Metro Exodus was one of the nice surprises of the Microsoft E3 conference, and it left us with plenty of questions. Desperate for answers, we spoke to developer 4A Games, who told us what to expect in regards to the day/night cycle, the game’s AI, your train homebase, and if gas mask filters will be making a comeback.
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The first thing you may have noticed about Exodus is that it’s less linear than earlier games in the series, with much wider environments. With that comes a less scripted world, and a day/night cycle to emphasise the living, breathing nature of apocalyptic Russia. “We specifically have a day/night cycle,” executive producer Jon Bloch tells us. “We’ll go into specifics later about how it affects gameplay, but it looks really pretty.” From that bit of info, we’re expecting things to go bump in the night (and much worse).
It’s not just monsters you need to worry about. Once again, you’ll be able to die at the hands of toxic air. Thankfully, those trusty air filters for your gas mask are making a return. “They’re still there, it’s still very much a part of the game,” Block says. “The big change is that there are now areas above ground where you don’t need the mask, as seen in the trailer, but there are areas where you still need it. The mechanics are still definitely there. We wanted to make sure we kept the core elements that make Metro Metro.”
The new, larger above-ground areas posed the team at 4A a few challenges. “A lot of work was done with AI because just scripted events like in previous games doesn’t work for open locations,” Andriy 'Prof' Prokhorov explains, creative director on the game. The solution was a biome system that sees the game’s creatures programmed with AI that reacts to their location.
“It’s a lot more dynamic feeling,” says Bloch. “In the previous game you’d come into a room and it looks like you’re going to fight something in there. In Exodus there are areas where certain creatures will live, but they’re wandering around as they’re AI driven.”
You’ll have noticed that the gameplay trailer (which 4A confirm to us is genuine real-time gameplay) concludes with a steam train roaring along a track. The train will be a key element in Exodus, acting as a vehicle to carry forward the player through the world and story.
“You keep returning to [the train] between the linear and non-linear levels,” reveals Bloch. “It’s the vehicle that carries you through the story both literally and figuratively.”
“I would say it is an analogue of peaceful stations in the previous games,” notes Prokhorov, since the train will be home to you and your group of allies.
Metro Exodus will release in 2018.