Five years have passed since we last visited the post-nuclear war wasteland of the Metro series from 4A Games. But like the Dmitry Glukhovsky book trilogy that Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light were based on, a third game is on the horizon. 4A Games revealed Metro: Exodus, the first in the series to be properly developed for current generation consoles, at E3 2017 with an exciting gameplay trailer. The atmospheric tension and dire conditions that made the first two games in the series stand out were on display in full force. Exodus made another appearance at The Game Awards, allowing us to further unravel what to expect from the upcoming first-person shooter. Alas, while the game was initially slated to debut in 2018, it was delayed until 2019 — but its release date is finally drawing near. Here’s everything we know about ahead of its launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
A story of hope?
Metro: Exodus takes place in 2036, two years after the events of Metro: Last Light, specifically after the game’s “enlightened” ending. Players will once again step into the shoes of Artyom, a Ranger living in the ruins of Moscow’s underground Metro system after a devastating nuclear war. His goal is to leave Moscow and find a better life to the east. According to the game’s Steam description, Artyom will take the helm of a group of Spartan Rangers throughout the year-long journey. Each of the four seasons will be represented throughout Artyom’s quest.
In an interview with PC Gamer, executive producer Jon Bloch hinted that this third entry may be more optimistic than its predecessors. He said, “Let’s go see what’s out there and hopefully we’ll find something that’s new and interesting and a good place to live.”
We know from the first gameplay trailer that Anna, Artyom’s partner, will return and play a key role in the narrative. After Exodus‘ E3 showing, Bloch teased that other familiar characters would make appearances as well.
A mix of sandbox and classic Metro
The first two Metro games took place in the tunnels of Moscow, leading to confined, largely linear levels. Exodus, due to the scope of its story, will give players more of an open sandbox. “There’s still story within those levels that will guide you through the places you should go, but it supports being able to go where you want and do what you want,” Bloch told PC Gamer.
In other words, there will be a mix of linear objectives and non-linear opportunities for exploration. All of the missions will tie into the overall story, but there will be room to go off the beaten path. As shown in trailers, Artyom’s time above ground will see him scouring sprawling cities and wildernesses. The profound effects of the nuclear war are made more clear at surface level by the sheer amount of wreckage on screen, from rundown buildings to piles of vehicles that have become mere scrap metal.
It’s not clear how many different areas outside of Moscow will be in the game, but the first two trailers each showed a train on what would seem to be the Trans-Siberian Railway, suggesting you’ll cover a lot of distance. So far, we’ve seen the snowy terrain of Moscow and a hilltop town surrounded by forestry.
Deadly threats and potential allies
Several different types of enemies will stand between Artyom and his attempts to survive the apocalypse in Metro Exodus. These include multiple human factions that will be introduced as the seasons change during his journey, though not all of these will oppose you.
During the cold winter months, you’ll be introduced to the Hanza faction, which has emerged as the “dominant” faction after the communists and fascists of the past have nearly destroyed each other in civil war.
The spring will introduce two new factions — the Fanatics and the Bandits — who have taken to destroying and stealing from local survivors, either in service to a pseudo-religious figure or simply because the opportunity was there.
Summer’s factions haven’t been revealed yet, but autumn will focus on the Children of the Forest, a group of kids who have been raised in the woods and are hostile toward outsiders.
Mutants and animals
Mutated animals (and humans) are among the most dangerous threats facing Artyom, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These include the relatively common “Watchmen” which typically come in packs, as well as the flying “Demon,” which resemble birds but with a bit of pterodactyl.
“Humanimals” are just what they sound like, acting like zombies but with the ability to hurl objects, while “Shrimp” are mutated sea creatures with shielded arms and the ability to fire “corrosive mucus.”
You’ll also run into wolves, which haven’t been mutated, as well as The Bear, which has been shown in trailers. The latter is resistant to most types of gunfire, though it can be taken down with flame-based weapons.
Revamped weapons system
The freeing nature of exploration will also translate to new mechanics and systems. Exodus will feature more weapon customization than previous entries. We saw a glimpse of this in the gameplay trailer when Artyom modified his shotgun with a revolver chamber.
Judging by the monstrous mutated beasts littered throughout the nuclear wasteland, you’ll need to make good use of the customization system to survive.
Weapons revealed thus far include the Kalash, which is a standard assault rifle, as well as the Helsing crossbow and the Tikhar pneumatic gun.
As was the case in Last Light, pneumatic weapons don’t make use of traditional ammunition and make significantly less noise than their standard firearm counterparts. Instead, they fire ball bearings and though they must be manually pumped, their precision makes them ideal for stealth missions.
Bloch claimed “a lot of features” haven’t been revealed yet, but it sounds as if the move to a true open world will also shift gameplay in a substantial way.
When can you return and escape from Moscow?
Metro: Exodus was slated to launch in fall 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. However, the game was then bumped to February 22 before settling on its final, earlier release date of February 15. It will launch alongside a collector’s edition, which includes an Artyom statue, and those who pre-order the game will get Metro 2033 Redux for free.