Former THQ exec details poor working conditions in Metro: Last Light studio

Also criticises new publisher Deep Silver

Metro: Last Light was developed on a budget dwarfed by other triple-A titles, in a studio where dev kits needed to be smuggled in and electricity was unreliable, according to former THQ president Jason Rubin.


In a post on GamesIndustry International, Rubin described the sub-standard working conditions for Ukraine-based studio 4A Games, lauding the team's achievements in the face of adversity.

"The budget of Last Light is less than some of its competitors spend on cut scenes, a mere ten per cent of the budget of its biggest competitors," Rubin wrote, noting that he'd visited the studio during his tenure as THQ president.

He also writes that dev kits and high-end PCs needed to be smuggled into the Ukraine for fear that corrupt customs officials would seize the equipment. Similarly, the team was forced to use "folding wedding chairs" and to sit "literally elbow to elbow at card tables" in a work environment that resembled a "packed grade school cafeteria".

Rubin also criticised his former - and now bankrupt - employer, writing that a more competitive budget would have benefited the studio and the game, which released this week to mixed reviews.

"If 4A had been given a more competitive budget, in a saner environment, hadn't wasted a year-plus chasing the irrational requirement of THQ's original producers to fit multiplayer and co-op into the same deadline and budget, hadn't had to deal with the transition to a new publisher in the crucial few months before final, what could 4A have created?"

Rubin also lashed out at current Metro: Last Light publisher Deep Silver for not promoting the game properly. Later, Deep Silver PR rep Aubrey Norris responded on Twitter, which culminated in Rubin accusing Deep Silver of not crediting 4A Games on the title's official website. Norris responded that the website had been inherited from THQ.

Metro: Last Light is out now. CVG described it as "gruelling, oppressive, but well worth the effort."