearly the same time as losing most of the military buildings the NEAF, the Northeast gained a lone prison building here with the town’s introduction. Unfortunately for lovers of military gear, it would later be removed in 0.50.

A City, This Valley Awaits

Continuing inland, we have a survivor high up on the rocks overlooking what will eventually become Novodmitrovsk. The distinctive three-mountain valley that forms the area is bare now, but will eventually be home to one of the biggest cities (and one of the tallest buildings) in all of Chernarus.


Image by /u/PurePassion.

Beginnings of a City

While most additions to the map are done in a single update, Novo was more of a slow rollout. It had several iterations and saw many expansions over the course of several updates. So for a time, this city felt almost like a living breathing thing that was constantly changing.

Right at Home

The most obvious change to occur after the introduction of Novo was the addition of a new “city hall” building. In this picture, we see an early version of the city with the Cherno capitol building and a pair of houses as a placeholder for the tower that would eventually reside here. Lovely as the capitol building may be, it just doesn’t have the same presence as the hulking structure that would replace it.

Telling it Like it Is

Some time after Novo was completed, work began on the next major project: the city of Severograd. Much like Novo, it took several updates to completely unfold, and brought with it other small towns and features of the landscape. This period of map development was even marked with some very-appropriate “Under Construction” signs until the metropolis was finished.

You Have to Start Somewhere

Curiously, one of the first parts of the greater Severograd area to see some attention was the quarry. It began as little more than a big hole in the ground with a single piece of machinery, but it was clear that it could someday be more true-to-life. It’s almost as if we had to wait for them to dig out the quarry…

First Attempt

You’ve been to the Kamensk military base, but do you remember what it used to look like? This is an overhead view of how the base started life. It wasn’t this way for all that long, and it carries the same geometry as the final product, but there are a few key differences.

Senchi has said that this version of the base was never intended to be in the game. An error made in his absence, so he says. To me, it’s an interesting piece of Standalone history.


Original image by /u/Cailan87.

Up On the Hill

For starters, instead of being to the far east at the meeting point of two roads, the prison building was up on the hill closer to the garages. It could be seen from just about anywhere else within the base’s fence due to its high positioning in a clear area.

What's Down There...?

Something that stuck around for a lot longer before disappearing were these underground areas. There were a total of four, with three of them being enterable. In this image, we see the flat slab of concrete and solitary entrance that marked each of these bunkers.

Beneath the Dirt

Interesting as these pits in the ground were, they were seldom utilized and never met the standards of the map team. This lead to their eventual removal in the 0.57 update. I took one last opportunity to enjoy them all and document them before they were gone, and that album can be found here:

0.57 Map Removals

Roof of Concrete

The only part that outright disappeared, rather than being shuffled around, were these crude stone bunkers/hangars. A lack of runway suggests these weren’t intended to house aircraft, so more than likely they would have been storage for ground vehicles like tanks and trucks.

Old Mine

At the same time as the military base, we gained the Kamensk mines. Today they are mostly a façade, wishful thinking that may never be quite what we hope for… but at its introduction, we had a cave, and it was glorious.

Space Within

This simple opening in a cluster of large rocks belies the space within. The cave actually goes back a good distance, and has both small pockets and wide open rooms to enjoy. Gatherings were even held here in the short time it was around.

Here is an example of a social event at the cave:

View From the Inside

The cave really was closed off from the rest of the world, and there was only really one way in and out. Much like a real cave, that lead to some anxiety among people who chose to explore the interior. The spacious room at the very end of the tunnel didn’t feel claustrophobic at all however.


In a few places, holes in the ceiling offered fresh air to survivors occupying the cave. For the most part, they did little to give away your presence to anyone who might be passing through the area. They also let some much-needed natural light through the rocks.

Faux Highway

When the North was still largely undeveloped, the wide open valley was one of the safest and easiest ways to traverse the map laterally. Many simply stuck to the rails, as they continue to do today. In this very early image of the Standalone, we see DET walking the endless railroad.


Image by DeadEndThrills.

Lonely Well

As a parting shot, I’ll leave you with the poor, lonesome well that stood all on its own from early on until the introduction of Sinistok much later on in 0.48. It served as a sort of oasis in the metaphorical desert, as the only source of fresh water way out in the vast emptiness. For intrepid explorers of that space, it was exactly what they needed to see after a long walk.

Shared by Tatanko on January 7, 2016

A look back at the empty reaches of the far North in Chernarus that preceded the towns and cities we know today. We also take a look at some places that have changed heavily since their introduction.

Image Geolocation