Without nationalism, war loses its mask. Without patriots, war loses its most reliable tools. If we accept that Metal Gear is “anti-war”, do we accept that it’s also anti-patriotism?
It doesn’t really get any better than this. Kojima has given us lots of new information and video, including the African jungle location, an AI buddy system, a pet wolf, and the return of the most iconic outfit in the Metal Gear series. It’s glorious.
We learned that Quiet has ridiculous abilities, including the ability to turn invisible, move at supersonic speeds, and perhaps phase out of existence altogether judging by the way she simply shed those handcuffs back at Mother Base. Whatever her powers, the most shocking revelation of all was that depending on how you play, you might not meet her at all! What kind of game is The Phantom Pain going to be, if the main female character is optional content?
Nothing could surpass the introduction of a new character, however, in the form of “D.D.” — an adopted wolf-dog who eventually grows into a badass companion for war.
The gameplay itself is what fascinated me, however. Big Boss can equip different prosthetic arms, which allow him to electroshock enemies, smash the ground for wide-radius sonar tracking of creatures, and the ability to climb cracks in walls. He rides into the jungle on a helicopter, and apparently can jump out whenever he wants, which is dangerously close to my fantasy of being able to parachute down to locations as Big Boss freely.
The buddy system is designed to give players a strong incentive to maintain relationships with his comrades (in order to unlock better powers), find new characters to befriend, and basically not become a brooding lone psychopath in the middle of nowhere. The fact that these are optional means that players will have to be vigilant, and get even more attached to characters whose fates are extremely unknown (ie. they don’t appear in future titles!)
We also got a new Silent Hills concept video, which is disturbing. Apparently its what Kojima and Del Toro discussed for the direction of the game, and it was made by just a small handful of artists at Konami using the Fox Engine. There’s been a lot of positive reaction to it, but I’ve also noticed some complaints that it’s not very moody or eerie, but more of a parade of insanity. It’s kind of interesting how big of a difference there is between a playable experience like P.T. and simply watching a video of something scary. When you’re playing, turning a corner is a terrifying risk. You almost don’t want to proceed, because you don’t know if you can handle what’s there. It’s stressful. A video like this simply can’t deliver that gruesome tension, where you control the pace.
It’s good to see that they are running with the series’ themes of sexualized horror, mingled with childlike innocence, and dark filth.
Is Metal Gear Solid V secretly Hideo Kojima’s attempt to break away from the Metal Gear series? With so many major changes to the formula, Paolo Padayhag believes it might be the case.
You’re welcome Kojima, I’m glad you pay attention!
The idea of releasing a demo/preview/promotional game which contains a big surprise reveal trailer after you beat it, is literally the exact strategy I suggested in my Ground Zeroes commentary back in March of this year:
A better strategy (and perhaps one KONAMI would never have indulged) might have been to keep The Phantom Pain a complete surprise until after you beat Ground Zeroes, at which point it unlocks a trailer that you can watch.
Judging by the delightful surprise that has spread across the internet, I feel pretty damn validated in my argument! Because I also said this:
Forget the “Moby Dick Studios” bluff and the “Joakim Mogren” nonsense, and just let Metal Gear Solid V be an awesome surprise at the end of the seemingly straightforward extra epilogue mission to Peace Walker, designed for consoles and to show off the Fox Engine. Hell, sell the thing for $10 so people can be blown away by how generous and appreciative Kojima Productions is. Goodwill goes a long way. Make sure every gamer worth his salt feels obligated to check out this amazing little game, with its amazing surprise ending, and its amazing new gameplay direction. Get people on board, cast a wide net, and make your money with love from the community, not gouging those who try to support you most.
Could this “P.T.” game be any more similar to what I suggested? If they had hyped up “Silent Hills” for a year ahead of time, and then released this “important story chapter” at retail for $20 with all sorts of little “extras” to drag out the playtime (like they did with Ground Zeroes,) nobody would be delighted about the game, because we’d be obsessing over crap like whether it’s a good value. Instead, they took my advice and released an understated and generous little demonstration of what they can do, and included the big surprise trailer at the end. “Brilliant”, as the British Twitch girl said.
If only they had done this with Ground Zeroes, people would be much less confused, much more intrigued by it, much more appreciative of their marketing, and nobody would be complaining about it being a “2 hour game”, or costing too much! Bah…
This morning The Guardian has posted an interview with Kojima, in which he discusses the themes of MGSV in some new ways. Some of it is cool, and some of it makes me disappointed.
“I develop the design and construction of the environments and I set the theme and topic from the game and work to ensure that it fits with the game systems. That all has to come from me as the vision holder.”
I didn’t realize Kojima was designing levels still. Actually, I thought he specifically said that they allowed the artists to create things according to realistic photographs and maps, and then adjusted it and designed things accordingly.
“I love movies but if I was to create a film I’d use different methods,” he says. “I make games. That’s what I do. So I think about ways that I can use the game systems to reinforce my story, or do things that simply aren’t possible in other media.”
So the story isn’t designed to serve the game systems, but the other way around. This is important if you want to analyze the gameplay or the story, because they should reinforce each other, right? (Ahem…)
“The player is able to flesh out the detail and background of the game by discovering and listening to cassette tapes,” he says. “It’s a different way to develop story but one that is arguably, more impactful: the player puts it all together in their mind.”
Damn it. I don’t like collecting cassette tapes, Kojima. It’s one of the worst aspects of Ground Zeroes, even though I love what Peace Walker did with its Briefing tapes. You shouldn’t have to collect the story in bits and pieces. Let me guess, you’ll find a snippet of a private conversation between Dr. Emmerich and Dr. Strangelove before the Ground Zeroes mission sitting in a pile of horse shit in a back alley in Afghanistan? And the other tape will be miles away during a different mission, in the back pocket of a POW. What’s the point? Is this how we’re going to end up with 400+ hours of “gameplay” and a massive online hunt for data?
Honestly, it’s clever of Kojima to force us to discover the story, since games like Dark Souls have proven that people actually try to understand things when you don’t spoon feed it to them (and thus become “preachy”). But cassette tapes still feels like an uncreative and sloppy way of handling it.
I suggest you read the full interview.
Was not expecting this.
Look at the special page on the Konami website featuring famous people kissing Kojima’s ass because somebody showed them the first serious story videogame trailer they’ve ever seen, and asked them what they’d like to publicly state about it.
Among the quotes is the director of the movie Drive, who thinks the Kojima is possessed by a 19th Century Russian writer, a 16th Century Italian painter, and American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick rolled into one. Yes, truly, this one trailer is proof enough that Kojima is on par with revolutionary creators whose grand creations have stood the test of decades and centuries. He goes on to call the trailer “A daring and bold move from one of the founders of the future of technology,” which I’m assuming refers to… videogames? I guess he doesn’t realize violence is the opposite of daring when you’re talking about game trailers, but oh well.
One of my favorite filmmakers, Park Chan-wook, has a more reasonable and intellectually honest comment, stating that Kojima “…has actually been making films in his own way already. Metal Gear Solid games are already films, the films of the future.” Which is a really nice compliment, I think.
Then again, this is literally just a trailer they’re talking about. Isn’t this crazy? Captain Ahab really wants to hunt down that white whale.