Interview: Mark Madsen, Global Brand Manager on Metro: Last Light

by on June 12, 2012

Metro 2033 has enjoyed somewhat of a cult status since it was released back in 2010, with a subtle blend of first person shooter and survival horror it was reminiscent of some of the earlier games in the F.E.A.R. franchises; when the emphasis was on the atmosphere and tension and now how many bodies you could litter with bullets. Ukranian developers 4A games have been hard at work on the follow up to Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light, and we had a little chat with Mark Madsen who’s the Global Brand Manager on the game and tried to find out even more about what we can expect from this already beautiful game.

The first game on PC was a test for any high-end PC. Is the focus on a strong PC performance still going to be present in the second, considering how often Metro 2033 was used as either a benchmark or cited for its use of DirectX11?

We love how Metro 2033 was a benchmark and brought PC gamers to their knees. It was pretty much was a driver for you to purchase new hardware and upgrade your PC. Metro: Last Light is not going to be any different. We’re going to continue to push the limits, we’re partnering with nVIDIA so you’ll have to make sure you have the latest and greatest graphics card, but even on minimum specs, you’ll have a great experience.

We’ve not seen much of Metro: Last Light since E3 2011. Just how pleased were you with the reception of the showing? Did the success of the first game put a lot of pressure on you?

The pressure is always on because we put the pressure on ourselves to deliver a great experience and the response was good coming out of E3 2011, last year. That was just to show: ‘Hey! We’re around. We’re working on the new game and we’re addressing some of the things that we could’ve done better in Metro 2033.” We’ve been quiet since then, making a lot of progress on the code and I know we didn’t have the greatest following on Metro 2033 but the fans who did play it, love it so we have a good “cult” base. Our objective this time around is to really go out and bring more people into our world.

What is the lead platform and how important is it to keep that incredible art direction looking that good across all formats?

The 4A engine is built from ground up by the studio so it’s a multi-platform engine. Technically speaking with any game the lead platform is the PC but because it’s a multi-platform engine, there’s still a lot that you get in the console that you also get in the PC.

Are there any multiplayer components to Metro: Last Light?

There will be multiplayer. I do want to highlight that we’re laser focused on delivering the best single player campaign that we possibly can.

Some of the mechanics of the previous title have been changed, what prompted this decision?

I think when you look at the FPS category, there’s a familiarity with where weapon reload and weapon switch ought to be and as much as we’d like to be unique, I think there are certain conventions that aren’t a bad thing. So we’re going to make the controller setup a little bit more familiar and welcoming. You’re still going to have all the buttons to manage all of your resources; it’s just going to be more familiar.

When does Metro: Last Light take place? Does it follow through the first game and joins straight at the end of Metro 2033 or there’s a time gap between the two?

It’s the continuation of the story of Metro 2033, so it’s close to 2034 in Metro: Last Light.

I saw the gameplay footage earlier. How much emphasis is going to be on shootin’ ‘n’ lootin’ and on setting up the mood and atmosphere? (in percentage?)

Well, we like to think that the atmosphere is always present in the game. In certain areas it’s more claustrophobic than others. So for atmosphere: 100%.

Can we expect new weapons or gadgets?

Yes. We’re definitely going to have new, hand-made weapons. You know, the stuff that looks like it was put together from spare parts in the Metro. You’re going to see a whole new host of weaponry in there and there are some more gadgets too, some of which you’ll see later on down the road.

With our appetite for Metro: Last Light well and truly whetted, it was time to let Mark get back to his important work. Thanks again to Mark Madsen for this interview and his time.

Metro: Last Light will be out in 2013 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC. Check out our Metro: Last Light Preview here.

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