"Metro: Last Light" is a delightfully tense slice of post-apocalyptic Moscow. Normally, I'd call it a first-person shooter, but I spent most of my time non-lethally neck-punching guards until they pass out. I can't be the only one that enjoyed time spent first-person punching his way through "Metro"'s subterranean dystopia: after strong sales, publisher Deep Silver promises that the franchise will "absolutely continue."
"It's been a positive experience," says Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Deep Silver, in an interview with Joystiq. "I've very glad we acquired that brand. While it launched in a very dry space in the gaming calendar this year, it still got a lot of attention."
"Our ambition is to absolutely continue with that brand and we will also, in the next phase, look to making it more accessible for a broader gamer audience," Dr. Kundratitz continued.
Deep Silver's plans to keep making "Metro" games isn't surprising. When the publisher "acquired that brand" -- itself based on a series of novels by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky -- during THQ's bankruptcy proceedings, Kundratitz explained that his company's position in the European market made them a natural fit.
Making the game "more accessible" is sure to make fans of the bleak, depressive "Metro" series bristle. Before I start heating up the tar, though, I'd be interested in knowing more about what Deep Silver -- and, crucially, Ukrainian developer 4A games -- considers inaccessible about "Metro: Last Light," which -- to my taste -- was already more straightforward than its predecessor, "Metro 2033."
"Metro" is a remarkably cohesive series, and all of its mechanics -- gunplay, ammunition, stealth, economy, gas masks -- flow naturally from its post-nuclear premise. I'm not sure which element Deep Silver finds inaccessible to potential players, but "Metro" is a fragile dance as it is.
I'm not categorically opposed to making videogames more accessible. Quite the opposite, actually: the more people playing, buying, and creating games, the better. Games should be a colorful panoply, featuring everything from gritty neck-punching to technicolor role-playing, puzzle-solving, and Katamari-rolling.
But accessibility generally and accessibility for a specific series aren't the same, and there's a danger, I think, in losing some charm and personality in search of some nebulously-defined untapped audience.
In the midst of all my hand-wringing about what "accessibility" means to a series about shooting at (and not necessarily hitting) Nazis and monsters in equal measure, a new "Metro" game hasn't even been announced yet, much less "ruined" or "dumbed down" or "casualized."
Here's one thing we can all agree on, though: if Deep Silver is going to finance another trip into the Metro, it might be nice if they could shell out for some better digs for 4A Games.
In the meantime, three more bits of DLC are planned for "Metro: Last Light" later this year: the "Developer" and "Chronicles" packs are narrative missions while the "Tower" pack will be a set of combat challenges.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter