Kojima: E3 Trailer won’t be a blank screen

Kojima TwitterHere’s an exciting update from the master of social media marketing, Hideo Kojima:

“As got feedback from people played GZ that they wanna revenge in TPP, I’m adding hints of what happens to Snake & his team in E3 trailer.”

They wanna revenge, huh?  So you’re going to give them hints?  Clever guy!

Considering you released a $40 multiplatform prologue game that has a cliffhanger ending, I have to say it’s pretty brilliant to use the world’s biggest videogame presentation stage to make some follow up hints!  Much better than simply showing a blank screen for 8 minutes.

Once again we can see Kojima “reacting” to “feedback”, but this feels like a hollow marketing campaign to me, at least compared to past Metal Gear announcements which had genuine hype.  Sure, we always want to know more information about the next Metal Gear game, but shoehorning in this rhetoric about fans wanting “revenge” (HINT: That’s the theme of MGSV) is a little bit contrived.  Lying about being involved with The Phantom Pain, creating Moby Dick Studios, and releasing Ground Zeroes as a separate game have all generated more confusion and resentment than true hype.

This E3 trailer has a lot riding on it.  It needs to finally get the average gamer to understand what the hell is supposed to be happening, both in terms of the story and the product itself.  If it’s more chopped up cassette tape recordings, I’m going to roll my eyes so hard.

Only For Revenge: Kojima’s Secrecy And Obsession With Misunderstanding

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Only For Revenge

 As the strange tale of Kojima’s meta-narrative becomes more complex and epic, when can we expect to see him tip his hand and explain everything?  Why hasn’t he done this yet?  Why does he keep his genius secret?

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Ground Zeroes @ TGS 2013

Ground Zeroes was shown off at TGS this year, with a night and day demonstration.  Now we’re getting a much more clear idea of how the game will work, and even how its mission selection screen will look.

The amount of negative reaction is surprising to me, but I think it has a lot to do with the way Kojima has been showing us the game.  For some reason, Kojima must think we don’t understand the concept of an open-world MGS game, or he thinks the world will be stunned by the innovation happening, so he wants to play through scenarios and do commentary the whole time.  Unfortunately, this breaks the “story immersion” that makes Metal Gear games feel so damn intriguing, and thus it feels like just another stealth game.  Maybe that’s the real reason people are comparing it to Splinter Cell.

Confusion is another issue.  The Ground Zeroes demo is looking more and more like a standalone prologue that will be released independently from MGSV.  It’s frustrating that Kojima isn’t making it clear, and also doesn’t seem characteristic of his marketing style.  The gameplay is nice, but it would be a lot better if we knew we could pay $15 for it in two months, or $30 in five months, or something!  Maybe it’ll be free to play, who knows.

Anyway, equally interesting is the performance of Kiefer Sutherland, reading the same lines we saw in the original trailer.  I’ve always liked Kiefer Sutherland and I believe he should be an amazing fit for this role, but I don’t care for his performance here at all.  This is bad news.  I can only hope that its not indicative of what the rest of the game and The Phantom Pain will be like.  I have to wonder if Sutherland was uncomfortable with his working environment, and if the other “on-screen” actors will have similar issues: no doubt staring at a strange camera while wearing little dots on his face, self-conscious of his expression being captured and trying to match the timing demanded by the cutscenes, while delivering lines written as quick banter between old friends, but no doubt acting by himself.  Or maybe the doubters were right and he simply doesn’t care.  That would be a crying shame.

The gameplay itself looks very fast and responsive, with flexible options at every turn.  Diving to the dirt, swiveling, hopping, sprinting, climbing, it’s all very sharp and immediate.  Clearly this is not your slow, plodding, wait-for-animation-to-finish type of Metal Gear, which means that a skilled player should be able to deal with threats and get out of messy situations if they can prioritize and think on their feet.

The anti-air guns, armored personal vehicle, and rocket launchers all spoke to the need for this increased agility.  Big Boss is going to have to kick some serious ass in this game, as well as doing some serious running.  It makes me wonder about some things.  Like having a limited numbers of enemies in a base, and the option to kill all of them and run around freely.  The question of how different enemy groups in different parts of the world react to alarms, too.  Will the African rebels have a different strategy than the Russian mercenaries?  Variety is the spice of life.

Questions abound, and I’ll admit there’s a lot of key details missing, but I am optimistic.  No doubt the camp we’ve been shown is the most “basic” example of an enemy base in the game, with some of the most straightforward solutions for dealing with it too.  Who knows what kind of madness awaits in the full MGSV.  Let’s not forget who we’re dealing with here.

Official Review (MGS2: A Complete Breakdown)

PART I – PART II – PART III – PART IV – PART V – PART VI – PART VII

Part VII Review

Bottom Line: A legend in its own mind.

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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.

“This is Snake”: Kojima picks Kiefer Sutherland to replace David Hayter

kiefer

Kiefer Sutherland is the new voice of Big Boss.

This announcement comes from the pre-E3 Konami online press event which has just finished streaming a few hours ago.  Kojima said that the choice of Sutherland came from a friend of his, and it appears that Kiefer was happy to oblige.  This means David Hayter wasn’t lying about not being contacted by Konami (and negates the clever theory that it was “Moby Dick Studios” that contacted him instead) and that Kojima really is using Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as a fresh start for the franchise.

With the utmost respect to David Hayter, I love this.  I’ve always been a fan of Kiefer Sutherland from back in Young Guns, and there are a few things I expect to see different thanks to the new voice for Snake:

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Kojima promotes Revengeance with overblown rhetoric

Kojima TwitterKojima and his almost-translator have taken to Twitter to give us a four paragraph promotional outline of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which comes out two weeks from now.  To me it comes off as little more than typical Japanese marketing spin: unnecessary philosophical rhetoric and stretching the truth until you can pretend your product is somehow totally unique.

In the tweets he compliments Platinum Games for delivering such a good product on schedule, and claims that shooting games haven’t evolved in 30 years while using a sword is revolutionary.  According to Kojima, “lot’s [sic] of games with jumping, running, kicking, crunching [?], punching, and shooting” have been created, but “game with hiding did not come out easily”, which is why “game with free slashing wasn’t even exist.  This is invention.”  Yeah… right.  Anyway, he then slips into Metal Gear metaphor mode, saying that while his “sons” with his “genes” (ie. the Kojima Productions team) failed to deliver the game, the non-blood-related Platinum Games were able to inherit his “memes” and accomplish the goal.

For those who don’t know the significance of this whole MEME/GENE obsession, check out the Kojima VS MGS4 article and the MGS4: Sold Out series I did years ago.

Below is a compilation of the full twitlonger posts in chronological order.

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Kojima flatly denies any involvement with The Phantom Pain

Hideo Kojima has flat out denied having any involvement with The Phantom Pain, in an interview with “Youth Arabia”:

YA: Did you have anything to do with Phantom Pain , since the character bears a resemblance to Solid Snake? 

HK: (Laughs) Phantom Pain is being made by Moby Dick studios, I do not have any part in that game. I saw the resemblance there though.

The interview moves from subject to subject quickly, so there’s no followup to this point, unfortunately.  But it’s obvious Kojima isn’t just being cheeky here; at this point, he would have to be an out-and-out liar if it turns out he’s involved with the game.

As I said previously, I believe The Phantom Pain is the taboo “Devil Project” which Kojima said had the potential to end his career if people don’t respond well.  The Devil/Ogre Project has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning, although we know that it needs to involve visible demons, and that it’s not Ground Zeroes; manwhile, the trailer for The Phantom Pain includes the question “Am I in hell?”  Coincidence?  Lying directly to game journalists and fans could certainly backfire, and perhaps it’s is the career-jeopardizing move Kojima has now fully committed to.

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