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Interview: Metro Last Light's Eastern promise

THQ shares the latest on its Russian sequel

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So your secondaries are now immediately available, so rather than having to bring them up and hold them in your hand. You'll see him throw his gun to the other hand and then either draw the throwing knife or the grenade, so there's no instant grenade spamming. He has a knife attack which is accessible at any moment and then as you saw in the playthrough a non-lethal as well as a lethal execution. He's got a much more rounded skillset in that sense.

We've also changed the way that weapon handling works so that rather than restrict you to a single pistol class, a single automatic class and one of our custom or esoteric weapons, you can now have any weapon of any type in any slot. It's perfectly possible to have a Helsing, T-har and a shotgun, but you'll probably find it extremely difficult to maintain all three of them because ammo for the first two in particular are very rare. But that option is available to the player so there is a bit more choice in how you equip yourself which means you can tailor your inventory to the kind of playing style you like.

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We also allow you to independently customise each individual weapon rather than in the first one where you would swap a weapon for a pre-built one. You can now adjust and modify the ones which you have, whether it's adding a silencer, a stock to increase accuracy or a barrel to increase range or any number of combinations. It's just added a lot more layers of depth to the combat experience.

What improvements have you made to the core game engine?

Well it's across the board really, the lighting obviously continues to be a huge focus. We've introduced a lot more destruction and interactivity into the environments. Huge improvements in animation across the board. AI improvements have been perhaps the single biggest focus.

It's kind of been everywhere, not just one single thing and the advantage of having the tech and game engine in house means we can add the features that we want as we need them to support the gameplay rather than trying to figure out a system and fudge what they've built for a completely different purpose. I really don't think there's anything else out there that would be able to create the world of Metro, the way the 4A engine does.

Last Light is for PC, Xbox and for the first time there'll be a Metro game on PS3 - has that proved a challenge?

Olez, our genius programmer was asked this very same question - he was asked if it was difficult and he said, "not difficult ...boring." Yeah I think PS3 and 360 owners are going to be very, very pleased with the level of fidelity we can hit on those platforms given how far ahead the PC hardware is now versus those fixed platforms.

Metro 2033 was a fantastic learning process for us on the 360 platform and for most of the developers it was their very first console game. I still think 2033 stacks up as one of the better looking games on 360, certainly in the interior environments - all of the dynamic lighting translates perfectly to those formats.

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