Metro Ex­o­dus

Mind the gap, warns

Hyper - - CONTENTS - David Wild­goose

The key mo­ment ar­rives half­way through the first an­nounce­ment trailer for Metro Ex­o­dus. We’ve been watch­ing through the eyes of what is pre­sum­ably the main char­ac­ter as they make their way through a sec­tion of ru­ined sub­way tun­nel. The air is murky with dust, de­cay and the oc­ca­sional green ra­dioac­tive cloud. For a mo­ment the only sound is the clank of a scav­enged clip be­ing loaded into a makeshift ri­fle and the echo of heavy breath­ing in­side a gas mask.

Sud­denly they’re at­tacked by at first one and then a pack of what can only be de­scribed as mu­tant dogs. They fend off a few but they keep com­ing. The un­named pro­tag­o­nist scram­bles up a lad­der and makes for a door, slam­ming it shut be­hind on the skull of a pur­su­ing dog. They look down there are flow­ers on the ground. They turn and look up - it’s a bril­liantly sunny day. They re­move their gas mask and take a deep breath. Metro games aren’t meant to be this way.

The third in the se­ries af­ter Metro 2033 and Last Light, Ex­o­dus is based on the new book “Metro 2035” by Rus­sian au­thor Dmitry Glukhovsky, who is also closely in­volved with the devel­op­ment of the games. Again, play­ers take on the role of Ar­tyom, one of the Rangers tasked with pro­tect­ing those try­ing to sur­vive be­neath post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Moscow and keep­ing the peace be­tween the var­i­ous fac­tions vy­ing for con­trol of the tun­nels. But some things have changed.

In both pre­vi­ous games, the gas mask was es­sen­tial to your sur­vival. Above ground - and even some ar­eas un­der­ground - the air was toxic and you had to keep your mask on at all times. You had to re­place fil­ters when they ex­pired, too, which when you ran out would mean a fran­tic rush to the near­est breath­able air, sound­tracked by Ar­tyom’s in­creas­ingly des­per­ate gasps. In Ex­o­dus, de­vel­oper 4A Games is promis­ing large ex­panses above ground where you can take your mask off and not choke to death. They were sick of the tun­nels, ap­par­ently, and wanted some fresh air for a change.

This de­sire to fill their lungs with clean oxy­gen comes hand in hand with a re­think­ing of how to present the world of Metro. Per­haps by virtue of the sub­way tun­nels in which they were mostly set, both 2033 and Last Light guided play­ers through a lin­ear se­ries of mostly cramped pas­sage­ways in­ter­spersed by the odd foray into slightly wider out­door en­vi­ron­ments. Ex­o­dus isn’t an open world game as such, but the idea is to give play­ers much big­ger ar­eas to ex­plore top-side that will pro­vide a re­fresh­ing con­trast to the more claus­tro­pho­bic ar­eas be­low. The STALKER games, with their large in­ter-con­nected maps rather than a seam­less open world, is a use­ful com­par­i­son un­der­stand­ably so given many of the 4A Games team worked on the first game in that se­ries.

Metro Ex­o­dus is sched­uled to de­part the sta­tion some­time - more late than early, we’re guess­ing - next year.


Metro Ex­o­dus isn't ex­actly an open world, but it's a re­lief to es­cape the un­der­ground.

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