It's all because scriptwriter Scott Frazier wanted to Americanise the franchise by moving the location from Moscow to Washington DC. That wouldn't work according to the author Dmitry Glukhovsky who is still optimistic about the Metro movie.
Work on Metro 2033 was announced back in 2016 and instead of information about the cast and pre-production we got a cancellation announcement. According to Metro novel author Dmitry Glukhovsky, the scriptwriter F. Scott Frazier wanted to Americanise the movie by changing the setting from Moscow to America's capital Washington DC.
Understandably, Glukhovsky was not a fan of the idea and we totally agree with him on this one. As a result, all the rights have been reverted to him. Glukhovsky said that the setting just wouldn't work in other countries since the story is focused on the conflict between Nazis and Communists.
"A lot of things didn’t work out in Washington DC, Nazis don’t work, Communists don’t work at all, and the Dark Ones don’t work. Washington DC is a black city basically," Glukhovsky explained and added that MGM studio dumbed down the monsters and made everything look like just another generic horror movie.
"They had to replace the Dark Ones with some kind of random beasts and as long as the beasts don’t look human, the entire story of xenophobia doesn’t work which was very important to me as a convinced internationalist. They turned it into a very generic thing," Glukhovsky said.
Given that one of the biggest selling points of games and books is the Moscow setting and that Metro novels have sold millions of copies all over the world Glukhovsky is claiming that "it’s probably not as improbable now that people would accept a story happening in Moscow." He also mentions that filmgoers are probably tired of American post-apocalyptic setting as they've seen it so many times.
In case you're wondering about the scriptwriter F. Scott Frazier, he worked on xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Collide and The Numbers Station and none of these movies are something to be proud of so we're actually glad that someone else will be taking over the Metro 2033 movie. But that's just our honest opinion.