Metro Exodus Russian Localization Team Talks about Voicing, Issues they had and Scenario Changes

The team behind Russian voices of Metro talks about Glukhovsky’s part in the development, difficulties with localizing the game, and how changing of the story affected the localization process

Russian publishing company Buka has published a video, in which they tell about the process of making Metro Exodus sound Russian. Dmitry Glukhovksy, the author of the Metro books, talked about his part in the development process, and Evgeny Metlyaev, the head of Buka localization department, shared some details about the localization process and problems the team experienced. Although Metro Exodus is developed by a game studio from a CIS country where the Russian language is common, it wasn’t that simple to localize it.

You can see the video below. Mind, though, that it’s in Russian and there may be spoilers.

We highlighted the most interesting moments from the video.

Dmitry Glukhovksy did the human relationships part

As the writer said, 4A Games was responsible for the adventure part while he was working on human relationships between the main characters. Glukhovsky notes that in Metro Exodus, unlike in the first two games, Artyom travels as a member of Aurora crew. They get to know each other better as the story goes on and the relationships between them develop. Each character has their own ‘’story, drama and destiny’’, which Glukhovsky was responsible for, calling it ‘’human parts of the plot’’, in addition to what the game itself could be about.

Russian localization team did the voicing only

Unlike teams who localized the game into other languages — translated the text and adapted it for voice over — Buka’s part was limited to dubbing the game. As Metlyaev says, Russian localization team was under 4A Games control and they had to approve all the changes they needed to do. Although it made the whole process easier in some aspects, there were certain difficulties as well.

Metro Exodus was originally developed in Russian and then translated into English, which complicated the voice over

Metlyaev says that initially Metro Exodus was developed in Russian including dialogues and videos. But at some point, the developers began to translate the game into English, work with native speaking actors and consequently continued the development solely in English. So when the core of the game was ready, it turned out that all the materials were adapted for English, including word stress and intonation, while the Russian text remained the same. With this discordance, actors had to make sure Russian phrases sound organic and fit the scene and length.

Scenario changes affected the localization process

Metro Exodus’ story went under several changes over the course of development including locations and dialogues. Therefore, the localization team had to voice some characters several times and even redo them completely. For instance, one character’s lines were recorded in two sessions using screaming and calm voices. However, when the team received the build, it turned out that the character was using both voices. Tied to a tree, he shouted and spoke calmly in the same scene, which looked quite strange. As 4A Games then said, this character’s story was rewritten and the whole dialogue was originally taking place in another scene and place.

4A Games was not always pleased with the result

When the first record was sent to 4A Games, they declined six key characters Buka picked, stating that they ‘’do not fit heroes’ personality’’. Surprisingly, the developers had previously approved them. Anyway, Buka had to re-record these characters, replacing the casting and intonation.

In the next episode, Buka is going to talk about what surprised the localization team during their work, how many Annas there were in the Russian version of Metro Exodus, and why a hereditary Kazakh speaks without any accent.

Metro Exodus is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 15.