[Update: Without looking around too much I assumed GZ would have side-missions, and the official Konami blog for makes this clear:
MULTIPLE MISSIONS AND TASKS – Ground Zeroes boasts a central story mode and additional side-missions ranging from tactical action, aerial assaults and “covert” stages that will be sure to surprise.
So there you have it. A story mode, side-missions, aerial assaults, covert stages… This is definitely not a little demo.]
Finally we know something about Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes‘ release date and price. As Kojima hinted many times, Ground Zeroes will be a separately released prologue from The Phantom Pain itself, and will even have a boxed retail version for current gen consoles. It’ll cost $20 on the current-gen systems and $30 to download it on next-gen.
NEWS: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes will be released in Spring of 2014 (PS4 version $30 on PSN)http://t.co/kLmHncXks4
— Mr. Wolfe (@meta_gear) November 4, 2013
Judging by what we’ve seen in the preview trailers and demonstrations the “Ground Zeroes” mission itself seems to be pretty small, which is why people are upset about the $30 price point. But is this really a ripoff, or a sign that the game is a lot bigger and more interesting than we have been led to believe?
In the TGS demo we see a long list of classified missions to choose from, and the rescue mission for Chico is only one of them. Another mission (specially prepared for that show) was in in the evening, in clear weather. Since neither mission seemed to have a day/night cycle, or dynamic weather, we might be able to expect a series of missions leading up to the “main” one, teaching us how Mother Base will work, or training us how to use the various systems The Phantom Pain is going to use. Think of it as VR training, the briefing section, and MGS3’s “Virtuous Mission” all rolled into one. Prologues are generally supposed to introduce and establish the ideas and names that the audience will be meeting later on. It plants the seed, so that it’s not overwhelming later on. If MGSV is as big as Kojima has bragged before, we’ll need a $30 game to handle all of that prologue.
Because MGS fans are familiar with the Tanker Chapter of MGS2, and the Virtuous Mission of MGS3, many have been assuming the same thing here, but I doubt Ground Zeroes will even be included on The Phantom Pain disc when its released. Not only would this make Ground Zeroes more appealing as a stand-alone, but it will allow The Phantom Pain‘s madness to shine brighter.
Big Boss is in a coma for 9 years. The time between GZ and TPP releases will give us a sense of that long waiting period, certainly. Then, when we finally see Big Boss waking up from a coma with a horn in his head and a missing arm, the mystery about the game will feel that much more intense.