Metro: Last Light developers worked in gruelling conditions, lost power for days

Metro: Last Light

By on May 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Former THQ boss Jason Rubin has revealed that 4A Games worked in gruelling conditions to finish Metro: Last Light, including being packed together on folding wedding chairs and with power and heat going off for days at a time.

“4A’s staff sat on folding wedding chairs, literally elbow to elbow at card tables in what looks more like a packed grade school cafeteria than a development studio,” writes Rubin in a revealing post on GamesIndustry International.

Rubin explained that power and heat were unreliable, with 4A staff working “in their parkas and struggling to keep their fingers warm in temperatures well below freezing”. The team also apparently had to deal with constant corruption, with Rubin saying that “When 4A needed another dev kit, or high-end PC, or whatever, someone from 4A had to fly to the States and sneak it back to the Ukraine in a backpack lest it be ‘seized’ at the border by thieving customs officials.”

The whole blog post is very eye-opening and worth a read, so check it out.

Source: GamesIndustry International

22 comments (Leave your own)

Gulag THQ huh?

Though I am very impressed by the strength of the card tables which in my experience are very flimsy. The fact they crammed so many people around them with heavy equipment (for a card table) only makes it that much more impressive and probably should be up on kickstarter. I would also suggest that with the power off for days at a time they weren’t doing much actual computer work on those days and instead had an enforced long weekend.

Of course this does all explain the FoV issues when the programmer handling that was declared missing with only Tiger tracks embedded in the snow around his wedding chair and card table.

With all dumb, somewhat humour I posted above aside, it does paint a rather stark light on what some people still have to go through in parts of the world simply to get their game out there. Sounding like they needed to near smuggle legitimate items through customs and work in atrocious conditions that in this part of the world would see you on the picket line or working for Brendan McNamara. And to top it off, somewhere, right now, some prick would be pirating it. Kudos to your hard work 4A Games!

 

These people at 4A deserve many congratulations just for getting a game out there in those conditions, much less one with decent action and story. Will have to check it out myself now, just to support these crazy Ukrainians.

 

Effing heroes. No one should pirate this game if they have the means to purchase.

 

I never finished Metro 2033 and didn’t really have any hopes for Last Light.

 

PalZer0:
I never finished Metro 2033 and didn’t really have any hopes for Last Light.

And what does that have to do with the article?

Absolutely horrendous working conditions, which is something that no worker should go through. It paints a pretty grim picture for current game development, and I commend them for sticking with it to release what is quite a good game from what I’ve played of it so far, I’m sure I’ll only be more impressed as I play on.

 

PalZer0,

Doing yourself a disservice PalZer0, the original Metro is quite good, especially if you can finish it on the harder settings with no HUD.

 

It’s a stark picture of game development in countries which are pretty dangerous to live in anyway. Must remember to keep that in mind while reading. The Dev’s in Montreal or UK or California are certainly not going to be in similar conditions.

There are places in even in NZ that have people treated that badly, though they don’t have to be, but then confusing bullying management with corruption on a governmental scale is not really that close.

EDIT: Will be getting Last Light anyway, it’s a good little run through more dark tunnels ;)

 

That strangely seems like a very fitting work-environment for creating a post-apocalyptic game. ^^

They sure deserve better than that though. Metro is a great game.

 

That must be why they had no time to include an FOV option……………….

INSERT ROLL EYES EMOTICON HERE

 

I think i need to call bullshit on some of that, there’s still plenty of poverty in the Ukraine but we’re talking about the country that hosted the Europen championships last year for the biggest sport on earth.

It’s perfectly possible to run a dev studio cheaply over there without it being in a slum and I’m 99.99% sure that customs officials aren’t “seizing computers” at the airport… it’s not freaking North Korea.

The entire middle class of the country seems to have zero problems obtaining tech, i don’t see why it should be any different for 4A Games, plenty of companies develop in former Soviet nations and I’ve never heard of anything even remotely like he claims.

I wonder if they’ll still bitch that they didn’t make enough money on the game even after they worked in a slum, huddled for warmth and shared pot noodles 3 meals a day.

 

nekosan: It’s perfectly possible to run a dev studio cheaply over there without it being in a slum and I’m 99.99% sure that customs officials aren’t “seizing computers” at the airport… it’s not freaking North Korea.

That 0.01% regularly bite u? :D Theres a reason almost no online stores will ship to the Ukraine, and most of eastern Europe in general, in particular for electronics. More packages are robbed than not at customs. There was a news story going around lastyear saying that only 2-3% of iphones sent via the post to the Ukraine ever get to the purchasers.

nekosan: I think i need to call bullshit on some of that, there’s still plenty of poverty in the Ukraine but we’re talking about the country that hosted the Europen championships last year for the biggest sport on earth.

Plenty of large events have been hosted in dirt-poor countries. Construction and all workers are brought in from overseas to build the infrastructure, and run the events, and the whole shebang is owned by an overseas company, and once the event is over, the local economy has barely seen any increase, and everyone remains dirt poor.

Overall, this really was an odd article as writen, and pretty well all of the posters above have really missed the underlying point. These people were not working in poor conditions because they are a games company. They are working in poor conditions becuase of the country they live in. Every other industry in the Ukraine is comparably affected. It’s not like someone was sitting outside the game dev’s office turning the power off and on, just especially for them.

 

coatsy22: They are working in poor conditions becuase of the country they live in.

You really think the whole of the Ukraine is like that? Every business is plagued by power outages and terrible working conditions? It isn’t 1990, believing the whole country is just the same as it was immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union is just ignorant.

 

Who needs a heater when you can overclock?

 

vand: It paints a pretty grim picture for current game development

Noooo it paints a Grim picture of life in Russia not life as a game dev ( yes I know the ukraine is not part of russia).

nekosan: believing the whole country is just the same as it was immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union is just ignorant.

Sure it’s significantly worse without the Soviet infrastructure behind it :D *trollface*

 

elliotengi:
Effing heroes.No one should pirate this game if they have the means to purchase.

I don’t understand this mentality. Only when you work under dire circumstances, should you be paid for your work?

 

nekosan: You really think the whole of the Ukraine is like that? Every business is plagued by power outages and terrible working conditions? It isn’t 1990, believing the whole country is just the same as it was immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union is just ignorant.

Yeah, heh, meanwhile, at Crytek Kiev errything pretty normal: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8743ABB4EB12F51F

Not to belittle the issues that 4A suffered, but Kiev is not like that under normal circumstances.

 

nekosan,

Nekosan, to assume that you know better than the very people describing the conditions they worked in is a tad arrogant, don’t you think? You’re essentially saying that they at least partly lied about their working conditions in order to drum up sales and interest in the game, going on to cite other parts of the Ukraine and the former Soviet Union as “proof”.

You might just take the story at face value until you hear different from someone credible, and just give 4A some credit where it’s due.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=sYzN78Ntt6U

There’s some footage of the offices at the 1:40 mark and whilst it doesn’t look like a giant office like Valve or DICE, they certainly aren’t “literally elbow to elbow at card tables” as Rubin indicated =\

 
 

jambo,

Maybe “card table” means something different in the Ukraine, like a “Golden Throne”?

 
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