Before I comment on the trailer contents, let me say this game is going to be cross-platform and cross-generational, as expected. I have to say it looks gorgeous in a meaningful way. The dust storm, spotlights, animation, and aesthetics feel like they go hand-in-hand with actual gameplay considerations, and this is just one of many convincing environments we’ll have the privilege to explore.
A strange thing is happening in my mind when I watch The Phantom Pain, which is a mixture of true anticipation and cautious reservation, and it’s not because of Kiefer Sutherland (who does a great job,) or the niggling plot questions. It’s about how the hell this game is supposed to simultaneously be on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 4 hardware without massive compromises. Guns of the Patriots and its unforgivable installation screens pissed me off more than any other game in history, but this one is supposed to be more ambitious yet. Something has to sacrificed to make this all fit.
Polygon count, frame rate, draw distance, lighting, and every other visual will be scaled back, of course, but I wonder how “big” the game will really be. Peace Walker felt like a big game and it was on the tiny PSP, but it also used animatics instead of real cutscenes, wasn’t open-world, and used menus to handle things like Motherbase.
Then again, Grand Theft Auto V is going to be on current platforms, and I don’t know how the hell that’s possible either. What’ll we end up getting?
I don’t want to speculate too much about the story right now. We see Kaz Miller with a missing arm and leg, a light-haired child (very possibly Paz) being cut open and rummaged through, African child soldiers with AFKs, and a miniature Metal Gear like we see in Outer Heaven during the original MSX game. We see new characters like “Quiet” and whoever the cool-looking Beret man is. We find out that the guy with the skull face is named “Skull Face”, and more. Questions about “those who don’t exist”, Big Boss’ mysterious horn, and his insanity are strange and exciting. If I was a younger man, this would be pure hype guaranteed. Very impressive.
When I first saw Ground Zeroes I wondered what the format of the game would be like and I still want to know. It’s fascinating how much Kojima can still do within the extremely limited confines of the existing future and past of the Metal Gear timeline.