Creator Hideo Kojima is likely to no longer be involved with the Metal Gear Solid series, and publishers
Konami are doing their best to undercut the cult game director for September’s release of the game’s
fifth major instalment. But behind the controversy, there’s been an expected hype surrounding The
Phantom Pain, which could easily turn out to be the most refined gaming experience seen in a Metal
Gear Solid game.
The extensive sandbox testing platform disguised as a retail release (known to most of us as “Metal Gear
Solid V Ground Zeroes), without doubt contributed greatly to the game design of The Phantom Pain,
allowing the team to take creative calls on what works in Snake’s first open world outing and what does
TPP will allow players complete freedom to approach missions—while previous games have allowed
this, the kind of freedom on offer here is unprecedented. Fans of the series have already found
sufficient replay value in older avatars by utilizing different approaches, but once again, as Ground
Zeroes demonstrated, a mission can both be beaten in 14 minutes and played for hours upon hours, not
because of artificial difficulty or repeated deaths, but sheer exploration.
The Fox Engine looks as good as ever, and not just on consoles. The PC version of Ground Zeroes looked
shockingly good, and if you’ve played a Kojima Productions game, you’ll know what they’re capable of
delivering in terms of cinematics, character design and half-cheesy, not-quite-lost-in-translation writing.
Interestingly, TPP’s multiplayer is something I’m really looking forward to. It’s been developed by
Konami Los Angeles, who have been entrusted with the difficult task of crafting a shooter experience
worthy of the Metal Gear Solid name. Perhaps Metal Gear Online was a harsh lesson for everyone—a
fresher, possibly North American perspective and interpretation of what an MGS shooter should play
like will elevate the game’s social experience.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain comes out on September 1st, 2015 on PS4 and Xbox One, and
September 15th on PC.