Metro: Last Light dev responds to workplace conditions claims

4A Games creative director Andrew Prokhorov thanks Jason Rubin for telling the studio's story, but says, "We deserve the ratings we get."

4A Games creative director Andrew Prokhorov has responded to former THQ president Jason Rubin's detailed report that claimed the Ukrainian developer had a limited budget and faced adverse workplace conditions throughout development of Metro: Last Light.

His statement came from the comments section in the original Games Industry International report

Prokhorov pointed out that 4A Games had worked with THQ for 10 years prior to its bankruptcy. He said Rubin was the only company president to visit the studio, doing so during his second week on the job. Prokhorov said he does not blame Rubin for THQ's collapse, saying he had only a few months to "somehow fix the situation."

Regarding the studio's office space--where Rubin said developers worked elbow to elbow and sometimes in freezing temperatures--Prokhorov said it is generally known that much could be improved upon.

"It is a fact that our work conditions are worse than those of other developers outside Ukraine," he said. "I don't think anyone can doubt that--yes, it's true that American and most of European developers operate in a country far more comfortable than Ukraine. And yes, the publishers pay them more. This is clear: the more 'reasonable' the country the less the risks. And we don't want to be all dramatic about that--after all, better conditions are earned, and we strive to do this as soon as possible."

Prokhorov also said new publisher Deep Silver should be forgiven for not including the 4A Games logo on the Metro: Last Light website.

"Jason, please don't blame Deep Silver for not having our logo on the game site," he said. "Just like us, they ended up in a harsh situation and had to do a lot of things in two months, which was definitely a very hard task. I don't blame them for letting the logo thing slip. They are trying hard."

Regarding multiplayer, Prokhorov said the team at 4A Games wanted to make this mode, but only gave a cryptic answer for the reason it was canceled last year.

"We did want to make a multiplayer. Though if it was excluded from the start, a lot of precious time wouldn't be wasted and we'd make an even better single," he said.

Overall, Prokhorov said 4A Games is not looking for sympathy.

"We deserve the ratings we get," Prokhorov added. "After all, the final consumer doesn't care about our conditions. And this is right. We need no indulgence."

Metro: Last Light launched this week for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC and was published by Deep Silver, which acquired the franchise from THQ in January for $5.8 million. For more, check out GameSpot's review.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Metro: Last Light

Metro: Last Light

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231 comments
Instructor_Doc
Instructor_Doc

.who deleted my comment?!
omg the truth is being censored on gamespot site?

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

i think the biggest issue with this game is realistic looking vaginas. i mean, this is an outrage.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

Best singleplayer shooter of this gen imo, simply amazing on PC. Amazing graphics, great atmosphere, awesome gameplay and great immersion and sound.

Also its nice to see a Ukraine studio doing well as I am half Ukrainian

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

None of the hardships seemed to affect the final product any. One of the best shooters I've played in a long time. I especially dug the whole air filter mechanic. Added an excellent sense of urgency when running around outside. Just goes to show that throwing millions of dollars at a game doesn't equal quality. If 4A can do this with 50 people using shitty equipment in sub zero temperatures on a proprietary engine then what in the fuck is Activision's & EA-Ware's excuse?

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Its too bad to hear the difficulties they have to endure to create something we are deem as entertainment.  I actually wasn't planning on picking up this game but I'll kick in a nickle and pick it up besides its not like a needed a whole lot to go out and pick it up anyways.  XD

spindie
spindie

Maybe thats why the puke ridden scenery of this game looks so damn accurate

WiredDreemz
WiredDreemz

Sympathy aside,  the game is wonderful. Maybe other developers should work in crap conditions, and maybe they will release as good a game as 4A! Really. There is so much attention to detail placed on every aspect of Last Light that it makes the world come alive.

earthnuggets
earthnuggets

Modest words, but they certainly do NOT deserve poor ratings from jaded consumers who burn through their labor of years in the pleasure of an hour. People need to be more reasonable.

edinko
edinko

That it was an THQ (a now dead publisher) decision to have this 5 dollar difficulty level is one of the lamest corporate corruption justifications I heard in this year.

Because the NEW publisher cannot reverse that decision when they own it right?

At least they have someone to blame who is dead. Dead cannot defend themselvees

l777l
l777l

Honorable man.

skubisz
skubisz

Well damn, there's a lot of nonsense being posted about Ukraine below, obviously from people who've never been there. It isn't a third-world hellhole. It's not a perfect but it isn't a country where people with on-the-level jobs should expect terrible working conditions. The main issue at hand seems to be the extreme working hours expected of employees in order to get the game out on time. For that to be notable in the games industry, notorious for 18 hour days and unpaid overtime, suggests that things got pretty bad. As time goes on, maybe we as consumers will start to see how this pressure affected the final product.


But anyway, to suggest any Ukrainian should be delighted to have work, any work, at any price, is grossly insulting and betrays a pretty narrow worldview.

CaptWaffle
CaptWaffle

I really hope this game does well enough to where they end up making Metro: 3 or whatever in a heated mansion with geisha women serving them truffles on platinum plates.  They deserve it for being in the top-tier of game-designers today. 

CaptWaffle
CaptWaffle

Life is hard in most of the world.  Most countries won't give you wellfare and section 8 housing if you are broke... in most countries if you are broke: you starve to death.  Life is hard and nobody was ever guaranteed anything.  I think the rampant freebies in a lot of western society kinda blinds us to the fact that life is mostly about just not dying; all the luxuries we all take for granted are not guaranteed and have only been in existence for a small slice of time for a small slice of society.  I'm going to guess the Ukraine doesn't have Food Stamps and Section 8 housing; these people are probably pretty stoked to have stable income.

No such thing as a free lunch: SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE is paying for it.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

well the game is great..although if workplace conditions in the US are so much better why do our games suck ass? XD

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

If the devs was Jamaicon and forced to work in this climate it would make sence. Ukrainians working in Ukraine is dumb because they are used to that climate why would it be hard for them to work in their own country a place they live and have since birth a climate they are perfectly used to. People do work in Ukraine on a dayly basis you know.

I just imagine the clueless American will read and think " Ow no, they had to work in such a horrible commie country where its real cold you know"...

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

I was still on the fence about buying this game, not because I don't think it looks good but because I still have a lot of games I'm playing and not much time for new ones. But you know, I think devs like this need our support. I think its important to keep them going for the great work they are doing, so I'll pick this up and I hope others do as well so we can show them how great our community can be.

ArmorGod
ArmorGod

What needs to happen is more "comfortable" studios around the world take a look at studios/devs and woo them for hire. Talent like this should not "die' on the vine...

akiwak
akiwak

These guys delivered a badass game and they know it. Yet they remain Humble, these guys earned their paycheck. Not going to wait on this one, time to go out and buy!

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

The man deserves a round of applause.

Fuck it, I'm gonna buy the game. Damn the 5$ ranger mode, i'll just crack that.

They have done more than earn their money, and based on my experience with Metro 2033, I cannot let this one slip by.

zenstrata
zenstrata

This new game is a great game.  I suggest people check it out.

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Just don't charge for hard mode on your game, 4A, and we'll respect you just like we respect Cd Projekt Red.

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

Did they not have central heating or something?.

Just dumb and don't get it. Its like saying  ALL Unkrainian's should be felt sorry for. Stop bitching about the weather and get to work.

People get used to their own climate, this is just a way of advertizing the game.

bourne714
bourne714

Hey thats a good idea.  Pack game developers in a concentration camp so they can really feel the pain that they're putting in these games.  I don't want no little sissy boy making my games. I want a dude whose wife was sold and his dog shot and has a heroin addiction. 

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

Those of us fortunate enough to live in western Europe/US often take our living and working conditions for granted, forgetting that a massive percentage of the world have it so much worse than we do. We need to be reminded now and then how good we have it. I was waiting for a price drop on Metro but after reading this I'll just go ahead and pay full-price to support these devs.

zeca04
zeca04

Still, I don't think these guys deserve any support. Selling hard mode as dlc for the game? That's bs. Now, we have to pay to play goddamned hard mode? Nope, not gonna see my money. Each day I like cd project more and more, because they released a new difficult mode with extra itens FREE of charge. Hope one day they don't want us to pay for normal mode

jj2112
jj2112

When they were developing Stalker, these guys went to Prypiat to take pictures of the area. Now that's dedication to a job.

Ryuuken27
Ryuuken27

Terrible news. Cheers for them for doing well in their work.

Bond_Villain
Bond_Villain

what these guys need for their next game is Kickstarter.

Pre_ordered_PS4
Pre_ordered_PS4

I hope sales of Metro: LL are good and help 4A to have better working conditions in the future. It's clear that they are a very talented bunch

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

@SavoyPrime you do realize that prices and paychecks in Ukraine are 10 times smaller than in EU and US, hence the budget was 10 times smaller? I live in Russia and I get payed almost twice as more as my Ukranian collegues, and our prices are twice as high too. So enought with the "so much quality, so little money" talk, in Ukraine money their budget was COSMIC. 

And their working conditions were so poor, because in former USSR game developers are being treated like shit. Why? Because we have VERY little choice when we want to work in gamedev. So in case anyone says he's fed up with the working conditions, he gets fired without severance package and the next day there are 10 high class specialists already waiting in line to be interviewed for his position.

This souds harsh, but it's the truth, I know this firsthandedly.

Edit: BTW now I work in mobile app development and I get paid 5 times as much as I've been paid during my time in gamedev.

farcorners
farcorners

Most Eastern Europeans are an honourable bunch. Czech and Slovak Republics, Polish, Hungarians, are hard workers that still don't get close to what would be a Western wage, but are (generally) relieved that the Soviet era is now two decades in the past.

The Ukraine (and Belarus) still have quite a way to go, but the people are just as decent and hard working.

kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

I'm already looking fwd to this game. hope it helps the studio to do better. Next game should be about your work conditions then.

Jock9
Jock9

These guys truly did earn their pay cheques this time round, come on guys demand your bosses to shell out for some radiators or something, at least in the canteen then that will make what you did worth it. I really do love Eastern European games, especially S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and The Witcher series. Good job guys. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

I am one who actually likes the cold more than heat. I would way rather have it be 20 degrees rather than 90. Not to mention it's much easier to sleep when it's colder. Plus you can warm up by putting on layers but you can't cool off without AC or going to the river or lake. I could not imagine living in a place where it's always very humid. I would go postal in about a week.

JediLegacy
JediLegacy

Eastern and Northern European developer games always rock socks. IL-Sturmikov series, Men of War, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Metro 2033, Sea Dogs, Witcher, Age of Conan, Mount and Blade, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron. 

They might be glitchy and the voice acting might be terrible, but they beat AAA American releases any day.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

I'm sorry, freezing temperatures? That's a bold faced load of shit. All IT office space is SUPPOSED to be freezing; data centers more-so. Coming from someone who works on the top  floor of an IT firm where all the heat rises and the air conditioning is never on, no fucking programmer or developer of any sort would EVER complain about freezing temperatures, whether it's Siberia or Ukraine or just a cold office.

sexyeyes79
sexyeyes79

I'm glad I bought this and supported such a dedicated team.  I wouldn't work like that so more power to you guys.  Thanks for another great game.  

I got the PC version as I want the best, WHEN possible.  If you only have a console or PC, support these guys, they deserve it.

I played the first couple hours @1080p maxed in 3D and it plays flawlessly and looks great, no framerate drops on my rig.  Read people with AMD have problems and it sucks to be you guys.  I USED to use AMD.  If you have a setup for 3D it really adds to the immersion, especially on a 61 inch Samsung matched with a Sony Bravia Home theater.

I do sit on my couch with my keyboard on my lap and trackball on the arm of the couch, can't stand controllers on any FPS.  The Hardcore Ranger mode is a plus, except for the few times I ran out of ammo and was shit out of luck lol.

Errorcutive
Errorcutive

So they are actualy working inside mutant filled,high radiation level,METRO tunnel. Wow they are realy dedicated to the game so they live in what normal metro citizen live in wow

Cappuccin0
Cappuccin0

They sound like a respectable, dedicated bunch. The game turned out pretty good too, so kudos. Love the atmosphere and attention to detail.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

I'm just glad when I see the whole "graphics are why games are so expensive and suck" argument I can just point to last light and go "then why is a game made by guys freezing there asses off in a hut in Ukraine, with a fraction of the budget of a AAA, able to make a game that is one of best looking games ever made then?". 

Truth be told I'd really like to know what games publishers/devs in big companies spend their money on since apparently making a pretty graphics engine isn't what costs money, if last light is any indication.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

The American dream.... In Ukraine. Where people don't feel entitled to have perfect working conditions but rather do whatever they can with the things provided to them.

theHydra014
theHydra014

I guess I will buy this game just so some devs can not worry about their bad work environment.

HaloinventedFPS
HaloinventedFPS

What a joke, Bioshock Infinite cost over 100mil to make, they worked on it for 5 years & remade the game 3 times to get it "perfect" & it was mediocre & no where near as good as Metro Last Light


Western Devs really suck these days, they were better when they had tiny budgets & more limits

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Actually, we DO care.  The fact that a small team of developers working in poor conditions with a limited budget for two publishers made a great game that is better than most big budget games from major publishers really speaks volumes about 4A Games' development staff.  Bravo, guys!

REpjkt
REpjkt

If you buy this game which you should BUY IT NEW SO THEY MAKE MONEY!!!! Buying it used does nothing for them.