Metal Gear Survive

This website has always been devoted to analyzing Hideo Kojima’s games, not the “Metal Gear” series including all the spinoffs. There are tons of stuff related to the Metal Gear “brand” that I don’t care about at all. Most of it, in fact. I understand that it’s a brand, and that brand is connected to Kojima’s intellectual property, but that’s all it is to me.

Today Konami revealed a new game trailer. It’s for something that technically has the words “Metal” and “Gear” in the title, and it technically uses assets and models from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Konami is still using the FOX Engine, which means the game should be easily ported to many different consoles and systems, and the budget should be next to nothing. Speaking of next to nothing, that’s what it is. It’s technically not nothing… although it doesn’t register in my mind as anything more than an improvised, offhand hypothetical concept that a jaded Metal Gear fan might make to his buddies when they’re sleepy and can’t think of a good joke. It feels like nothing. Even as a way of stirring up controversy by insulting fans it feels profoundly lacking. The reality is that real employees of a big company which has shareholders actually sat down and produced things to make this trailer and the game it presents. ¬†That¬†doesn’t even click in my mind. If they had written this concept on a wadded up piece of paper and threw it at me, it would have sailed directly past me and into the trash bin next to me, never to be thought of again. It makes no impression. It takes effort to acknowledge that it exists by writing about it here.

I initially watched the trailer sans audio (because I find that you can get a much more objective sense of how interesting something is if you mute it first), and the basic gist is that apparently a dimensional rift has opened up and transported generic nobodies from the Metal Gear universe into a generic alternate reality with generic zombies. The generic people have generic zombie survival struggles in a generic wasteland, using generic weapons, and I suppose need to find a generic way back home. There you go. That’s the thing. It seems to be a cooperative multiplayer game too, so you can check that off the list of generic corporate selling points too.

Already, “fans of Metal Gear” (including those who don’t know how to distinguish real installments from corporate filler) have come out mocking the piss-poor attempt. Boardroom discussions memes, appropriate “zombie” analogies, and more have cropped up. I’d be impressed if Konami even managed to anger the fanbase with this, because it’s such a transparent recycling of content and branding that only the most braindead followers of the series will get confused about what it really represents. The fact that they straight up went to “alternate reality” is the funniest aspect, because it’s a total admission of creative bankruptcy.

I will say this, however: if they bothered to make a ton of carefully-designed levels that emphasized stealth and strategy, with clever enemies and features, I would totally be interested in the game as its own thing. I wouldn’t refuse to indulge the final product if it was high quality on its own terms, and I could overlook the marketing/branding in order to enjoy the gameplay. But assuming that the game design is as hollow as the rest, Metal Gear Survive pretty much exists in a vacuum of interest, aggressively demanding to be ignored.

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