"Better Conditions Are Earned"
Metro: Last Light creative director Andrew Prokhorov has spoken out to confirm that 4A Games suffered through truly appalling working conditions in their Kiev studio, following a sensational report from ex-THQ CEO Jason Rubin. However, instead of attacking his employers, the zen developer simply suggests that sub-zero temperatures and power outages are just a part of the job, and consumers shouldn't cut them any slack.
Commenting on Rubin's GI.biz article (identity verified), Prokhorov stated that Rubin visited the studio on the second week of his employment, but arrived too late to make a difference before the publisher collapsed. “Keep in mind that he only had few months to somehow fix the situation, he wrote. "Alas, that didn’t work out."
In a startlingly humble (if not heartbreaking) statement, Prokhorov confirmed that the working conditions and pay were abysmal by industry standards, but that "better conditions are earned," not expected.
“It is a fact that our work conditions are worse than those of other developers outside Ukraine. I don’t think anyone can doubt that – yes, it’s true that American and most of European developers operate in a country far more comfortable than Ukraine, and yes, the publishers pay them more. This is clear: the more “reasonable” the country the less the risks, and we don’t want to be all dramatic about that – after all, better conditions are earned, and we strive to do this as soon as possible.”
Prokhorov also urged customers and reviewers to take their working conditions out of the equation when it comes to critiquing Metro: Last Light, and instead judge the game on its own merits. “We deserve the ratings we get,” he concluded. “After all, the final consumer doesn’t care about our conditions. And this is RIGHT. We need no indulgence.”
Class act. We've yet to review Metro: Last Light, but if a team of underpaid freezing developers can create a decent game without consistent power or dev kits, the insane loss-making budgets commanded by the likes of Square Enix and Capcom start to look rather silly indeed. Going forward, hopefully publishers can find a happy medium between the two.