Deep Silver: THQ Didn't Understand How to Make 'Metro' Series Successful

by Joseph Leray

Metro: Last Light

“Metro: Last Light” -- 4A Game’s follow-up to the critically praised by commercially middling “Metro 2033” -- was one of the many games sold in the wake of publisher THQ’s implosion last year. Along with Volition Studios and “Saints Row IV,” “Last Light” was sold to Koch Media, the German parent company of games label Deep Silver.

Speaking with Polygon, Deep Silver brand and public relations manager Jeremy Greiner explained that “the wheels started to fall off in December [2012] and we didn’t know what was going to happen with THQ … Thankfully, Deep Silver bought the game.”

Echoing earlier statements by Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Koch Media, Grenier explained that “Metro 2033” was successful and well-received in Europe, particularly Germany. Deep SIlver is one of the largest videogame distributors in the region, making the “Metro” series a good fit.

In North America, however, THQ “dropped” the ball, Grenier said.

“I don’t think the company really understood what the game was, and at that time it was still very much a kids and family-focused publisher,” Grenier said. “They were trying to carve out their share of the core gaming space, but being an Eastern European developer -- 4A Games is in Kiev, Ukraine -- I think THQ just misunderstood them.”

That Grenier worked at THQ until being brought over the Deep Silver lends credence to his explanation for “Metro 2033”’s lackluster performance, but his reading may be a bit harsh. It’s also likely that “Metro”’s harsh atmosphere and delicate, unorthodox mechanics -- such as using bullets for currency, meaning players literally wasted money by missing shots -- didn’t resonate with American audiences.

At any rate, those looking forward to “Last Light,” which will be available for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 in mid-May, will be heartened to know that Deep Silver is, at the very least, saying all the right things: Grenier is confident that Deep Silver “really get it.”

“Last Light”’s recent delay was explained as “extra time” that “will go towards a final layer of polish, in order to provide fans of mature and atmospheric first-person shooters with the best possible single-player experience we can offer.”