Another interview with OJA, this time on MGS4

This was a fun discussion of Metal Gear Solid 4 and the legacy it has today. OJA and I agreed to do a podcast about MGS4 some time in the future, and the release of the “In Defense of MGS4” video I posted a link to recently sparked the timing to come back and have a chat. A lot of things about MGS4 have been forgotten since the game was released, and I wanted to remind people about what made the game’s release complicated.

It’s a pretty casual conversation, we didn’t do a bunch of research or preparation before getting into the talk. Check it out:

Defense of MGS4 video

Here’s a new video defending MGS4 as a wonderfully caring sequel that’s full of love, not a jaded attack on nostalgia. The argument revolves around the production values, detail, and care put into the game itself, and accepts the harsh world and themes as being some kind of natural, logical “price to pay” for fans demanding more sequels in a series that should have ended.

Check it out and see if you agree with his point of view.

 

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.

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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The hidden meaning behind the “Bomb Shelter Buffet” (MGS4)

Our friend Threedogg has written some interesting thoughts on one of the “commercials” from MGS4.  By deconstructing what is said in the cooking show and paying attention to the details, we find that it shows a high level of self-awareness and self-commentary, once again pointing to how ironically MGS4 was produced.  I’ve added my own thoughts too.

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“MGS4: Sold Out” Part 13: Meryl’s Not Interested

Sold Out 12

(Click here to start reading!)

After an extremely long hiatus, I present the 13th installment of MGS4: Sold Out!  This one deals with the changed dynamic between Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh.

UPDATE:  This is actually the 13th installment!  I forgot to update the classic site’s index page and totally forgot about Part 12: Resistance Gamer Kids!!

MGSV: Tablets, user-generated content, episodic, multiplayer, and more! (updated)

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is going to do everything, according to this interview Hideo Kojima did with computerandvideogames.com.

  • Players will be able to create new missions for each other using tablets
  • A “vast” multiplayer mode is being developed in L.A. Kojima Productions
  • The game will be released explored episodically, with all of the missions in the game divided into “episodes” that can be explored at your leisure
  • Ground Zeroes (which will very likely be released on its own) will not feature a day/night cycle or weather patterns because it’s suppoed to help old players adjust to an open world Metal Gear
  • The engine is being designed to handle everything, because it’s going to be used for all sorts of Konami brands
  • The game will be released episodically, “like a TV show” (source) which means David Hayter could come back to voice Young Solid Snake down the road.  Or hell, it could mean a million things.

Update: The following picture-painting was under the impression that The Phantom Pain would be released episodically, which it won’t apparently.  The game is simply episodic in how you explore the different missions it offers.

This might be hard to wrap your head around, so let me paint a picture for you.

Afghanistan is huge, and the trailer only shows a relatively small part of the whole area.  Within the area there are a series of clues, “side quests”, and objectives that further the story but also just provide interesting benefits, but initially your goal is to rescue Kaz and escape with him on your back.  You get back to Mother Base (or its equivalent) and plan your next move.  You’re free to go back to Afghanistan and do other things, like kidnap people, steal technology and weapons, destroy enemy outposts, and so on.

Several areas are available with the initial release, including Cuba, and each of them can be revisited for strategic purposes, much like Peace Walker.  There may even be a tug-of-war style fight for territorial control.

Meanwhile, “Those Who Don’t Exist” are hunting Big Boss across the world, phantoms in his own mind, who essentially serve as boss fights in situations where there shouldn’t logically be any.  From a game design point of view it’s a perfect excuse to add new random challenges and extreme situations (flaming unicorn chase) anywhere.

One thing I bet we can count on is travelling the world to recruit new members, such as Emmerich, Quiet, Eli, and Code Talker.  Each of them is probably going to be on a different continent, and have their own aspect of the game to contribute.

Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds like a dream come true.  How the hell will this all work on the current platforms?  I don’t know.  Will multiplayer ever be cooperative?  Will tablets factor into that?  Could be.  We know that Ground Zeroes itself will be solo, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be added later to the main game, now that we know MGSV itself is going to have an online mode.

If Kojima can pull off even half of this stuff, it will be a truly monumental sequel.