The Metro: Last Light Team Had It Rough, Apparently

The Metro: Last Light Team Had It Rough, Apparently

nuclear explosion

Former THQ president implies Metro: Last Light is more or less a documentary.

Sometimes we forget how good we have it here at The Escapist. We're warm, well fed (some of us more than others) and Susan hardly ever beats us with a broom handle. Some less fortunate souls don't have the same luxuries. Like 4A, the Ukrainian dev team behind the excellent Metro: Last Light, which apparently made the game in some kind of post-apocalyptic nightmare-gulag according to former THQ exec, Jason Rubin.

Rubin, who co-founded Naughty Dog before taking over as president of doomed publisher, THQ, opens his piece on Gamesindustry International by praising 4A for their high-quality work in spite of their tiny budget. Then things get a little surreal, as he recounts tales of 4A developers having to smuggle dev kits through Ukrainian customs to avoid sticky-fingered officials and desperate attempts to ship office chairs from Poland to Kiev, a feat which apparently requires actual bribes.

Not only that, but the dev team also had to battle the elements and frequent power outages. According to Rubin, the government-owned coal burning facility that pipes hot water to homes and offices is prone to breaking down, leaving the team without heat (or bathing facilities) for weeks at a time. Say what you like about Half Life 2, no one at Valve had to code while wearing mittens.

Note: Kiev actually mostly uses natural gas piped in from Russia, a point Rubin has conceded on his Twitter account.

"The only thing for which 4A is getting more credit than I think they deserve is the creativity behind the ever frightening, dark, post-apocalyptic environment of the game," he joked. "I've been in Kiev to visit the team, so I know they just stepped outside for reference."

Rubin also takes a few pot shots at THQ, though he excludes himself from the criticism.

"If 4A had been given a more competitive budget, in a saner environment, hadn't wasted a year-plus chasing the irrational requirement of THQ's original producers to fit multiplayer and co-op into the same deadline and budget(!), hadn't had to deal with the transition to a new publisher in the crucial few months before final, what could 4A have created?" he asked.

While Rubin paints an inspiring picture of a small time developer succeeding against all odds - even going as far as to compare the outfit to the famous 1994 Jamaican bobsled team - some think he may be embellishing things just a tad. Aubrey Norris, current PR shogun of Deep Silver (the publisher that picked up Last Light after THQ went nuclear) has more-or-less accused Rubin of talking out of his arsehole.

Update: Grab your popcorn, folks. This has apparently escalated into a delicious Twitter slap fight, with multiple industry personalities lining up to take a shot at Rubin while he plays "which company treated 4A the crappiest" with Aubrey Norris. Have at it.

Source: Gamesindustry.biz

Permalink

All this talk about how gamers behave with a false sense of entitlement, act like spoilt brats, bitch and whine or otherwise show the hobby in a bad light, when even the people working in the industry act like little children.

It's kind of tragic really. We have gamers threatening people for giving their opinions on games, journalists with no credibility such as with the Halo 4 advertisement controversy and developers having cat fights on Twitter.

Sometimes the wider media seems to have a point. Although that being said, gaming is hardly the only area to deal with this kind of crap, so overall I'd put it down to people being people.

Questions:

I'm confused, why is Deep Silver's PR taking issue about his comments about THQ's original producers? Was Deep Silver/Koch Media part of THQ or something?

Why is a person in charge of PUBLIC RELATIONS handling this with the delicacy of a middle-schooler? There's "not doing your job" and then there's "shooting your job in the face."

Why the hell do people still use twitter for such petty sniping attacks when they know that EVERYONE can see them?

Legion:
Although that being said, gaming is hardly the only area to deal with this kind of crap, so overall I'd put it down to people being people.

I agree, that's really the only logical thing you can do.

I think the main issue here is what he says the working conditions in Ukraine are like, and likely, none of them are even remotely true. I've been to Kiev, I've been to Odessa, and Krakov, and several other parts of Ukraine and the only thing close to what he implicating, would be if the developers had their studios in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl.

He is full of shit. Ukraine isn't a third world country.

Of course Rubin has no knowledge of the companies he worked for. Let's all trust the lady who's job it is to make Deep Silver look good ~_~. For all the legitimacy she has, Norris should have been invited to speak at CPAC.

Ukraine: The Detroit of Europe

Legion:
All this talk about how gamers behave with a false sense of entitlement, act like spoilt brats, bitch and whine or otherwise show the hobby in a bad light, when even the developers act like little children.

This isn't even the developers though, this is the people in charge of the people in charge of funding the developers, mental!

I'd bet that the only part of all this that's true is that THQ was making unreasonable demands and trying to get multiplayer she horned in, although if someone from 4A were to verify it.

fix-the-spade:

Legion:
All this talk about how gamers behave with a false sense of entitlement, act like spoilt brats, bitch and whine or otherwise show the hobby in a bad light, when even the developers act like little children.

This isn't even the developers though, this is the people in charge of the people in charge of funding the developers, mental!

A good point, I should have just said "People working in the industry".

Off to edit...

I guess all that matters is that the game is good. I'm not sure who's telling the truth but I guess we'll probably find out soon enough.

Skops:
I think the main issue here is what he says the working conditions in Ukraine are like, and likely, none of them are even remotely true. I've been to Kiev, I've been to Odessa, and Krakov, and several other parts of Ukraine and the only thing close to what he implicating, would be if the developers had their studios in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl.

He is full of shit. Ukraine isn't a third world country.

Neither is Australia and that didn't stop Team Bondi from working in their ****ty conditions.

Is it just me, or does the Deep Silver PR rep come across like a massive bellend whether what she is saying is true or not? Maybe I'm just inclined to not like her because DS is a terrible company.

All I'm getting from this is that there's a lot of conflicting sources saying different things. Screw it, back to blasting mutants in the face with my revolver.

Legion:
All this talk about how gamers behave with a false sense of entitlement, act like spoilt brats, bitch and whine or otherwise show the hobby in a bad light, when even the people working in the industry act like little children.

It's kind of tragic really. We have gamers threatening people for giving their opinions on games, journalists with no credibility such as with the Halo 4 advertisement controversy and developers having cat fights on Twitter.

Sometimes the wider media seems to have a point. Although that being said, gaming is hardly the only area to deal with this kind of crap, so overall I'd put it down to people being people.

:/ Well, look at the bright side. At least Games Journalists haven't done anything like incorrectly identifying people as the Boston bombers.

>_> At least, I don't think any of them have done anything like that....

Skops:
I think the main issue here is what he says the working conditions in Ukraine are like, and likely, none of them are even remotely true. I've been to Kiev, I've been to Odessa, and Krakov, and several other parts of Ukraine and the only thing close to what he implicating, would be if the developers had their studios in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl.

He is full of shit. Ukraine isn't a third world country.

It isn't a third world country. But if it's anything like here, just with some more crooked officials (and probably less Mafia presence) then it's still a hell of a lot worse than any place where you'd actually want to work. Also, the pay is normally horrible around these parts (and teachers get paid less than both construction workers and public transport bus drivers).

Huh. Now I almost feel sorta bad about thinking less of them over the whole FOV thing. Almost.

They still haven't learned...
Well a lesson for upcoming PR representatives now that a few heads are bound to roll, you do not ever associate yourself with your company and then go internet trolling under the same name because that leaves your company with no other choice then to sack you if shit hits the fan.

Grey Carter:
Not only that, but the dev team also had to battle the elements and frequent power outages. According to Rubin, the government-owned coal burning facility that pipes hot water to homes and offices is prone to breaking down, leaving the team without heat (or bathing facilities) for weeks at a time. Say what you like about Half Life 2, no one at Valve had to code while wearing mittens.

Note: Kiev actually mostly uses natural gas piped in from Russia, a point Rubin has conceded on his Twitter account.

Here's where I'm stuck. Regardless of the heat source, he's saying that its a government-owned facility that sends hot water through pipes to local businesses and homes. Can this be real?

Whoops, don't mind me. That actually happened per this Wiki article.

"This was based on Tymoshenko's disapprove of the handling of Chernovetskyi of the local energy crises of December 2008 when the Kyivenergo utility company began cutting the supply of hot water to about 5,000 homes in Kiev because of the Kiev municipal administration's failure to compensate the company for the difference between the tariffs charged by Kyivenerho and the actual cost of its services. Tymoshenko accuses Leonid Chernovetskyi of using money from the municipal budget to finance his election campaign (and so there were insufficient funds to pay Kyivenerho)." Full article.

Skops:
I think the main issue here is what he says the working conditions in Ukraine are like, and likely, none of them are even remotely true. I've been to Kiev, I've been to Odessa, and Krakov, and several other parts of Ukraine and the only thing close to what he implicating, would be if the developers had their studios in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl.

He is full of shit. Ukraine isn't a third world country.

let me guess, you were a tourist led to locations they want you to see?
Ukraine IS a third world country.
Ukraine does indeed require bribes to transport legal items into and out of the country. in fact it went so far that pieces of wood for his work got confiscated from my father, the court happened without him because "there can be only one decision" and he had to re-buy them from ukrainina government to be able to get them back out of ukraine.
I do not know about the heating outages, but power outages does happen. they dont even have apshalted roads outside major cities (can be easily seen even via google maps if you want).
I do not know where the developers worked/lived but there are parts of Kiev that does look like it is exclusion zone of chernobyl.

You may ask how i know this. My father sells a lot of electric boxes he makes to Ukraine, at one point it was the biggest buyer as they were reforming electricity grid of some city.

major_chaos:
Is it just me, or does the Deep Silver PR rep come across like a massive bellend whether what she is saying is true or not? Maybe I'm just inclined to not like her because DS is a terrible company.

or maybe deep sivler beeing a terribel company and her acting liek this are related?

I live in Ukraine, in the centre of one of the most developed cities and I work with business clients as a teacher. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I can chip in my experience:

Power and water outages do happen, but at least here there is usually some warning.

Bribery and corruption is very very common. It isn't usually aggressive, but assumed to be part of normal business. Operating a business entirely legally, and without sympathetic government or big corporation contacts is almost impossible. (This can be useful in other areas of course, a Ukrainian business might save money by paying some bribes and skimping on health and safety regulations or using pirated software, for example).

It does get very cold in winter and very hot in summer.

Long working hours for businesses are the norm.

There are very developed areas and very undeveloped areas of every city. Funds are often poured into large impressive and pretty public construction projects as a way of laundering public money (an excessive amount of tax is spent on a project, with the vast excess siphoned off the top, and bribes being paid along the whole chain), giving the city centres a lot to be proud of while leaving outlying areas without much infrastructure. (The people I've spoken to regard this as a good thing; it's better than the alternative which is that politicians just steal the money straight off).

These are not problems unique to Ukraine of course.

It's been a good couple hours since a broom beating, rejoice!

THQ has a strange habit of screwing over Ukrainian developers and Deep Silver equally has a strange habit of resurrecting those projects/teams but not quite being up to scratch. It's like I'm watching the whole STALKER;SoC and Clear Sky story play out again, except this time people might actually realize what I'm on about.

Scrumpmonkey:
THQ has a strange habit of screwing over Ukrainian developers and Deep Silver equally has a strange habit of resurrecting those projects/teams but not quite being up to scratch. It's like I'm watching the whole STALKER;SoC and Clear Sky story play out again, except this time people might actually realize what I'm on about.

Well, Clear Sky was a very good game :P ... after the sixth patch... Do you mean to say that they do not give the devs enough time to finish their work?

 

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