The Metro series was a sleeper hit even before it became a video game. The original novel, Metro 2033, was successful beyond even the wildest imagination of author Dmitry Glukhovsky, and the subsequent video game adaptation earned considerable praise for its evocative atmosphere, survival horror elements, and intimate storytelling. Metro isn't just another first person shooter, but a top-tier drama which crosses genre lines and guides players through a harrowing and realistic tale of survival amidst the ruins of broken civilization. Metro's success turned the Ukraine-based 4A Games into one of the hottest development teams in the industry.
Following the release of Metro Redux, a current-gen remaster of both Metro 2033 and its sequel, Metro: Last Light, the team at 4A dove headfirst into development on the next game in the series, and Metro Exodus was formally unveiled at E3 2018, showcasing some frantic first-person action set against an icy backdrop of dangerous mountainous terrain. Behind the scenes, 4A Games shifted their home base from Ukraine to Malta, but still operates a studio in Kyiv.
In an exclusive reveal to Screen Rant, 4A and publisher Deep Silver shared the opening cinematic for Metro Exodus, a surreal and melancholy music video which shows off the opening credits over images of war and the post-apocalyptic landscape. Various figures comprised of ashy snow are shown in haunting detail before being blown away by the harsh winds of the Ural Mountains. The setting of Metro is harsh and unforgiving, and life is cheap, fleeting, fragile, and as doomed by the elements as it is the self-destructive nature of humanity. Deep Silver also took the time to answer all of our questions about the opening cinematic, as well as the game itself, which is shaping up to be one of the publisher's biggest releases ever.
Metro Exodus is due out on February 15, 2019, a full week earlier than the previously-announced release date. Video games are delayed all the time, so it's a pleasant surprise when one is moved closer on the calendar! Klemens Kundratitz, CEO at Deep Silver explains, “we had previously delayed the release date to ensure 4A Games had the time to deliver their ambitious vision for the game, but now we’re delighted to confirm that Metro Exodus has gone gold and we are able to bring the release date forward to February 15th, 2019," and to celebrate released the above cinematic.
Behind The Scenes Of Metro Exodus With Elastic's Andy Hall
The opening cinematic is the work of Elastic, a video production company best known for creating the opening titles to two of the biggest shows on television: Game of Thrones and Westworld, putting Metro Exodus in thematically suitable, and prestigious, company. Elastic's creative director Andy Hall took the time to answer some of our questions about working with Deep Silver on the project:
How did Elastic get involved in the Metro Exodus project?
Andy Hall: We were initially approached to collaborate on the production by Deep Silver and 4A; being very familar with the previous games in the series, it felt like a great opportunity for us to explore the narrative of this world in a unique way for the opening titles. The game has such a rich source of characters and events that acted as the perfect inspiration for us to make this title sequence. We hope the scene serves as a perfect segue into the immersive experience that is Metro Exodus.
Can you share any details about the music choice? It’s a powerful and sparse piece with a great crescendo and emotional resonance.
Deep Silver provided us with a piece of in-game music from series composer Alexey Omelchuk that they felt would be a perfect companion to the visuals, and, in fact, it worked beautifully right from the start. Alexey created a subtle new arrangement to match it exactly to the picture, and I think the music does a perfect job of underpinning the tone we wanted to convey visually.
Was the core narrative of the cinematic, of the ashy snow and collapsing frozen figures, always what Elastic and Deep Silver had in mind? Or was there a long process of iteration that led to this final concept?
At an early stage we shared a number of different design ideas but we always knew that the piece was more about capturing the essence of the game. Having a understanding of how the journey starts, we wanted that to be the underlying theme of the titles. It has a sparse quality, almost desperate at times, and that felt right to support the narrative of Metro. It was a very collaborative approach for us with the teams at Deep Silver and 4A. They shared a large amount of assets and artwork so we really had a strong appreciation of all the elements that transpire in the world of Metro. We wanted to allude to those things while still being a little more subjective with them visually. From our point of view, we had the full support from the 4A team to make something unique, and a little more surreal, that underscores the strength of the game's storytelling.
Behind The Scenes Of Metro Exodus With Deep Silver's Huw Beynon
In addition to the reveal of the opening cinematic, Deep Silver was also willing to answer some questions about Metro Exodus and its prominent slot in the publisher's roster of franchises. We spoke with Huw Beynon, Global Brand Director for Deep Silver, who helped shed some light on some of the behind-the-scenes mysteries of the long-awaited third chapter in the Metro saga.
Deep Silver has an impressive portfolio of big-name franchises under its banner, from Saints Row and Kingdom Come: Deliverance, to Shenmue III and Dead Island. Within your pantheon of games and franchises, where does Metro fit?
Huw Beynon: Metro is one of Deep Silver’s most important franchises, and the series continues to go from strength to strength. Metro Redux has been a phenomenal success, and brought millions of new players into the franchise. Whereas the original Metro 2033 was once regarded as a ‘cult hit’, Metro Exodus is set to become one of our biggest releases.
It’s been five years since Metro: Last Light, and by the time Exodus releases in February 2019, it will have been six calendar years. Longtime fans of the series were worried that 2014’s Metro Redux might be the last they see of this story. Can you talk a bit about the series' extended absence between then and now? For lack of a better term, what took so long?
In simple terms, Metro Exodus is on another level in terms of scale and ambition compared to the previous two games, and these kind of projects take time! 4A Games’ creative leads started working on early concepts back in 2013, not long after Metro: Last Light shipped. The bulk of the studio was kept busy with Last Light’s extensive DLC and the Metro Redux project before swinging onto Metro Exodus in 2014. And in that time, the headcount has almost doubled in size as a new studio HQ was established in Malta.
Author Dmitry Glukhovsky wrote the books upon which the Metro games are based, and contributed to the development of previous games in the series, especially Last Light. Can you talk about his involvement with Metro Exodus? Did he play a hands-on role in crafting the story and characters for this chapter of the story?
4A Games continue to work extremely closely with Dmitry – his contribution on each game has been extensive, from concept, to plot and character development to actual dialogue. He’s been a great partner to work with, and gives 4A Games the creative freedom to make the right decisions to bring his creation to life in videogame form.
Update: an earlier version of this, credited interview responses to Elastic's Luke Colson and we've correct it to Andy Hall.