We’ve known for a while that 4A Games is trying to make Metro Exodus, the upcoming third entry in their acclaimed, atmospheric post apocalyptic first person shooter franchise, take some cues from its spiritual forebear STALKER. STALKER gave players sandbox areas to work with and play in- and so will Metro Exodus. 4A Games have confirmed to Game Informer that the game will present players with large sandbox areas for each new stage.
That said, the finely sculpted tight and linear progression for narrative that the series is known for won’t be sacrificed in this transition either. The game will still be strictly linear- while you can mess around in the sandbox you are given, you can’t go back to a previous level once you proceed to a new area.
You’ll still get a lot of freedom- stages are going to be massive (some of them as large as two square kilometers), and you’ll be able to traverse through them in a number of ways, facilitated by all sorts of weapons. So- not an open world, but it sounds like Exodus will be taking the best parts of open world games anyway.