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!

Video Game Awards and Kojima

Hideo Kojima was legally prevented from attending the Video Game Awards yesterday.  During the ceremony MGSV won an award for Best Action/Adventure Game, and Keifer Sutherland went up to accept it on Kojima’s behalf.  (Sutherland noted that Metal Gear Solid fans are the most devoted of any he’s ever seen, saying that of all the things he’s done in the past, the only posters he seems to sign are for Snake in MGS.)

Here‘s what Keighley said about the situation afterward:

“Mr. Kojima had every intention of being with us tonight, but unfortunately he was informed by a lawyer representing Konami just recently that he would not be allowed to travel to tonight’s award ceremony to accept any awards.  He’s still under employment contract and it’s disappointing — it’s inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates.  Such an incredible game, is Metal Gear Solid 5, but that’s the situation we’re in.  Hideo is in Tokyo right now, watching the show, so I want you to know, Hideo, that we’re thinking of you, and we miss you.  We hope to see you at The Game Awards 2016.”

Clearly this is the most pathetic move yet by Konami.  It truly does seem like pure animosity toward Kojima, which begs the question of what exactly he did to piss them off so much.  The game has sold incredibly well, and obviously it won an award, so it is mind-boggling why things would continue to drag out in such an ugly fashion.

I can’t wait to find out what the hell is going on yet.

Also, Jade Raymond — who many speculate was drunk at the event — took a moment to spit on the decision to replace David Hayter in Metal Gear Solid V.  Here’s a video of that.  I don’t see this as a jab at Sutherland, just pent up disbelief that Hayter was rudely snubbed for the role.

The Ideology of Torture

Mr. Sylazhov returns with his latest guest article the day before the release of Metal Gear Solid V, to examine the extremely important matter of torture, in both the real world and the fictional one Kojima uses to show his views.

The methods, reasons, and history of torture are discussed, along with a personal story that drives home the reality of the barbaric practices used by military and spy agencies around the world.  This article was finished quite a while ago, but I’m publishing it on the eve of The Phantom Pain to emphasize the seriousness of its controversial subject matter.

Warning: Some graphic content follows.


The Ideology of Torture

A personal, political, and philosophical study of torture in the MGS series and the real world

I would like to dedicate the following piece to the victims of
the dictatorship in my country, and to all victims of
political repression from any side of the political spectrum.

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Kojima and the Soviet Union

The following guest article was written by a friend and author, Alexander Sylazhov, who you ought to remember fondly from his Big Boss as Che Guevara article; I titled that article in order to highlight one of my favorite aspects of it, but it certainly went well beyond that.  I’m deeply honored to be able to present his new article, which is the kind of analysis I would love to be able to do myself.  With the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain less than a month away, this in-depth exploration of ideology, politics, and pop culture in the Metal Gear series is a fascinating must-read from a talented writer from a different side of the world.

Expect to see more from him soon, and please check out his science fiction novel series if you want to see more from him and support his work.


 

Kojima and the Soviet Union

An analysis of the political overtones of the MGS series and Hideo Kojima’s ideology

Flag-Pins-Japan-USSR

 

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