After Three Hours of 'Metro Exodus,' I Was Surprised By How Much I Laughed


#1

“Listen up!” A rough voice crackles over the radio. “The baron is about to speak.” The baron, I’ve come to understand, is the leader of the Munai-Bailer (or “oil-rich”), a group of slavers that have a stranglehold on the desert wasteland’s oil. And then, without missing a beat, the voice of the henchman returns with similar cadence. “Listen up! The baron is speaking!” There is a dark comedy here, one echoed by the exasperated voice of the baron, who you can almost hear shooing away his minion as he steps up to the microphone to talk about how badly he needs his soldiers to hunt you, the player, down.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/yw8gzb/after-three-hours-of-metro-exodus-i-was-surprised-by-how-much-i-laughed

#2

I knew all those post-apoc games were coming out, but I didn’t realize they were all competing. That’s nuts. And I just saw this morning that Avalanche’s post-apoc co-op shooter Generation Zero is due March 26.

Anyway, I’ve enjoyed the Metro games, but many of the human enemies felt like fascist palette swaps, so I’m glad to hear there’s some meaningful variety in that regard. I suspect some fans of the early games may complain if the game isn’t grim enough to meet their expectations, but that won’t be me.


#3

I don’t expect a Metro game to just be “grim”, I’d like Exodus to keep the specifically Christian angst that made 2033 and Last Light feel so philosophically different. Artyom doesn’t say anything during the actual game, but his writings inbetween levels, a precursor to BJ’s internal monologues and Arthur Morgan’s journal, show a guy wondering if a loving god exists and what right he has to kill, even if it’s to defend his home. If the nuclear event was God’s will, what right do humans even have to exist? I wish the adaptation of 2033 had included the actual last thing that happens in the book where he finds out the Dark Ones were just trying to make contact and he trudges home in tears. Full disclosure, I’m personally fairly confident in the non-existence of a higher power, but I think games like the Metro series are really important for the way they incorporate themes of faith that isn’t just lazy and condemnatory.

I’m just personally worried that the open world of Exodus will muddy the themes and story and that’d be a real bummer. It’s okay for things to be linear sometimes.


#4

I watched this video a few days ago to refresh my memory of the first two Metro games before diving into Exodus. The actual game recaps are kind of meh, but the first 20 minutes or so is a fascinating look at the origin of the Metro books and games, and well worth a watch.

Some highlights:

  • The Metro novel originally couldn’t find a publisher, so author Dmitry Glukhovsky self-published it, one chapter at a time, on his website, changing and editing it as it went along, gaining thousands of new readers a day. Glukhovsky was directly involved in the game’s production right from the jump.

  • The employee’s treatment at GSC Game World is what prompted them to leave during the production of STALKER (this is pretty common knowledge, but there’s a striking anecdote that on most days there were 4 cars in the GSC parking lot, 3 of the CEO’s luxury cars and one secondhand beater). The first build of Metro was largely built with ripped and/or stolen STALKER assets.

  • THQ seemed more than happy to take advantage of 4A Games’ comfort with poor working conditions, at least until Jason Rubin took over. THQ touted how they were going all-in on Last Light, then Rubin got there and claims they were working with 10% of the resources you would expect for a project that size. He tried improving their working conditions, but even then Ukrainian infrastructure was working against them. They often had to run gas generators to power their equipment and they had to smuggle in dev kits lest they get stolen by Customs.


#5

Belated reply, but isn’t that what happens if you get the Good playthrough ending? I’m pretty sure that if you do everything right (and it is convoluted and video-gamey as brought up in a recent podcast), then Atryom calls in the nuke strike, then has the realisation that they are trying to communicate, and manages to knock the targeting beacon off the target. This isn’t the canonical ending, since Last Light assumes that the nuke landed, but its at least there in the original game


#6

So wait, are the other two games an alternate timeline where the true ending didn’t happen?

So, the books and games split from this point?


#7

Afaik both the sequel novel and game assume the high karma ending from 2033 didn’t happen. The original novel ends with artyom nuking the dark ones and LL follows up on that.


#8

The ending of the book is kind of a hybrid of the game endings.

Artyom realizes the Dark Ones were reaching out to him, but too late. The rockets have already been launched and there’s nothing he can do to stop them.

I haven’t read past 2033 (they are a poorly-translated slog) but I think 2034 is a completely separate story and 2035 is a sort of loose novelization of Last Light.