Linux Gaming News

Developer 4A Games Sees Metro Last Light As Clear Demand For 'High Quality Titles On Linux'

The system-crushing and technically adept first person shooter Metro: Last Light expands its reach to the Mac platform via the App Store and Steam, with a dedicated Linux version following later this year. It seemed an opportune time to connect with 4A Games and publisher Deep Silver to pick their brain about game development beyond the PC walls.

Porting games to various platforms almost always requires extra resources, extra coding time, extra money. I asked Oles Shishkovstov, CTO of 4A Games, if any substantial hurdles were involved in bringing such a graphically intensive game to Mac and Linux.

“We have the luxury of working with our own in-house tech, the 4A Engine, which was purposefully designed to scale across multiple platforms and performance points,” Shishkovstov explained. “Creating dedicated Mac and Linux versions has naturally required some additional work, but represented no technical obstacle to our team.”

Obviously Mac users are hungry for a deeper library of Steam games, despite having several high profile titles like Borderlands 2, Portal 2, Civilization V, and now Metro: Last Light. In fact, Steam Play is more frequently offering simultaneous release across Mac and Windows — take the recent launch of Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs.

But what continues to intrigue me is the blossoming category of gaming on Linux, a phrase that used to elicit maniacal laughs from Windows fans and Linux users alike.

Steam for Linux continues to trudge forward. Distributions like Ubuntu are now being offered as the default OS by companies like Dell  (you can buy an Alienware X51 with Ubuntu) and Asus. In fact Ubuntu itself, in this writer’s opinion, is more user-friendly than Windows 8. So should more game developers start paying attention to Linux? “We cannot speak for other developers, but for us and for Metro it made sense to cater for the Linux audience,” Shishkovstov told me. “There is clearly a demand for high quality titles on Linux.”

One has to assume the decision to release the game on both Linux and Mac implies some level of financial viability. I also got in touch with Huw Beynon, Global Brand Manager for the game’s publisher Deep Silver, and asked one simple question: Will Deep Silver consider day and date releases across all PC-based platforms for future titles?

“We have set no hard and fast rule – if it is viable, we will do it,” Beynon answered. “But there are many other platforms, including current and next-gen consoles that demand our attention, and we must focus our efforts on the biggest audience first.”

Perhaps not the answer Linux enthusiasts wanted to hear, but it’s encouraging that Deep Silver is shining a light on the platform and prepping an excellent title for Steam on Linux.

By the way, if you’ve already purchased Metro: Last Light on PC, the Mac version should be there waiting for you on Steam. Both Mac and Linux versions will have access to all previously released DLC.

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