4A Games’ atmospheric Metro series has pulled off the difficult balance of being considered a cult classic, yet also wildly commercially successful. Now the studio have revealed the latest installment in the series, Exodus, which has been three years in the making. It is, according to the studio, the most ambitious project 4A have ever attempted.
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Metro Exodus release date
While the official announcement says Metro Exodus will release in Autumn 2018, a hint from the above trailer suggests a date earlier than many expected. In the final shot of the trailer, as the letters and numbers rotate to reveal the game's title, the panels briefly reveal the pattern 'AUG8TH', suggesting a release date of - you guessed it - August 8.
What’s the Metro Exodus story?
The game picks up a little while after Metro: Last Light’s enlightened ending, which the team considers canon. We’ll still be playing as Artyom, but this time we’ll be setting out from Moscow and traveling East across Russia to find somewhere safe to live.
Is Metro Exodus an open-world game?
Not exactly. In fact, its structure will remain pretty similar to Last Light, segueing between linear sections and open areas. This time, however, the open areas are vast – creative director Andriy Prokhorov tells us that the map for Echoes, the level from Last Light which features a crashed plane, was dwarfed when the team laid it on top of one of Exodus’s open maps.
The mantra behind the design is “Stalker meets Metro,” and you’ll be able to explore these open areas at your own pace. Each open section will be linked by linear levels, too, and you’ll still find indoor and underground sections within them so there’s no need to worry about an absence of tunnels – Prohorov confirms that there will be plenty of opportunities to visit the metro system.
What does this change mean for Metro Exodus's pacing?
The Metro games are masterclasses in tension, atmosphere, and environmental detail. This, according to the team, won’t change – 4A is working hard to ensure that none of Metro’s characteristics are diluted by the addition of larger locations and less directed progression. An overarching story will keep things on the move, even when you’re just exploring, and help to point you in the right direction when you’re not hemmed in by the comforting, rounded walls of a tunnel.
Combat and enemy encounters will be more dynamic, however, as 4A has made significant changes to enemy AI and behavior to accommodate the larger locations. Now enemies will wander about, and be more or less common within the game’s various biomes. The upshot of this is that we won't all have the same experiences or encounter the same enemies while exploring.
What are Metro Exodus’s environments going to be like?
Exodus will take place across different cities and locations, visited during a year-long journey undertaken by protagonist Artyom. The nuclear winter has subsided, and now seasons are taking hold again, so they will be much greater environmental variety.
4A isn’t ready to talk about exactly where Artyom’s adventure will take him, but we do know that the game also features a day/night cycle, which will have as-yet-unspecified gameplay implications for above-ground locations. Another change is that there are now surface locations which aren’t irradiated (though the radiation hasn’t entirely subsided yet, so you will still need your mask and a bagful of filters in some areas).
Will Metro Exodus have settlements?
4A wants to build on every aspect that series fans enjoy, and that includes settlements and communities. A variety of factions exist in the game, and while the studio isn’t yet ready to talk about specifics, they've confirmed that we’ll be dropping in on friendly communities and infiltrating less hospitable ones along the way.
That sounds like a lot of walking. How can I use Metro Exodus's train?
Fret not, you’ll be making your way across the country in the large armoured train featured in the gameplay trailer. The team is thinking of it as a “moving settlement,” and you’ll be accompanied on the vehicle by a small band of survivors from the outset. Details on exactly what you’ll be able to do inside are scarce for now, but we suspect that there will be some helpful NPCs offering weapons, ammo and other goods.
Surely that trailer isn’t representative of the actual game, though?
Well, you’re sort of right. While it has been truncated for the sake of brevity at E3, and stripped of UI elements, what we saw is actually real gameplay taken from a level later on in the game. We’re going to need to upgrade our GPUs...