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Metro: Last Light Developers Bested Stiff Odds, Says Rubin

Metro: Last Light is a great game. But when you hear the amazing back story, you'll be even more impressed with developer 4A Games.

Former THQ president Jason Rubin has detailed the stiff challenges the development team faced when creating the game that has already received widespread critical acclaim. In a recent GamesIndustry International article , Rubin said the Kiev, Ukraine studio was at a huge disadvantage from the start:

"Let's be honest: 4A was never playing on a level field. The budget of Last Light is less than some of its competitors spend on cut scenes, a mere 10 percent of the budget of its biggest competitors. Yet it is lauded for its story and atmosphere.

It is built on a completely original and proprietary second-generation engine that competes with sequels that have stopped numbering themselves, with more engineers on their tech than 4A has on the entire project. Yet its tech chops are never in question."

Even the working conditions were pretty nasty. The office was undersized and everyone had to sit elbow-to-elbow on folding chairs. He added that thus far, the Metascore for Last Light "blows away Medal of Honor: Warfighter " and as amazing as Bioshock Infinite was, Irrational Games got pretty much everything they needed. Whereas if you were working for 4A, things were just a touch more prohibitive. The building's heating would break quite often and if the team needed a new dev kit or high-end PC, someone had to fly to the US and sneak it back to Ukraine in a backpack, lest it be seized by "thieving customs officials."

Rubin did clarify that he's not trying to guilt gamers into buying Metro: Last Light due to the plight of the developers. It's more about the common desire we all have to cheer for the underdog:

"If you care about the art of making games then you have to care about more than the final product. The struggle and the journey becomes part of the story. Like sport, you cheer when the underdog comes from behind, and triumphs in the face of incredible odds."

So how's that for a feel-good story? Here's hoping 4A gets some money out of this, or at the very least, those who worked on it can move onward and upward. Come over to the US…we have pretty reliable heating.

Related Game(s): Metro: Last Light

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11 years ago

Gotta admit that does soften the ol heart. I like to hear about these devs toughing it out and making great games against the odds. I hope the good reviews translate to sales.

I'm tellin' ya man, when it comes to making a good game you don't need all the flash, you just have to approach your goals creatively. Going for atmosphere and tension doesn't take a huge budget it takes careful planning, creativity, and TLC. Less often is more.

11 years ago

While I love this game, it kinda makes me sad that I will never see a STALKER 2 Because they are so damn similar, but STALKER was open world which make it so much more replayable

11 years ago

So I don't want to hear that games need a huge budget to be great anymore. Games are only as expensive as publishers want them to be. You can have quality games without spending a fortune as a publisher. This is why we DONT need DLC and Micros.

I will admit though that they could have given them a little bit more budget for some elbow room 😉 but my point still stands.

CDprojekt red makes quality games with lower budgets too. I think its something about eastern European devs they get so much done with so little.

11 years ago

Damn it. Now I MUST buy Metro… not that I already wasn't, but still!

11 years ago

exactly what i was saying yesterday.
its not amazing what they have done with metro last light, whats so amazing is what they managed it with!
they are such a small studio with the resources, as rubin said, of the donut break for GTAV!
probably less!
but yet they have managed to make one of THE best games out there!
so can we please stop b*tching about the expenses of current gen games?
this goes to prove how much can be done with so little.
its all about efficiency and talent!
funny how its not only in cars, its with everything really!
a american studio is given the world, and they come up with something that is quite amazing, but in comparison disappointing to what europeans put out.
in other words give a european car manufacture a 8.3 liter V10 and they will come up with a dam side more than 500BHP!

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