Former THQ president Jason Rubin has spoken about the struggles Metro: Last Light
developer 4A Games went through to get its game to launch. In a post on GamesIndustry International
, Rubin extolled the efforts of the Ukrainian studio, citing a relatively meager budget, cramped working conditions, and extreme logistical troubles as major adversities.
According to Rubin, the game's development budget was "less than some of its competitors spend on cut scenes, a mere 10 percent of the budget of its biggest competitors." That budget apparently didn't extend to swanky office equipment, with 4A's staff sat "elbow to elbow" at card tables and on folding chairs. Upon seeing 4A Games in person, Rubin wrote, he wanted to buy them proper office chairs, but the logistics were something else.
"When 4A needed another dev kit, or high-end PC, or whatever," Rubin wrote, "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. After visiting the team I wanted to buy them Aeron office chairs, considered a fundamental human right in the west. There were no outlets in the Ukraine, and our only option was to pack a truck in Poland and try to find an 'expediter' to help bribe its way down to Kiev."
In the end, the offices were too cramped for the wider Aeron chairs anyway.
Rubin believes 4A's efforts should be commended in light of all these issues, not forgetting the mess of THQ's troubles and subsequently having to deal with "a new, last minute publisher [Deep Silver] that doesn't see the upside in doing your team's publicity."
Deep Silver PR rep Aubrey Norris took exception to Rubin's remarks, calling him out on Twitter
for talking about "other companies he knows nothing about." This led to an online dispute between the two, with Rubin criticizing Deep Silver for not including 4A Games on Last Light
's website. Norris said it was the same website that was formerly THQ's.
As Rubin noted, Metro: Last Light reviewed well with critics
despite 4A's purported troubles. Our own four and a half stars review
called the game "a feat of obsessive, paradoxical world-building."