Sweet Jesus. There’s a new Metal Gear Solid game coming out. Who could’ve seen this coming?
Everyone, we’re guessing, since it’s one of the world’s most popular gaming series. Oh, and the last game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, was also one of the most expensive ever made: estimated to be $80million for the development of the game alone.
And like all good big budget productions, you could see that money on the screen; you could feel it in the gameplay. Problem is, it’s reckoned that to break even the game needed to shift about 6 million copies (which it didn’t, at last count).
That cost also led, some say, to Konami sacking the game’s creator, creative genius and professional glasses-wearer Hideo Kojima. Boom. Cue internet uproar. And rightly so. Sort of – Konami’s running a business, so it’s more about how they did it, than the reasons behind it. That non-denial of Hideo’s departure was, well, plain peculiar.
Now, a year on, Konami has revealed the next Metal Gear game – a 4-player co-op survival game with Metal Gear mechanics. Cue more uproar. And rightly so. Sort of… Hang on, didn’t we just do this bit?
There are two main reasons not to worry about this new game – a game no-one asked for, and no-one wanted.
For one thing, it’ll never be considered a true MGS game, no matter how good it is. The same goes for all those sort of games: consider Halo Wars – however excellent a strategy game that is, it isn’t ever mentioned in the same breath as absolutely any of the FPS Halo games – even the newer ones that weren’t quite as good. Same brand, same universe, but a whole other world that appeals to whole other gamers.
And let’s be honest, Metal Gear Survive is just another zombie game with the Metal Gear title slapped on it the way Americans slap the word champagne on any old white wine. It’s not even really connected to the existing universe but, as Konami put it, the game ‘picks up from the ending of Metal Gear Solid 5, to an alternate timeline caused by unexplained wormholes forming in the sky.’
But the real reason why there’s no point twisting knickers over the game is that even the god-like Kojima himself wanted to off-load the MGS series onto his team rather than do the heavy lifting anyway.
In the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance documentary, our man said…
I had several ideas for a game featuring The Boss and the Cobra Unit during the invasion of Normandy. I then handed these plans over to the team so they could take over and make the game. I presented my ideas to the team during the summer of 2008. However, simply dropping MGS5 on the younger staff members was a bit heavy and there was resistance to doing it without my involvement. At the time, I was working on a new project. It was during the planning phase of that project and I wanted the staff to take charge of the new title.
Obviously the ideal-world scenario would be a true MGS game headed up by Kojima. But that’s not going to happen (he’s too busy fiddling around with a naked Norman Reedus, for one thing). If this thing fails, thanks to a savage backlash from fans, or just purely terrible gameplay, then it won’t kill the series, but put it back on the path it should’ve stayed on; if it’s the best game in the MGS catalogue, then it’ll set the series up for a new angle, the way Resident Evil 4 reinvigorated that bloated, festering corpse of a franchise. Unlikely, perhaps, but not entirely unthinkable.
And if gaming’s visionary overlord trusts another team to take control of the series, then so should we. It might definitely will lack his pizazz and trademark weirdness, but screw it, not like we actually have to play the damn thing anyway.