The next Metro game will have multiplayer, but not 'as a box-ticking exercise'

When Embracer Group, the parent company of THQ Nordic, acquired Metro series developer 4A Games, it was known the studio would be working on the next Metro title. Today marks the 10th anniversary of Metro 2033's release, and to celebrate 4A has put together a neat timeline in the form of a metro map, for both books and games, and revealed a little more about the next entry in the series.

In a blog post 4A writes "It’s no secret that we have already started work on the next Metro game. Using everything we’ve learned from the last 15 years, we’ve set our sights even higher – the next title is being built for Gen 9 consoles and PC, with a complete overhaul of our engine and renderer.

"First – we’re committed to delivering a great story driven single player experience; this is what the Metro series is founded on. As a studio, we want to constantly push ourselves to create bigger and better games, but we also listen to what the fans are saying, and we know what’s important to you."

The ultimate reassurance about the singleplayer story already exists. Late last year Metro's creator and author Dmitri Glukhovsky posted Metro Exodus art with an overwritten 'TBC', adding in the caption that he was "working on the story."

Singleplayer is something of a preamble to the big push and the big concern about the next Metro title: multiplayer. 4A Games says it has always had the ambition of some form of Metro multiplayer, though as a smaller studio "our ideas have never made it beyond the prototype phase. But with Saber’s experience in online gaming, we are now actively exploring multiplayer concepts that will offer a new way to experience the world of Metro."

The post does not go into detail on what exact form multiplayer might take in Metro, instead focusing on allaying concerns that its introduction may compromise the atmosphere and world-building that makes these games special. "We’re not looking at multiplayer as a box-ticking exercise, or to jump on some trend or bandwagon. As creators, we want to explore a multiplayer experience that makes complete sense in the Metro universe.

"We’re also committed to ensuring that whatever we do, it’s not to the detriment of our single-player ambitions [...] Additionally, a reminder that it’s still early days – none of the thoughts above mean that the next Metro game will be multiplayer only; or that the next game will have single and multi-player in the same package. We are still figuring things out, but know that we are absolutely committed to more single-player, story driven experiences in the Metro universe that our fans have come to know and love."

The intent may be to reassure players, but it may have been better to keep schtum until there is some idea of how multiplayer might work. Personally I hope it goes the co-op PvE route: I wouldn't mind exploring post-apocalyptic Russia with some comrades.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."