SPECIAL REPORT | Metro Exodus Unfortunately we had to give up

on huge post-nuclear mammoths Dmitry Glukhovsky, Writer

From the very beginning, Glukhosvky

has aspired for Metro to be a transmedia setting, spanning novels, videogames, and potentially more – and he’s always had in mind that that would mean allowing other creators to shape it as much as he did. “This precisely reflects my ideal model

of collaborating,” he says. “I didn’t ever have an ambition of imposing things on 4A. I think that they are absolute equal co-creators of this universe, and my motive has always been to find talented people and give them freedom of creating – instead of collaborating with idiots and controlling every step they make!” That doesn’t mean the

process hasn’t had its sacrifices, however, including one that Glukhovsky can’t wait to lament with us. “Some of my ideas they could not fulfill, because they were too crazy,” he says. “So namely, unfortunately, after a bit of discussion we had to give up on huge post-nuclear mammoths. Which is still making my heart bleed, because I’m a huge fan of huge post-nuclear mammoths.” Aren’t we all?

From Russia with love In the absence of giant furry

pachyderms, the Metro series’ most distinctive aspect is how deeply it reflects its eastern European origins. 4A

are based in Ukraine, while Glukhosvky is from Russia (a cross-country collaboration that he describes as “especially dramatic” given recent political events), and those origins are reflected not just in the game’s Moscow setting, but in its very particular take on the end of the world. “Our visions of how the post-

apocalyptic world should look coincide, coming from the similarity of our backgrounds,” explains Glukhovsky. “We were both born at this moment where the former Soviet empire and Eastern Bloc collapsed, and we were both raised in the ruins of this empire, and as a result the Metro games have this very particular feeling of longing for the old, good, gone days, and this romanticism of decay that we all have. Which is very

unfamiliar to whatever American take on post-apocalypse that you

can find, where it’s all about everything gone wild, you know?” You might expect his personal gaming

habits to have a similarly grim hue, but when we ask what he’s been enjoying playing recently, his answer surprises us. “Stardew Valley,” he says with a grin. “Yes, I’m playing it with my kids. It’s the first really good family team-building that I’ve had in years. “I have a lot of achievements there, so I’m pretty proud.”


Thoughts, views, and confessions from the desk of Dmitry

On videogame stories… In order to compete with the juggernauts that cost billions of dollars to produce, we’ve got to tell a better story. That’s the unique selling point we have, right? The feeling, the taste of it, of not being like everybody else.

On the Metro books… Metro 2035 establishes this discovery that things do actually exist outside and that there are places that are probably suitable for humans to live, which really sets up the story of Metro Exodus.

On post-apocalypses… We can see these settings as a kind of escapism from this all-too-good world that we get bored in because there is no place for adrenaline, for fear, and for a feeling of being alive because you have just survived another day.

On visualising Metro… My own visual imagination is quite limited. I don’t even know how Artyom looks – I never imagined his face because I was always looking through his eyes from within his head.

On shopping habits… I download games from the PlayStation Store when I’m drunk. The impulse buy they call it, right? I’d call it the whisky buy.


Spring 2019 43

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