This past week at the Game Developers Conference, Hideo Kojima, father/deoxyribonucleic acid/Krishna of the Metal Gear (Solid) franchise, admitted to the worst kept (probably intentionally…so shifty, the Kojima!) secret in video games for those of us who have been paying attention-- The Phantom Pain, first announced at the VGAs (the classiest of all venues in which to announce AAA video games), is in fact Metal Gear Solid V, follow-up to 2010’s excellent sneak-on-the-go-a-thon (Not) Metal Gear Solid (5): Peace Walker.
(That was one sentence…By the by, how do you guys feel about parenthetical references? I’m for ‘em.)
This follows up the PAX Prime news from way-back 2012 that there would be a NEW Metal Gear Solid game entitled Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. As it turns out, these two games-cum-pretentious-double-album comprise Metal Gear Solid V…Ground Zeroes acts as the prologue, then the Phantom Pain picks up the story proper after the events of GZ.
So, for all of you that haven’t been paying attention to Metal Gear Solid for the past 15 years (shame on you!), let’s get you caught up:
“SOME SHIT WENT DOWN!”
“Shut up, beardo.”
No, seriously, it’s too complicated. There’s viruses and finger guns and ocelots and Russians and GIANT FUCKING FIGHTING ROBOTS WITH NUCLEAR MISSILES STRAPPED TO THEIR FACES and cardboard boxes and annoying girlfriends and eye patches and clones and ruses and sniper fights with really old dudes and Johnny Sasaki and cyborg ninja and mullets and video game character O-faces and improper inflection and waxing pretentious and more waxing pretentious and MORE GIANT FIGHTING ROBOTS.
Got it? It’s EVEN COOLER THAN THAT SOUNDS. For serious.
Shall I also point out that Messr. Kojima is a master of the ruse. In fact, the whole of Metal Gear Solid 2:
Fast forward to today-year, and we have The Phantom Pain, first introduced at the VGAs as a new IP from Swedish developer “Moby Dick Studios” and their lead designer Joakim Mogren (If you don’t like anagrams, then that’s too bad. Also, Kojima was said to be working on something called Project OGRE at the time, which is Mogren without the M and N). Curiously, the words Metal Gear Solid V fit into the overtly shown negative space in the Phantom Pain logo.
Enough with the history lesson, though; TRAILERS WERE SHOWN!! Let’s ignore all lessons learned from the Metal Gear series and GET HYPE! Follow along with the bouncing time stamps, kids!
0:05 – Oh, so Konami’s developing? NOT Moby Dick Studios? Shock. PLAY MORE VIDEO!
0:10 – In the foreground is a rather fucked up Naked Snake/John/Big Boss (read: not Solid Snake. It’s this other guy. But he’s still called Snake. Didn’t you read the part where I said it’s complicated?). In the back we have Kazuhira/McDonnell Miller (no, even the names are not straightforward in the series). You can tell by the pimp glasses.
0:18 – This tune that begins to play now is called “Not Your Kind of People” and it’s by Garbage. Did you know Garbage was still a band? I sure didn’t! Also, cute cut from the FOX Unit logo to the Kojima Productions logo.
0:27 – This game uses Kojima Productions proprietary FOX Engine. They swear that you can’t tell the difference between an office conference room in real life and one rendered in the FOX Engine. Da Vinci: eat your heart out.
0:57 – Uh oh! Snake appears to be in a bad way. In fact, he caught a bad case of the coma. Calculon thinks this is the best coma acting he’s ever seen.
1:01 – Kaz says “What about him?” Who am “I”, besides silent camera man imported from the Office?
1:34 – So besides getting a James Bond-esque Q-boner about what the device was that erased the logo from the side of the helicopter, it’s worthy of note that Snake appears to be fighting an outfit called “XOF” in this installment. Once again, if anagrams aren’t your thing, perhaps you should consider another game.
1:44 – This high-SPF-requiring fellow first shown in the Ground Zeroes trailer appears to be our primary antagonist so far. Speculation as to who he might be, mostly due to his burninated countenance: the leading candidates so far appear to be The Fury and Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3 fame. More likely he’s a new character.
2:02 – So here’s a problem. What is being shown here having the everlasting fuck blown out of it is Mother Base—the offshore base of operations of your Militaires Sans Frontieres from Peace Walker that you spent 96 hours collecting computer boards and strapping unsuspecting-ass-motherfuckers to Fulton surface-to-air recovery balloons to build up. Awesome. So glad I did that.
2:15 – Like Buster Bluth, Snake has evidently lost his hand to a seal with a bowtie. “I’M A MONSTER!”
2:18 – Oooh! Oooh! Gameplay! As Snake tries to crawl along the ground (his muscles are atrophied…he’s been in a coma, y’see) he grabs a hold of a surgical cart in all the wrong places and it squirms away from him and loses balance, toppling itself and poor physical-therapy-needing Snake to the ground. Sweet physics.
2:22 – Mmm. Man ass.
2:32 – STOP, DROP AND ROLL! Keep an eye out of this en fuego sort of deal. It appears to be a theme in the trailer. To what end? I’m not sure.
2:42 – An important thing to note about Kojima is that he runs his cutscenes in real time off of the engine. So all these pills and papers and shit you see flying around (not to mention the lighting) is likely a function of the physics of a helicopter falling out of the sky with its window breaking and causing an air pressure difference acting on separate objects in the environment. Sick.
3:01 – Psycho Mantis mask! What does it mean? Also, looks like a chick. Very progressive.
3:04 – The white horse is a symbol of the Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3. Atop the horse is our recurring frienemy Ocelot (look at ‘dem spurs!), who all of a sudden looks a lot older than Snake who is ideally supposed to be older than Ocelot. Dude looks straight up ready to be in Metal Gear Solid 1. While the series has been somewhat lax with this sort of continuity in the past, don’t count against this being a major eyebrow raiser in the game.
3:12 – HOLY SHIT! WATCH OUT FOR THAT FLAMING WHALE FALLING OUT THE SKY!(?) Gotta love the Japanese. Also, it’s worth pointing out that this game appears to have a bit of a Moby Dick motif going on. Besides the bogus development studio, a character early in the game asks you to call him Ishmael.
3:19 – Flaming pegicorn. Like you do.
3:58 – British flag. Could give an indication as to where the game takes place. Could also be a military field hospital somewhere.
4:59 – Nine years in a coma! There you go.
5:08 – There’s that logo.
5:26 – Snake’s got a new hand to go along with that awesome jacket. The hand looks a lot like Galvez’s from Peace Walker. Also, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the 80’s Kurt Russell inspiration for Snake’s character look quite so overt. And Snake’s apparently in something called Diamond Dogs now. So yeah.
5:42 – “V has come to.” No idea here. V possibly refers to Metal Gear Solid V, which is also noteworthy since the series has always previously used Arabic numerals to iterate. “Coming to” as far as I can tell could only refer to awakening out of a coma.
5:44 – Note the Xbox 360 and PS3 markers at the bottom. Many thought this would be a next gen release. Not so! Rather impressive, no? It should be noted that all footage currently seen of the game has been running on high-end PCs, according to the prophesy. It’s not a stretch to think it might end up there eventually as well.
My only speculation: The big twist (Kaz asking about a third person in the operation room, age discrepancy between Snake and Ocelot, “Two Phantoms Are Born”) is that this is the story of Liquid, Solid and Solidus being born/cloned, or at least being introduced to Big Boss (remember, according to MGS4, they age much more quickly than normal human beings, so they may not be children at this time). Assuming Ground Zeroes takes place right after Peace Walker (1974), The Phantom Pain puts us in Return of the Jedi country in ’83. The Les Enfants Terribles (read: cloning more Snakes) program supposedly took place in 1972, which forced Snake to leave FOX and form MSF. What is Snake doing rocking a FOX patch again?
Worthy of note is that David Hayter, who you may know as the screenwriter for X-2 and Watchmen, but you should really know as the voice of Snake, is reportedly not involved at all in the project. Doesn’t pass the smell test for me. In conjunction with my theory, I think they’re changing Big Boss’s voice so it can be differentiated from Solid Snake’s (or Liquid or whoever…most likely Solid, though). I would be shocked if they completely cut out the most popular voice/character combination in video games.
So there you have it. If I don’t have too much work to do, I might hop back on and do a breakdown of the gameplay video shown. And if you kids really behave yourselves, I’ll go back and break down the Ground Zeroes footage from 2012.