|“||The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. A few thousand live on, not knowing if they are the only survivors on the planet. They live in the Moscow Metro - the biggest air-raid shelter ever built. It is humanity's last refuge. It is a world without tomorrow, with no room for dreams, plans, hopes. Feelings have given way to instinct - the most important of which is survival. Survival at any price.||„|
— Metro 2033
An apocalyptic war on a grand scale has devastated the surface of the Earth, leaving deadly radiation and biological weapons that have changed fauna into dangerous mutants. The Moscow Metro, which was planned from the beginning to be a giant underground air-raid shelter, became the last refuge of humanity. The Metro system is made up of subway lines. Each line has its own amount of stations, in which live Moscow's survivors of the nuclear holocaust. Each station has its own leader, customs, and even political ideology. However, every station has one thing in common, survival. The tunnels are a source of constant dangers - radiation, mental threats, bandits and mutant predators take the lives of the many of those people who venture between stations to trade or travel.
In the opening intro scene of the game, Artyom states that 40,000 people are currently living at the Metro. The novel doesn't specify any exact numbers of Metro inhabitants, estimating the whole population at "several thousands". In a note in Metro Last Light, Artyom states that less than 50,000 people of the original 200,000 people are still alive in the Metro.
- Main article: Locations
The Metro system is a large and (to an extent) unexplored place, composed of a labyrinth of lines, tunnels, subway systems, and subway stations. The people who fled to the metro utilized the subway stations as permanent homes. For a list and detailed information about areas in the game go to the Levels article. Likewise, the Locations article contains links to other locations.
The Moscow Metro is divided into 2 main sections: subway stations and subway tunnels. There are over 100 stations, each clinging to its own society and government. Some stations band together to survive while others turn to anarchy or every man for himself. As time goes on, the stations become more distant from each other, resulting in the emergence of factions and conflict. However, while these stations can be a harsh and cruel place to live, the most dangerous parts of the metro are the transition zones.
While the exact number of empty or inactive stations is unknown, it is known that many of the original 188 stations on the 12 lines have fallen in the two decades since the Great War of 2013, due to post-war conditions. However, there are many stations that are still "alive". Some station lines live in relative peace, at least compared to other outskirt stations. Much of this is due to the ideological alliances, and splits, that have occurred in the metro's past.
These zones make up the subway tunnels that connect the metro to the surface, giving all sorts of deadly mutants access to the metro. The tunnels also connect each station to each other, inevitably causing the tunnels to become main battlegrounds for conflicting parties.
In a world gone to hell, the remnants of humanity have learned to create and maintain both new and old pieces of tech from the old world. Many people have banded together to preserve such methods, whether it be for scientific purposes or more deadly ones. In stations such as Polis, survivors with scientific and educated backgrounds have come together in hopes to preserve the knowledge of humanity.
While some success comes from this, more straightforward survivalists have begun to use their mechanical skills to create weapons and vehicles. In stations such as Kuznetsky Most, machinists who used to make guns before the Armageddon, have come together in order to preserve the knowledge of weapons manufacturing. While some have been able to maintain and repair old pre-war weapons such as the Kalashnikov, many have found ways to create new weapons that are easy to make and maintain. One of these metro made weapons is the infamous Bastard sub-machine gun.
As far as transportation goes, pre-war mechanics have carried on their profession and continue to work with automobiles. Most transportation nowadays is done on train tracks, so production on off-road vehicles is less common. However, auto mechanics have been hired by groups such as the Rangers to create and repair off-road vehicles.
Health and Medical CareEdit
Due to high danger and constant lack of medical supplies and doctors, medical care is strictly related to each station's prosperity. Most of the stations try to maintain basic needs such as arranging small field hospitals and marking out places to leave corpses. While little to no medical care is established at some minor stations, some major station's hospitals are well equipped with properly taught medical personnel. Other known facilities appearing at such stations are public baths opened for general use. When a pestilence breaks out at any of the stations, the place is sealed until further notice. In extreme cases, the station's inhabitants are annihilated and their bodies and belongings are burned down with Flamethrowers. Medkits are in widespread use in the Metro 2033 video game and are used by the player to accelerate the healing process.
The Metro tunnels rarely have any lighting, and many small stations have little more than candles to light them - this lack of light has led to Metro dweller's eyes becoming weak and unaccustomed to light. For example, in the Metro 2033 novel, Artyom, upon arriving at the richer, well lit Polis, is required to wear sunglasses to protect his eyes. Stalkers also struggle on the surface, and generally only travel at night to lessen the risk of being blinded by the sun. It can also be presumed that people in the Metro have vitamin deficiencies from lack of light and poor nutrition, leading to the high demand and price for supplements.
It is likely that the metro can produce some of its own medicine. For example, in Last Light, there are diabetic people in the metro. However, any pre-war insulin would have been long expired or used up. The insulin could be made using pig pancreases, seeing as they're fairly common animals in the metro. However, it is unlikely that quality of life would be high for any person with a chronic disease, such as diabetes.
Food, Drink, and DrugsEdit
The most common foods eaten by Metro inhabitants are rats, mushrooms, and pork; however, many vendors in the Metro appear to sell different kinds of soups, stews, and other dishes. Mushrooms and pork are cultivated in underground farms, while the rarest of foods, vegetables like cucumbers and potatoes, are grown in hydroponic greenhouses (which was revealed in Metro 2034). Also, any types of diet supplements, such as vitamins, are highly desired.
Pigs and chickens were among the few animals that were taken down to the metro when the bombs fell. As a result, they have become a large source of meat - almost every station has their own pig pen. The Belorusskaya Trade Outpost produces large amounts of pig and chicken as livestock. However, a more common source of meat exists; rats, usually giant mutated ones, thrive in the metro.
Many people have actually learned to grow mushrooms that don't require sunlight. While what these mushrooms are actually called isn't known, it is known that mushrooms become a large food source. Many people set up mushroom farms and sell or eat their product. VDNKh is noted for their successful tea production from using these mushrooms.
The most common drink is filtered, boiled water, however, many citizens enjoy other drinks; VDNKh's mushroom tea is considered luxurious, while home-made beer and Shroom Vodka are mostly obtained in canteens, bars, and restaurants. The rarest and most expensive beverages are the ones recovered from the surface by Stalkers (such as whiskey and cognac).
Drugs in the Metro Universe are no uncommon sight. In the Metro video games, there are a number of hookahs that can be found in bars or in various bandit controlled stations, and some inhabitants of the metro, including Bourbon, smoke what could be assumed is tobacco. In the novel, this is further exemplified by Artyom's narration dropping hints about his own recreational use of marijuana, though, much like in real life, it is still considered taboo by many.
Pre-war money, which became difficult to locate and maintain, lost all purpose. Instead, military-grade 5.45x39mm cartridges became the new currency in the Metro System, being common and difficult to counterfeit. However, these military rounds' most prized attribute is stopping power. They are the most powerful of bullets found in the metro, resulting in some people using them in combat as opposed to trade. However, crucial resources such as food, water, and general supplies such as medicine and Fuel are still greatly valued, sometimes even more than bullets, resulting in general provisions used for trade. Trade between stations is common, the most popular of goods being food, including the aforementioned mushrooms and pigs. The Hanseatic League has grown extremely wealthy from control of the radial line of the Metro, a vital trade route.
During the level Frontline, it can be noticed that a form of Christianity has remained. One of the soldiers, after receiving a capsule of cyanide, mentions that God has forbidden to commit suicide. However, religion does not seem to have any priority in such a dangerous environment.
In the novel Metro 2033, certain religious groups exist in the Metro. These Include Jehovah's Witnesses, Satanists, and the savage cannibals of the Great Worm Cult.
- Main article: Factions
In this unforgiving world, over 20 years have passed, and the Metro stations of Moscow have become independent states, forming confederations and alliances, engaging in trade, and even fighting wars, among other things. Of significant note are the stations of the ring line and Polis, the heart of the metro. During the first years, a de-facto government was created but quickly failed to lead the various stations. The leaders of the stations are generally people who were in positions of power before the war - military leaders, politicians, and so on. One revered kind of person are those who worked and ran the Metro system before the war, as they know the tunnels and stations well; these conductors and technicians became very powerful, treated almost like living gods. As the years turned to decades, people have attempted to bring order and peace to the stations through different political practices, religions, or just good-natured purposes.
Almost every station on the subway lines splintered off and formed their own ideology.
After the fall of the Central Metro Command, many stations attempted to band together and survive. One, in particular, were the ones on the Red Line. The Red Line is a relatively large collection of stations in the metro subway. The Neo-Soviet organisation 'Red Line' rules over most of the Red Line. While most stations on the Red Line belong to the actual group, a few central ones remain independent. Hanza also controls one station on the Red Line. The stations are communist and the vibe given off when visiting their stations is eerie and paranoid.
The entire Ring Line has been unified under a capitalist democratic group called Hanza, or the Hanseatic League. The residents of stations on the Ring Line live far from perfect lives, but they are generally more wealthy and with more goods and services available. Hanza believes in the free market with little restrictions on it. They treat citizens well but are wary of outsiders as such a visitor to any station on the Ring Line will most likely be turned away. However if one were to make it in, they would find relative peace in the heavily guarded stations, as well as access to goods that some in the Metro have never even seen.
Hanza stations are generally better lit and cleaner than others; electricity is more common and the entire Ring line has been cleared of debris and train wrecks, meaning that the fastest way to travel around the Metro is via the Ring Line.
The Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line, or the Purple Line, cuts through the entire Metro, however, the more established stations on the line have to be stations under Fascist control. A Neo-Nazi group labeling itself as The Fourth Reich controls (by the time of the events of Metro Last Light) 3 stations on the Purple Line and one outskirt station that originally belonged to the 1905 Confederation. There are many other stations on this line but these three are the most worthy of telling.
In Metro 2035, Artyom learns that all four major factions in the Metro are controlled by the remnants of the Russian government, who did not flee to the Ural mountains as most assumed. Instead, they hid in a Soviet bunker turned Cold War museum near Taganskaya station. When World War III broke out, high ranking members of Russian society took refuge there. One of the Watchers' leaders, Bessolov (aka Aleksei Feliksovich), explains to Artyom that the leaders of all four factions are kept in line using threats, blackmail, and bribes. Wars between them are orchastrated by the Watchers as a form of "controlled conflict" and population control.
- Main article: Mutants
Though it may be the last refuge for humanity, Moscow's irradiated metro can be just as deadly as the surface. The metro is also home to vicious, territorial, and often downright dangerous mutants or new mysterious and supernatural phenomena, which threaten the lives of those in the tunnels every day. As if factions rampant with wild ideologies, mutants, and anomalies of a physical, mental, or radioactive nature weren't enough, the tunnels are equally full of bandits, who are often depicted in delight of the theft, torture, and rape of other metro survivors.
- There are numerous references throughout the Metro canon that there are other survivors elsewhere in Russia and the world, but since there is no definitive evidence, many Metro dwellers consider the Metro the whole world, and the ends of the line the literal ends of the world.
- Many Metro denizens originally believed that the Russian government had fled to secret bunkers behind the Ural Mountains during the war, and that they would soon be in contact with them to re-establish control. However, once it was clear no rescue was coming, few hoped anymore.
- In the Metro 2033 novel, it is mentioned that not long after the war, there was radio contact with a tank of the Russian military that survived thanks to radiation shielding. After awhile of traveling and collecting survivors It eventually ran out of fuel so stopped and a little village grew around it. However, after a few years, contact was lost.
- In Metro 2034, it is heavily implied that Moscow's metro system is not the only place where people survived the nuclear holocaust. It had been stated that for a few years all the remaining inhabited places had communication with each other. Unfortunately as their power source grew weaker their radio signal got lost making Moscow's metro system inhabitants believe that they are the only survivors left. Other Metro systems mentioned include St. Petersburg and Minsk. Conversations in Metro: Last Light also reflect on this.
- Similarly, according to the Universe of Metro 2033 book series, people in many different places of the world have persevered - Britain, Italy, Poland, and Ukraine, among others.
- According to Hunter in the novel and a VDNKh resident, the people of the metro won't be able to go back to the surface (without the aid of radiation suits or gas masks) until about nearly fifty more years after 2033, meaning the surface could be radiation-free in 2083, about seventy years after the Great War of 2013.