|“||I was filled with doubt. We had already scorched the Earth once. Now, the fire was in my hands, and I had to carry it through.||„|
Artyom (Russian: Артём), known on his passport as Artyom Alekseyevich Chyornyj, is a Ranger and the protagonist of the video games Metro 2033, Metro Last Light, and Metro Exodus as well as the main character of the books Metro 2033 and Metro 2035. He does not appear in Metro 2034, which features a different man with the same first name.
After Miller's death, he succeeds him and becomes the new leader of the Spartan Order, provided he survived.
Artyom, born shortly before the nuclear bombing occurred, was raised underground in Timiryazevskaya station until it was overrun by a massive horde of rats. Since then, he lives with his adoptive father Sukhoi in VDNKh. When he was younger, Artyom and his friends Eugine and Vitali opened the hermetic door of a station north of VDNKh named Botanicheskiy sad. The opened gate allowed the Dark Ones to get inside a few years later, and because of the events taking place at this time, he would be branded as their "chosen one" to help the two species reunite. Many years later when Hunter is investigating the Dark Ones and their potential threat to VDNKh Station and the rest of the metro system, he gives Artyom the responsibility of traveling to the center of the Metro to warn the rest of the metro of the danger.
In the Games
|“||If Artyom has a face... surely it's yours?||„|
|“||Keeping silent? You're turning into a Ranger.||„|
— Khan to Artyom
In the video games, Artyom is depicted as a silent protagonist and a blank slate for the player. Most of the game is narrated by Artyom with voice-overs during the loading periods. Outside of the narrations, Artyom is nearly always silent and (in many ways) mysterious.
Artyom is now 24 years old.
During most third person cut-scenes at the beginning of the game, Artyom's face is obscured one way or another. For example, at the beginning when Artyom is being woken up to meet Hunter, he is sleeping with his arm conveniently concealing his face. However in Exhibition, before leaving, it is possible to go to Artyom's stepfather's office, where there is a picture under a whiskey bottle that looks similar to the parts of his face shown in the game.
In an instance where Artyom enters Black Station, Artyom is seen in third person wearing an outfit similar to Bourbon's - albeit with his face still concealed. He appears to have black hair, suggesting that the photo in Alex's office does show Artyom. Near the end of the game, a view can be gotten of Artyom through a helmet. All this confirms is that Artyom is Slavic and has blue or light green eyes. The view of his face is quickly obscured as you see the reflection of the missiles detonating. Given the collection of postcards on his wall, Artyom seems to be a daydreamer. Among these are postcards of Venice, Egypt, Rome, Asia, Ireland and so on.
Although Metro 2033 is a story about Artyom's journey through the metro, it is equally also about Artyom's growth as a person. The video game reflects this, and unlike the novel, also gives the player an opportunity to influence this. It is suggested by the moral point system that since the events of the game depict one of the first times Artyom has ever left Exhibition (VDNKh) that even somewhat mundane experiences (such as finding corpses and hidden caches or giving money to the poor) can help him to better understand life in the metro system, as well as consider other answers.
Metro: Last Light
|“||He was the bravest of us all, because he was never afraid to embrace the things he didn't understand.||„|
— Anna, C'est La Vie ending.
Artyom he is now 25 years old, appears again as the protagonist in Metro Last Light. In this entry, the player gets a more in-depth look into how Artyom himself is feeling about the events unfolding in the game, in not only the pre-level narration he continues to give but in the form of hidden journal entries. Often in times, these journal entries express Artyom's frustrations with the world he lives in: with Pavel, Anna, the Reds, and the near perpetual state of war the metro seems to always be in. Artyom frequently expresses regret in Metro Last Light, not only over the loss of his mother and his lack of ability to remember her but as time goes on, also in his original slaying of the Dark Ones.
Artyom is revealed to be a sentimental and kind person. As seen at the beginning of the game in Sparta, Artyom still keeps in his room in D6 his postcards, Hunter's dog-tags, and his guitar. Conflicted, and in anguish at first over having to slay the Baby Dark One, Artyom (with guidance from Khan) rapidly decides to accept and spare the Baby, and the two mutually benefit as a result.
Furthermore, through his narrating and notes, it is revealed that Artyom is a very bookish and philosophical person, frequently quoting the Bible among other works. Despite his seemingly extensive knowledge of the Bible and frequent quoting of it, Artyom himself doesn't seem to be very religious or is at least very pessimistic about it, judging by his very Nietzschean like views of god. Artyom also speculates that some of the creatures he encounters throughout his journey might not have been born of the radiation but might have lived deep underground, avoiding humans, but sensing humanity's weakness they are now stepping forward to take their place.
Developing quickly from a toxic relationship, Artyom calling his "pain in the ass partner", he and Anna rapidly grow fond of one another soon after Artyom returns from his trek across the swamp to Sparta Base. After saving Anna from Lesnitsky in Contagion, the two spend time under quarantine. Believing themselves to have been both infected with the virus and finding the situation hopeless, the two grow intimate. Despite this, the relationship could still be perceived as being cold - or at least distant. Artyom makes little mention of Anna and their relationship in his journal entries after the quarantine, and on his way to D6 for the final battle, the two do not do so much as say a word to one another when they pass, though Artyom being a silent protagonist does not help to stimulate conversation. However, this might be a consequence of the stressful time they were having, concerning the perilous situation the Metro was in. In short, they simply didn't have time to talk to each other. In the C'est la Vie ending to Last Light, it is revealed that after their brief sexual encounter Anna became pregnant with Artyom's son. When their son asks about him, Anna responds by stating Artyom was "...the bravest of us all, because he was never afraid to embrace the things he never understood." The Redemption ending is the true ending as Metro 2035 follows this ending - it is safe to believe that in the Redemption ending, Anna still gives birth to Artyom's son.
In the third game of the series, set in 2035, Artyom is once again the protagonist and player character. He is now 26 or 27 years old; after the events of Last Light and Metro 2035, he leaves the Moscow Metro with his wife Anna and several Spartan Rangers (including Stepan from Metro 2035). They board an extensively modified steam locomotive, known as the Aurora, and travel eastwards along the Trans-Siberian Railway in search of a new place to live in. Along the way, they must face many dangers across post-apocalyptic Russia.
In the Novels
Artyom's physical appearance is never fully described. The only known traits are that he is taller along with having a bit darker skin tone than other people his age and having visibly Russian features. Artyom is depicted as a bookish, thoughtful, and well-meaning character, whose over-contemplation of things tends to keep him philosophical, but his inexperience often leaves him helpless (for which he often feels guilty over). Most of this is justified by his almost hermetic life in VDNKh - since his knowledge about the rest of the metro is rather rudimentary.
Artyom likely has Musophobia (fear of rats) because when he sees one he panics and experiences nausea. He was also terrified when he saw a hallucination of Hunter as a rat. The cause of his musophobia is probably rooted in what happened to his mother and station as a child.
In one section of the novel while attempting to flee from some mutants Artyom barricades himself in an apartment building. After surveying the area he's in he notices a bookshelf covered with a sheet. Among the books uncovered he notices a picture drop from the shelf. As he picks it up, he notices that the picture is of a young boy and apparently his mother holding him. On the backside, he is surprised by what he finds. "Little Artyom, 2 months old." Although it is implied that this is Artyom's real home, one still has to keep in mind the fact that the name "Artyom" is rather common in Russia. Another doubt presents itself when he shows the picture to his stepfather when he returns to VDNKh, Sukhoi tells him that he does not recognize the woman in the picture and that he didn't get a clear look at his mother's face when he saved Artyom from the rats.
Epilogue: The Gospel According to Artyom
In the epilogue to Metro 2033 Artyom describes his time after Ostankino Tower and the fate of the dark ones. Once returning to VDNKh he was welcomed like a hero as if he was "Coming down from the heavens in a shiny chariot". Artyom thought of himself as a murderer and that he wished himself dead, that a monster would eat him or that he could hang himself from a tree. Artyom wishes that he could tell the inhabitants of the Metro the truth about the dark ones, that they were there to help, that they wanted peace. He believed that they would laugh in the face of the truth or that he had been indoctrinated by the dark ones into believing them.
Artyom describes his past in a little more detail about the time when he, Zhenya (named Eugine in the game), and Vitalik the Splinter went to the Botanical Gardens and opened the airlock. Whereas in the original novel the events happen very quickly and they are scared back into the metro, the new epilogue goes into detail about what happened. While wandering the surface, Artyom is cornered by wild, mutated dogs. His shotgun not working, he tells the others to go. He is saved by a dark one who scares the Dogs away, some of which start to uncontrollably convulse. The dark one pities Artyom, and shows him visions of his mother (similar to the scene in the video game level Dead City 1). The dark one parts from Artyom leaving the words "You are the First" in Artyom's mind. The brief, non-hostile interaction with the dark one inoculates Artyom, giving him a barrier against the message of the dark ones.
After the Events at Ostankino, Artyom (out of guilt) returns to the Botanical Gardens very regularly. No mutants occupy the former dark ones' home, only soot, and ash. During one such trip, Artyom sees a lone dark one. Whether or not an illusion Artyom runs towards it, taking his mask and gloves off. The dark one is small, roughly half the height of Artyom. Artyom tries to communicate with it, he touches the dark ones head with an un-gloved hand. Artyom sees the emptiness in the dark one's eyes and understands he is alone in the world.
It is revealed in Metro 2035 that Artyom received a tattoo from the Rangers, showing his membership. The tattoo has the phrase "If not us, then who?" (Russian: Если не мы, кто?), which is the Ranger's Motto. Before the war, this phrase was often associated with the SPETSNAZ of the Russian Federation. Moreover, Artyom is a much more mature character in 2035 who has grown significantly after all the things he has been through over the course of the books and games. Sometime between the events of Last Light and Metro 2035, he married Anna in spite of Miller's disapproval; the couple left their Ranger lives behind in favour of a seemingly normal family life on Artyom's home station of VDNKh.
Artyom has also begun losing his hair due to continued exposure to doses of radiation while on the surface, which is another reason for strife between him and his wife (who wishes for nothing more than to give birth to a healthy child that they may raise together as parents). Artyom claims that during the events of Metro 2033 when on top of the Ostankino Tower he heard a radio transmission from another city while the missile guidance system was finding its range. No one in Exhibition believes him, not even Anna, putting a great strain on their relationship.
The Metro Last Light trailer shows a different view on why Artyom never knew his mother. During the launch of the nuclear missiles, Artyom is still a baby and his mother rushes to find shelter in the Metro. With so many people trying to enter, she is almost trampled in the crowd. Although the metro is full, one officer, however, shows mercy and helps her, but not as she would have expected: he takes over Artyom, but leaves her and the rest of the citizens outside.
Since Artyom was born in 2009, he would have been four by the time the bombs fell, thus debunking this origin story.
- In Metro 2033 he states he just turned 20, which would place him being born in 2013. In Metro Exodus his birth year was later retconned to match the books.
- Alternative spelling of his name is Artem, which is a transliteration of Артём. However, the correct way to pronounce the name is equivalent to "Artyom", because the letter "ё" is pronounced like "yoh" (with a silent h).
- In Metro 2034, there is another character called Artyom. Although he shares the name with Metro 2033's protagonist, he is a completely different character and of no relation to the first Artyom.
- In the Swedish translation of the book, the spelling of his name is Artiom.
- In the game, Hunter is aware of Artyom's marksmanship and tactical skills (in which he mentions Artyom's "dead eye shot" abilities) which is probably why he entrusted him with the mission of getting to Miller.
- According to TV Tropes, "Artyom is the Russian masculine form of the Greek name Artemisios, relating to the Greek goddess of the hunt. She obviously had to have excellent aim, as Artyom himself is said to have by Hunter... but two of the possible Greek cognate words for "Artemis" can also be read as 'safe' or 'butcher'."
- "Another source of this name is Greek artemos (of perfect health) which pretty well fits the fact that Artyom is a good and sensitive man and thus capable of being directly contacted by the Dark Ones."
- Artyom knows how to play the guitar, as a guitar can be found in both of his rooms at Exhibition and D6. In Exodus he has at least three chances to play a guitar, twice on Aurora's passenger car and once with The Admiral.
- Artyom's voice actor is changed in Last Light, who also voiced the Metro 2033 Redux version of Artyom.
- Oleg Mirochnikov voiced Arytom in the original game. 
- It is shown in the Gospel According to Artyom that Artyom sustained several facial scars on his journey through the metro.
- As seen in the beginning of Metro: Last Light Artyom had quickly earned the respect of his fellow Rangers, but there are still people (most notably Anna) who are unimpressed by his actions. One of Artyom's motivations to kill the little Dark One was to finally prove to everyone that he deserves to be a Ranger.
- In Last Light, Artyom states that he dislikes communists, saying that he only liked Pavel because he acted like a real hero.
- In Last Light, survivors of the conflict at Frontline can be overheard having witnessed everyone from both sides having mysteriously died (obviously referencing the player's actions in the first game), as well as stating that they heard of someone being smuggled in there with a railcar. They, however, claim this is the work of "The Dark Railtracer".
- In Metro 2035, Artyom's official full name is given as Артём Алексеевич Чёрный (Artyom Alekseyevich Chyornyj). His patronym "Alekseyevich" was given after his foster father Aleksei since his biological father's name is unknown. The surname "Chyornyj" was chosen by Artyom himself to always remind him of what he did at the end of Metro 2033, as Чёрный means "Black" in Russian (the Dark Ones are known as the Blacks in the Russian language versions of the books and games).
- According to Miller, Artyom is the best scout in the Order.
- Artyom's blood type is A Rh Negative in the books, but AB Rh Positive in the games.
- This makes Artyom a universal recipient in the games, which is fortunate considering he needed frequent blood transfusions to combat radiation sickness.