At this week’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Konami unveiled the trailer for a new Metal Gear game, titled Metal Gear Survive. While a new Metal Gear game was not a surprise, perhaps receiving a trailer so soon after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (released in September 2015) and the subsequent public relations disaster that was Hideo Kojima’s (creator of Metal Gear) exit from the company made it so. This is made more puzzling considering the very public withdrawal from AAA games that Konami made following the release of MGSV:TPP in favor of more profitable and cheap-to-make pachinko/mobile fare.
The new Metal Gear game trailer has caused fervent discussion for a few reasons.
First, for a game series so thoroughly attached to its creator, Hideo Kojima is not involved with the game in any capacity, which, again, is not surprising considering his focus on a fledgling company and new IP as well as his fairly acrimonious relationship with his former employer of three decades. Second, its apparent focus on multiplayer action arguably stands in contradiction to what Metal Gear is about: stealth and tactics. Third, the dimension-hopping, zombie-filled world seems more like an amalgam of horror Resident Evil and Silent Hill games rather than a heightened reality, Tom Clancyesque, military Metal Gear game.
Lastly, it’s surprising that Konami is interested in creating a mainstream console-based video game at all, especially one in a series with a strong reputation in the industry and among players. Since 2015, Konami has only released licensed soccer video games––Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 and 2017––to the major markets (Playstation 4, XBox One, and PC) aside from releasing MGSV:TPP across all platforms in 2015. This was taken as a signal that Konami does not prioritize the console and home computing market. So, the sudden push of a new Metal Gear game does seem a bit strange. When you consider that alongside the rather non-Metal Gear theme, it draws even more questions as to whether this is actually a Metal Gear game that fits into the canonical story or simply a new IP tagged with a grandfather franchise in a lazy effort to guarantee sales (re: Metroid Prime: Federation Force).
Many sources have erroneously reported that this is the first Metal Gear game developed without Kojima’s involvement. While there have been plenty of Metal Gear games produced and developed by Kojima in varying degrees (Metal Gear AC!D, Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance), early in the series’ life, a few Metal Gear games completely skipped the creator’s grace due to different console ports and local demands. Most notoriously, Snake’s Revenge was a side-scrolling sequel to the original Metal Gear developed solely for the North American NES market and none of the original Metal Gear team was involved in any way.
Furthermore, the original Metal Gear was released for Microsoft’s MSX2 platform in Japan. The success of the game, as well as the parallel success of the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System, prompted Konami to produce a port for Nintendo without Kojima’s involvement at all. The Famicom/NES version is infamous for being a Metal Gear game without a Metal Gear in it (unlike the original MSX version) due to technological constraints,and is a version that Kojima has wholly disowned.
All together, the entire project is punctuated by a question mark at the moment. It is likely a lot of discussion will be had about the game up to and through its release, but seeing how the most ardent Metal Gear fans prioritize story, characters, and stealth gameplay over any multiplayer offering the series has brought to this point, combined with the history of Konami acting directly in contradiction to the series’ creator’s vision for the series, the largest question being asked right now is how well does Konami know its own flagship franchise?