Kojima draws parallel between “Old Logan” and “Old Snake”

In my articles on MGS4 I have emphasized the reduction of Solid Snake to a hired killer, stripped of the noble idealism we see at the end of Sons of Liberty. The “rapid aging” plot gimmick and the change of his name to “Old Snake” were early hints that his heroic leader status was going to be stripped away, and then we saw within the game itself that he doesn’t live up to his own ideals anymore; he gives up on teaching, and just focuses on trudging through his mission with little more fueling him than nanomachines and drug injections. People have tried to retroactively interpret his actions as something greater, but this shows a basic misunderstanding of the “Old Snake” character in my opinion.

Now Kojima has written an essay on the film Logan, and repeats the logic behind Snake’s transformation:

Back in 2008, I did something similar when I put an old Solid Snake into Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In the intro, Snake says “War has changed.” His codename was also changed to “Old Snake.” The letters “I” and “S” were removed from the word SOLID: “is” – or in other words “being” – had been taken away from him; he was now Old Snake. In much the same way, both Snake and Logan had their place in the world taken away from them. What place is there in the world for those whose very being has been wrested from them? All that remains is the end of their story – a story of their departure. I attempted to pull the same trick you see in Logan – of simultaneously writing an “end” for MGS4 while trying not to actually end the whole saga. [Emphasis mine]

This is confirmation. Solid Snake’s “being” is removed in MGS4, leaving only a shell of his former self. Once you remove who he “is”, he simply becomes “Old Snake”, the grumpy assassin trying to clean up the mess that is his legacy, devoid of ideals.

The potential options of releasing the book

Merry Christmas everyone!

Publication is a tricky business, I’ve learned. Due to complications that are nobody’s fault (sounds like a cliche, now I realize why it is one,) I have to rethink how I’m going to release the book. This could be a positive thing, and I’m looking forward to having your help in this.

To be perfectly blunt, I’m ambivalent about trying to make money off of this by this point. At first I thought it could be a great source of revenue if it got good reviews and a percent of the gaming community embraced it, but by now I just care about doing justice to the material for whoever is interested, and I hope word spreads about its quality. This book is unlike anything else available, and the level of analysis here is beyond anything on my site because I did a lot of homework this time, whereas I normally don’t worry about getting all the details straight. It helped a lot to sort everything out, culminating in a study of Kojima and his work that I don’t think can be matched anywhere.

The book is the apex of my Metal Gear obsession. I now realize I’m not going to get rich from it or anything, and even if it spread beyond readers of the site, it’s not like I’m going to quit my dayjob if I made enough to buy food for a week or two. Your interest, appreciation, and feedback has always been more important to me than money, which is why I’ve never advertised on this site, taken up offers to join weird conglomerate sites that offered to monetize me work, or resorted to clickbait controversy and comments sections to drive up viewership. The book is similarly restrained and focused on just discussing what I find most interesting: being a “guide” to the crazy MGS series and Kojima’s mentality through the years.

Please take the time to fill out this small question form so I can come up with a gameplan that works for everyone…

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.

“MGSV: Parasitic Legacy” Video attempts to show the Sins of the Father

I won’t embed the video here since there is a special page for it over at the SnakeSoup.  It’s probably best to go there and see the introduction and follow-up material provided by Ravi Singh.  On this page I’ll give my impressions of the video and reply to its arguments.

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GamesDoneLegit has some Metal Gear reading suggestions

I’m happy to see that my humble blog has appeared on the list of recommended reading presented by GamesDoneLegit, called “6 Metal Gear Solid Reads That Will Change How You See The World“. Chris Hatala describes the articles, sites and books that had an impact on him. It’s great to see somebody really digging into the intellectual side of the series, as Kojima intended.

I noticed he said he’d like to know more about my upcoming Metal Gear book, and honestly I am so closed to finished that I’m planning to make an update video pretty soon. It may seem like it’s taking a long time, but considering I work full time and the book involves fact-checking and digging up old material, I think I’m making pretty decent progress. How soon is “soon”? Who knows, I don’t have a very open schedule!