Down a little ways is the trailer for Metal Gear Survive, the latest game in the Metal Gear franchise made by Konami and, until recently, Hideo Kojima. By now you’re familiar with the story: Kojima’s tendency to drag out the development of his games caused a rift with Konami’s Evilcorp-style business strategies and he was essentially fired. It’s a classic “creative vs. big business” tale. Now to his fans’ delight, Kojima can make virtually whatever he wants and Konami can focus on their cash grab-style affairs. Of course we all knew that meant they weren’t going to let a popular revenue stream like Metal Gear sit idly. It wasn’t much of a secret that Konami would be making more Metal Gear stuff. An MGS3 pachinko machine was already in the works, so clearly a game of some kind would follow. All this to the dismay of die-hard Kojima fans who feel the series belongs to him, being the actual creator and all.
Let’s get two things out of the way first: I like Metal Gear on the whole. Also, I think any Kojima game that’s still in the general gaming zeitgeist is a hit and miss affair. For me, flashes of creativity and unique vision alternating with nonsense and questionable production decisions does not equal genius. I’ve always maintained that Metal Gear’s characters were, in and of themselves, much more vibrant and interesting than almost anything that’s ever been done with them. Don’t get me wrong: I never minded the supernatural elements within the franchise and usually thought they were fun even with their very borderline logic for existing in the first place. Still, I always thought this cast of characters would’ve benefited from the pendulum swinging a little more towards military and political realism when it came to the story. In summary, I was eager to see what someone else could do with the franchise.
Well regardless of whether you agree with what I just said or if you think Kojima is a contemporary Shakespeare dipped in chocolate, Metal Gear Survive sure as hell isn’t giving you what you want from this series.
What we’re looking at in this trailer appears to be a game based around the no-name soldiers who were part of the defensive that was mounted on Mother Base at the end of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the pay-to-play demo–I mean prequel–to MGSV: The Phantom Pain. The base is destroyed and the soldiers are sucked into a wormhole that happens to be infested with countless…………copies of scrapped Silent Hill enemy designs? Zombies with snow cones where their heads used to be? I don’t know what these are frankly.
The rest of the video shows soldiers that could be from any game, book, TV show, or film stabbing these things with bayonets. When I say “these things” I specifically mean what’s in the picture above. I didn’t see any other enemy types. It’s just a trailer, but isn’t the trailer supposed to sell me? Anyways this wormhole world seems to be somewhat of a dark facsimile of where the soldiers just came from, given we can see fences with barbed wire and the collapsed husk of what was once Mother Base as well. Don’t ask me to explain that, Kojima or no. Bonus WTF points if the roaring sound at the end is somehow Sahelanthropus.
So in essence it seems we have a kind of Left 4 Dead clone set in the MGS universe with characters inspired by dollar store action figures. What part of that concept made sense to Konami? Why did they greenlight something like this instead of a proper MGS release? Their only issue with MGS games to this point has been that Kojima took too damn long and spent too much money making them. So you give the franchise to a decent development team and keep them on point as the project goes along. Boom. You have a new MGS game every 2-3 years that probably make more plot sense than the ones before them. Would the quality be the same? It’s impossible to say, but everything they’ve done with the Fox Engine to this point should act as an incredible foundation for any team charged with getting the franchise on course.
A game that essentially copies the gameplay of MGSV directly and delivers a story that’s wound relatively tight and serves to steer the plot in a reasonable direction would be a hit, and again: it can all be done in 2-3 years. The vast majority of games do. Certainly action/stealth games that last around 12 hours. I admit that the wacky panache that Kojima so often delivered would probably be missing, but what else would be? 10 minute cut scenes? 20, 30, 40 minute long cut scenes??? Goofy easter eggs? Time spent on boob-centric gags? Base-building that arguably doesn’t belong in the series (and is an obvious bi-product of a creator who has more ideas than sense)?
It’s true: Maybe MGS would be a lot more ordinary if tackled in the way I describe above. They’d still be MGS games though. Like I said, the characters drive this series. Put them in interesting situations and the story will thrive, regardless of whether or not there are vampires or cyborg ninjas or Russian officers who can control lightning for no reason. Even if you don’t agree with my opinion of the franchise I think most of us can agree that it at least has great potential to do more, and that a zombie co-op game sure as shit doesn’t do anything to take advantage of that.
Oh and by the way just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, Snake isn’t in the fucking game.
Yes Kiefer. I had the same reaction. Or does the image below tell us something. Who knows, but at least there’s a little fun speculation to go with what feels like mostly gross disappointment.