Of course it also helps to survive your own universe’s implosion.
Debuting with a highly acclaimed demo at E3 2011, Metro: Last Light was a profound pride and joy of publisher THQ — just as the company’s tailspin of layoffs, sell-offs and quarterly earnings malaise was beginning to appear terminal. Through studio shutdowns and release-date reshuffling, Last Light was always trumpeted by THQ as a fundamental piece of its stay-afloat puzzle. It was spared from the intense streamlining undertaken by the company in early 2012, which saw the nixing of franchises like Red Faction and MX vs. ATV and the sale of its UFC license to Electronic Arts. But then arrived THQ’s coup de grace last December: Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Unable to dig out of a mountain of debt, THQ’s fire sale began this January. Homefront went to Crytek (who had already purchased rights to Homefront 2), WWE to Take-Two; Company of Heroes developer Relic Entertainment was acquired by Sega while Ubisoft scoffed up South Park: The Stick of Truth. Metro, meanwhile, alongside Saints Row developer Volition, was rescued by Koch Media and its game publishing unit Deep Silver — a fate far better than Darksiders developer Vigil Games‘, whose entire staff was laid off and projects abandoned. (Darksiders itself — the intellectual property — will be sold by THQ at a court-approved auction beginning April 1.)
And so this is Metro: Last Light today: standing its ground, destined for release (albeit slightly delayed: May 18 replaced the THQ-scheduled month of March) and premiering a brand new trailer replete with the horrors and havoc brewing beneath the nuclear wasteland that was Moscow in a post-apocalyptic 2034.
Entitled “Salvation,” tracking shot after tracking shot of the video portends the violent civil war threatening to break out and destroy Moscow’s fledgling but factionalized survivors. The final shot portends the mutant race that might just eat them all alive anyway. 4A has been nebulous with any further narrative details, however, and has only teased the survival-horror/action-tinged gameplay players will experience in the shoes protagonist Artyom.
That being said, this is a studio who — even though it was under the frugal direction of THQ at the time — put Last Light’s multiplayer component on ice to focus solely on delivering its campaign. We wouldn’t be surprised if “Salvation” is signalling the start of a Last Light media blitz in the coming weeks, revealing much more about the gritty and resilient shooter.
Metro: Last Light is due for arrival on May 14, 2013, for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.