The station is abandoned, the platform crowned with a mountain of junk. There are books, pieces of furniture, newspapers, broken bicycles, busts of forgotten heroes - objects of the old world, collecting dust. Maybe objects remember too? At this station, people see things. Artyom had a vision of two old men, discussing god and fate, smoking shisha, while a cat lazily napped alongside. Homer saw things the way they were - the platform bustling with commuters in rush-hour, the polished ghost-like carriages gliding along the rails. And Hunter saw himself, or at least a part of himself he'd prefer not to recognise.
Barren wastelands. Decrepit and abandoned towns. Desolate landscapes ravaged by time and trauma. Recognisable landmarks slowly but surely reclaimed by nature after our demise. Games have consistently embraced the post-apocalyptic setting. It invites excitement, apprehension and a deep curiosity, and plays on the thought-provoking hypothetical, the 'what if?'. And when these post-apocalyptic environments and landscapes are incredibly detailed, they can result in great efficacy and power.
In a restaurant somewhere in sunny Los Angeles County, 13 years ago, two old friends were having lunch. Wine and conversation were flowing. They remembered how they'd met at LucasArts in the 90s. They weren't there to talk business but they did because video games were their bread and butter. One of the men, Jack Sorensen, was reeling-off job opportunities he knew of - he being executive vice president of worldwide studios at games publisher THQ. "THQ Australia?" he enquired. But the other man, Dean Sharpe, didn't seem interested. He had closed his own studio Big Ape Productions a couple of years earlier, dropped off the radar and taken a break, and now he was ready for something new. But Sharpe wanted a challenge.
As tech interviews go, this one's a corker. Readers of our previous Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light tech Q&As will know that 4A Games' chief technical officer Oles Shishkovstov isn't backward about coming forward on the matters that are important to him, and in the transition across to the new wave of console hardware, clearly there are plenty of important topics to discuss.
Last week we presented a first look at the forthcoming Metro Redux - remastered versions of the classic Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light coming soon to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. We compared the new editions to the original console versions, noting some remarkable differences - not least the impressive boosts to both physical and temporal resolution. Xbox One renders at 912p vs the PS4's 1080p, but it was the frame-rate lock to 60fps that really caught the eye.
The Xbox One version of Metro 2033 dropped just two frames throughout our test duration, while PlayStation 4 proved flawless across the length of our Metro Last Light tests. However, questions remained unanswered from last week's article - could PS4 match Xbox One's excellent performance on Metro 2033 while retaining its resolution advantage? And perhaps more importantly, could the Xbox One handle the more technologically ambitious Metro Last Light with the same aplomb as the PlayStation 4 version?
We went back to the Redux versions this week and captured several hours' worth of footage, producing new assets to match our existing work, and the results are all good. Our first port of call is Metro Last Light - the more modern of the two titles and thus the game more likely to challenge the Xbox One hardware. We see adaptive v-sync kick in twice during our test session, resulting in a minute amount of fleeting tearing at the very top of the screen - essentially invisible then, tucked into the overscan on most displays. To all intents and purposes, this is a locked 60 frames per second.
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One remasters are coming thick and fast, bringing with them a wave of controversy - should developers be concentrating resources on porting over games they've already made? Are resolution and frame-rate boosts enough? Most crucially of all, do they represent value for money? The Metro Redux package from Kiev-based 4A Games puts forward a hell of a good case: you get two complete games for £30 and each title is available solus via digital delivery for those who already own one of the originals. But most importantly of all, the remastering work is very, very good. In fact, we'd say it's up there with the best.