TGS and the craziness (MGSV + Silent Hills)

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!)

 

Silent Hills

 

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.

KojiPro not stealing any spotlights at this TGS

Raiden wears a new hat

There was a time when any news surrounding Hideo Kojima and his production company would stir up excitement and flood gaming communities with speculation, but this year they’ve taken been pushed to the back thanks to lukewarm announcements about HD ports, a non-butchered aspect ratio, and the fact that Rising hasn’t been cancelled yet.

This is an incredible year for gaming, with major franchise titles dropping left and right — Portal 2, Witcher 2, Deus Ex 3, Battlefield 3, Elder Scrolls V to name a few — with the PS Vita offering something exciting on the hardware side of things.  A ton of interesting digital download content has been popping up (Magicka and Skullgirls come to mind, although I know there’s a lot more I haven’t gotten around to).  Established games like Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft continue to evolve and update, proving how effective patching and updating can be in a community.  So what is Kojima Productions doing to keep pace?

Kojima Productions can’t afford to be shuffled to the back, but it seems that they’re not worried.  Maybe they can afford to sit on their laurels and capitalize on old nostalgia for a few years, but considering how aggressive the market has become, I just don’t feel like they’re doing anything special.  “Transfarring” seemed to be a great idea before people heard about “Continuous Play”, but now it seems to be irrelevant.

The new FOX Engine could turn out to be a smash-hit, but Ugly Face Man (my own pet name for the poor guy) doesn’t look any better than current-generation models being shown off elsewhere.  Personally I trust that Kojima will have something great up his sleeve with the “taboo game” he’s hinted at for ages.  My hope is that he’ll make a triumphant return in good time.

Until then, we’ll have a ton of other great games to keep us occupied, I suppose.