Metro Ex­o­dus

In post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Soviet Rus­sia, train catches you

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - PREVIEW - Sam Ri­ley

Think ‘Metro’: Think mu­tants, mad­men, and mys­te­ri­ous odours (and that’s just the one we ride to work ev­ery morn­ing). This Metro how­ever, is all of that and more—more har­row­ing, more anx­ious, more Rus­sian. More of… well, just about ev­ery­thing ac­tu­ally. For its lat­est outing, 4A Games is promis­ing that big­ger re­ally does mean bet­ter, but will scale out­strip sub­stance, or make this the mother(Rus­sia)-of-all se­quels?

To find out, OXM sat down with 4A’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Jonathan Bloch to dis­cuss all things MetroEx­o­dus. Our first pri­or­ity: To dis­cover just how play­ers will tra­verse this huge sand­box?

With a great deal more free­dom, ac­cord­ing to Bloch. “Play­ers will be able to wan­der around th­ese large ar­eas and ap­proach their ob­jec­tives how they see fit,” he says. “There will still be story wrapped into th­ese lev­els that will guide the player along, but there is plenty more to do that play­ers can dis­cover on their own.” Think of it as strad­dling the line be­tween true open-world scale and the sorts of grip­ping set-piece se­quences that the fran­chise is known for. If that all sounds a bit like

STALKER— ie, the cult clas­sic PC se­ries upon which many of the team cut their teeth—then that’s very much by de­sign. “Many mem­bers of our core team orig­i­nally cre­ated STALKER be­fore 4A Games was formed,” ex­plains Bloch. “We wanted to blend the two ex­pe­ri­ences to­gether in or­der to bring our fans some­thing they have been ask­ing for, while still re­tain­ing that clas­sic Metro game­play, and the story-driven, at­mo­spheric ex­pe­ri­ence that they are fa­mil­iar with.”

That at­mos­phere, one of breath­less ten­sion and grime-lined re­al­ism, is still very much in ev­i­dence here. Oh sure, the mon­sters may not be real, but the filthy lo­cales (and even filth­ier lo­cals) re­main ev­ery bit as au­then­tic as be­fore. It’s an at­ten­tion to de­tail that the team is proud to pro­duce. Ev­ery weapon in Ex­o­dus has been de­signed with real-world prac­ti­cal­ity in mind, so much so in fact that ev­ery last one of them could—though prob­a­bly shouldn’t—be built in real life.

You seen bolt

Bloch ex­plains that the team even ag­o­nized over the size of the ex­plo­sive cross­bow bolt glimpsed in the game’s E3 trailer. “There was a de­sire to make the ar­row big­ger and more no­tice­ably an ex­plo­sive round,” says Bloch, “but our weapon de­sign­ers pointed out that if the ar­row was any big­ger, it wouldn’t fit through the bar­rel or the load­ing mech­a­nism.” Clearly, physics and re­al­ism are key.

Also glimpsed in the trailer was the game’s new rolling hub, aka the ‘Aurora’—a steam lo­co­mo­tive that looks set to re­place pre­vi­ous games’ city-sta­tion lo­ca­tions. Here, you can stock up, trade, and chat with your fel­low pas­sen­gers. As the train moves, so do the sea­sons—in­tro­duc­ing new weather sys­tems, and al­low­ing play­ers to uti­lize the day/night cy­cle to their ad­van­tage.

Be­fore we go, we ask Bloch about the fact that the over­world now seems to be filled with (prob­a­bly fairly pongy) oxy­gen, rather than face­mu­tat­ing ra­di­a­tion. “Even though the player is able to breathe above ground in cer­tain places, there will be pock­ets of ra­di­a­tion and other haz­ards that will re­quire the use of the mask,” he says.

Big­ger, bet­ter, but still as bleak as ever, MetroEx­o­dus is quickly shap­ing up to be one of the most ex­cit­ing ti­tles of 2018. Or is that 2036?

“Ev­ery weapon could— though prob­a­bly shouldn’t— be built in real life”

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