Ukrainian developer 4A Games overcame a number of hardships and hurdles in the development of Metro: Last Light, including poor and cramped working conditions, struggles to obtain hardware and armed thugs, according to a report by former THQ president Jason Rubin on GamesIndustry.biz.
According to Rubin, the budget 4A had for Last Light was "less than some of its competitors spend on cut scenes." 4A's development team and office are also smaller than those for most AAA titles, Rubin said, and the production team "sat on folding wedding chairs, literally elbow to elbow at card tables in what looks more like a packed grade school cafeteria than a development studio."
"Let's be honest: 4A was never playing on a level field," Rubin wrote.
If 4A needed another dev kit or more powerful PC, a member of the team was required to fly to the U.S. and "sneak" the hardware back to the team in Kiev to avoid customs officials seizing it. Rubin wrote that after visiting the office he wanted to buy them more comfortable chairs, but the team's only option was to pack them in a truck in Poland, find an "expediter" and resort to bribes to get it Kiev. They ultimately decided against purchasing the chairs, because they would not all fit in the 4A office.
Rubin said that during production executive producer Dean Sharpe returned home one day to find an armed group of Georgians waiting for him, demanding his clear out his apartment within the day, "lease be damned." The team also worked in freezing conditions in their winter gear and power outages were "the norm."
"All developers have deadlines, but I know of few that had to bring in construction generators to be able to work the weekend before final submission because an extra day meant missing shelf dates by weeks," he wrote.
Rubin believes that, in addition to the "creativity behind the ever frightening, dark, post-apocalyptic environment" of Metro: Last Light, 4A Games should be recognized for the hurdles they overcame in its development.
"If you care about the art of making games then you have to care about more than the final product," he said. "The struggle and the journey becomes part of the story. Like sport, you cheer when the underdog comes from behind, and triumphs in the face of incredible odds."
When reached for comment, a representative for Deep Silver told Polygon the company plans to issue a statement regarding the story once it receives input from 4A.