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Metro 2033

THQ talks us through its underground FPS

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What was your process for taking the nuances of the book and making them work in an FPS context?

Dean Sharpe: It's very difficult to take a very cerebral philosophical book and apply that - even more so - to a game.

Andrew Prokhoror: Okay philosophical part of the game, all background story and NPC environment are creating the - guys it will be difficult to convey this in English so forgive me.

Dean Sharpe: The key points of the story were the easy parts. You just take those key points of the story and you're still trying to tell the story. You bring in the characters and the world that then fleshes out the story keeping the idea of the book. Then and I know this from working with them, the philosophical, cerebral and I even throw in mystical parts of the book are just strategically placed throughout the game.

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And I know some players won't get them, I know there's parts that maybe they won't get, but I think that if you're the type of person that's looking for that type of stuff, you're going to find them.

So it's been balanced to suit both types of player?

Andrew Prokhoror: My hero has never seen a sky, so when he first sees the sky, the voice actor in the game started [putting too much emotion into it] saying "Ooooh sky". I said who is this talking is it supposed to be me? But in first hour he saves the life of a small child and takes him on his back and the child said, "What is this? Wow!"

Dean Sharpe: At the beginning with the postcards, maybe you don't pick up on it, but many people will.

Did you consider having a voiced character?

Dean Sharpe: We did, we did, but getting into the discussion on why we didn't go for a voiced character would be far too long a conversation but we just decided it wasn't the right way to go.

Andrew Prokhoror: Some people like it, but player plays the game not a specific character.

Dean Sharpe: For me, I argued against having a specific voice. In a movie I always hate it when they have the person thinking to themselves. To me that's just a cheap way out of figuring some other way to tell the story.

How do you handle the story elements and choices you make throughout the game? Are there branches in the code?

Dean Sharpe: There are not so much branches, but it's set up so that there are multiple ways to play it and that's true throughout the entire game. Just about every place you could, you do have that choice, whether you go in more aggressive or whether you choose a stealthy route.

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Andrew Prokhoror: You can choose a different weapon or different approach to passing something or trying to get past something. You can assault or try to pass silently.

The reason I hesitate to say anything is that I hesitate to use that as an example of a feature, because it's kind of one of those things that's expected and we didn't want it to be like that, just because it's expected to be in there.

We wanted it to be that you could actually play it both ways and we put a lot of effort into making it fun both ways.

It seems to me primarily a PC shooter... was it conceived as PC primarily and ported across, what's the balance between the two versions?

Dean Sharpe: I completely disagree, maybe it's because you haven't gotten into it enough. I like to think a good game's a good game, you shouldn't have to compromise.

You know in the early days of games, there weren't kids games and adult games, there were just games, it's like, it's a good game it's a good game. Personally being originally a console guy I think it's a PC game with a lot of console type elements in it. But by the same token it's a very console game. I don't think you can differentiate.

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