The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
The other day, a fact was stressed to me to this day I'm shocked I haven't just accepted already: Project Ogre, the fast approaching Kojima Productions project, is almost certainly going to be Metal Gear Solid 5. As the idea hit me; a new Metal Gear may be a lot closer than I thought, this year's Tokyo Game Show will very likely end up being the unveiling place for Kojima's project, whatever it is. So I was left in a storm of contemplation: in continuing this epic series, what's to be expected? How can Kojima continue after Snake's end? And that's exactly what I set out to examine.
Who will be the Main Character?
The most important question, in my opinion. A lot, a lot of fans are going to be pulling for Solid Snake. I know, I was on that fence. An equally large number, however, will be pushing against it for one reason: after the drawn out tragedy of MGS4, it would frankly be an insult. To go through all that trouble to put an end to the character... in such a touching and depressing, yet perfect way. Well it would be a travesty in and of itself.
Now some would argue there are ways around upsetting that ending: prequels, remakes, even just using another clone. But personally, I have to say no. After much retrospect, the honest truth is reusing a Snake analog would just feel like a retread. They went to so much trouble to end the MGS series, in my opinion, they need to stick to that; and go with an original character. That isn't to say, however, Snake can't be a presence in some way, just not the star.
Then there's the second big one people will want, Raiden. Honestly, I thought ability wise Raiden was amazing in MGS4, but character wise, I ended up liking him even less then my initial impression. Raiden has absolutely no appeal to me as a character whatsoever. He's the polar opposite of Snake. Snake's an emotionally cool character with a taste for women and an appreciation for vices, but with a stoic and realist's edge, that I've always appreciated as a breath of fresh air in this video game landscape filled with depressing sods counter weighted against ninja turtles styled characters[not that I'm against it]. Raiden on the other hand was originally meant to be an everyman[the Japanese equivalent anyway], balancing girl troubles with 'saving the world', all the while being really effeminate so everybody found him acceptable there... in Japanland. I always find it depressing when people commend Kojima for his artistic integrity on MGS2, when in actuality, he was selling out.
The new Raiden, on the other hand, is to me, a simple emo. Plain and simple. Sure, they gave him ample motivation for such a disposition, but who cares? Do I really have to save the world with someone who needs to be under constant suicide watch? At least Grey Fox, whom he was modeled on, had the edge of being an absolute freak!
Even from an abilities perspective, he's all wrong. I know MGS4 took the series in a more combat centric path, but Raiden's abilities are so ridiculous... I mean honestly, that Platinum Games game is the only thing a good Raiden game would be, realistically. And since we do have that game, can't this one be different?
I don't know, maybe it's just me.
Anyways, in regards to other side characters taking the lead, I'm interested in The Boss, Liquid, or even Solidus' stories being played out but it's just, like I said, it's not what the series needs right now. MGS5 needs to be a spark that will start off another whole saga of Metal Gear craziness. And, that pretty much necessitates a new character.
But in regards to how that character should be; New guy has to have a personality that can rival Snake, that's the most important part. If it was anyone else, I would have no hope of this, truly great characters are more often than not flukes, but Kojima is the absolute master of creating compelling video game characters in this industry... when he wants to be.
It's weird, sometimes he'll crank out an Ocelot... a Naomi... pretty much anyone from the first MGS. Then he makes a Fortune, or a Vamp.... pretty much anyone from MGS2... and lately, his characters have been a mixed bag.
But on the other hand, when MGS2 was launched, the Raiden template was the *** basically. Link, Cloud, Tidus, pretty blond boy was the template of a blockbuster hero then[not that I'm putting those characters down, I'm a big fan of at least two]. Nowadays, John Marston, Niko, Ezio and Soap MacTavish are the face of blockbusters that absolutely trivialize those games in sales. Point is, Kojima may be given freedom. Oh I'm sure Konami will say 'make a dude like Ezio'... but they won't necessarily know what they're talking about now....
Dear Lord I hope they don't get Nolan North.
...Point is, if Kojima's terrible characters are the result of pressure to make a trendy product by Japan standards, it may not be an issue going into MGS5. However, that's assuming that emo characters and melodrama is not just Kojima's guilty pleasures... and they could be.
Anyways, I say the new character has to be a rookie, with a strong connection somewhere within the MGS universe. Honestly, though not my first choice, a Snake clone could work as long as he differentiated himself from the original in a meaningful way.
Personally, I've been noticing Kojima's love of a certain archetype in the MGS world. Agents of the Patriots- Drebin, Eva, Ocelot; extreme double agents with incomprehensible loyalties. What if the main character himself was an absolute mystery too? Picture it, at first the main seems like a gifted and charismatic amateur, saving the day by the skin of his teeth, but towards the end something happens that makes you question your own avatar's motivations. Seems like a good fit to me.
What's The Setting?
The very best Kojima settings have always been heavily influenced by conspiracy theories and theoretical science. For instance, the original MGS was inspired by cloning, nuclear war, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It also took into account rail gun technology which believably could have created a situation where nuclear use wouldn't be dissuaded by the threat of mutual destruction. Likewise, MGS3 used the Cuban Missile Crisis combined with a theory of a way to make ICBMs universally and economically deploy-able, which was frankly inspired, to the point I feel even Tom Clancey would take off his hat to it.
Taking all this into account however, as a fan I feel I come to an impasse. For the sake of rebooting the franchise, to me, a modern[future?] setting is paramount. At the same time, Kojima would have so much more material to use from going into the past.
For instance, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vietnam, most notably Kuwait which the series has eluded to several times already, Iraq [albeit, some event juggling would be in order to keep the continuity], all these areas present oceans of material for Kojima to twist into a mind boggling conspiracy adventure.
However, modern times are a little light on those special crazy happenstances right now[that and the fps genre is all over what little there is like white on rice]. And then there's always the threat that if Kojima follows reality to closely, censorship could loom it's ugly head. I still wonder what kind of title MGS2 would have been if not for it's heavy post 9/11 rewrites.
Honestly, I'm torn, but for the sake of this piece I'll pick something. If he is able to follow on the plot threads left behind in MGS4, namely the idea of a war machine which he might be able to draw connection to the many conflicts of Africa or something, maybe he could do something very powerful.
On the other hand, if he has to shoot backwards, I believe the Kuwait debacle would yield the best material, so much of the narrative is already tied there with Liquid, Big Boss, even Grey Fox could have his personality drawn out there. At the same time they could elaborate on the Genome Soldier program, Foxhound, and what have you.
As for what the global threat is, now that I leave to the master.
What's the Game Play Like?
One of the biggest wastes this generation I believe is the usage of MGS4's engine. For comparison; GTA4, it's two dlc chapters, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 were all built on the Rage engine [GTAV is also possibly built upon it]. Whereas I believe MGS4 was one and done, I believe Peace Walker and the HD collection were made with just a modded version of the ps2 games' engine. But now, Kojima has an entirely new engine [probably will end up being the last big engine for our console generation].
Truth be told MGS4's engine was just a rebuild of the PS2 games' engine as well, so it's tough to know exactly what to expect from this new game. Kojima is known for his production values, this new game could very well be one of the most sophisticated and expensive yet seen. At the very least we can expect it to reinvent the MGS franchise in terms of game play.
The major question ends up being what would Kojima want for MGS going back to the drawing board? For a while now, multiplayer has been a huge concern of his, and Metal Gear has at best maintained a lukewarm, to cult reception in this regard. It is possible the engine might be rebuilt around the idea of improving that functionality. Could that mean an engine simplified to highlight improved shooting mechanics? Kojima has also expressed a desire to turn MGS into an open world series, could the engine be constructed around concepts put forth by GTA? And then there's the action vs. stealth question. MGS4 cut the line between an action and a stealth title, but with cyborg Raiden, and the Geckos and nanomachine super soldiers being used as a standard enemy type, a more action centric engine may be inescapable. Add to that the Pokemon styled recruiting system from the psp games, the precedent set by controlling a Metal Gear, and an underground theory Kojima may connect ZOE to MGS in this way... yeah, the new engine could pretty much be anything at this rate.
Again though, I'll provide my own wish.
I want free roaming stealth. I'm not sure if it's possible on the scale it would need to be for a MGS free roamer, which would be large scale bases, skirmishes, patrols and camps all taking place realistically and in real time. Perhaps there are some shortcuts they could take, but my basic point is what exists now in the genre... is not good enough. I mean, this is going to have to be convincing, large scale AI activities. But seeing as the closest thing I've seen to this was what was happening in MGS4... I don't know, I'm optimistic.
But if they could have realistic military operations going around on a large map while you sneak and battle your way across... pausing every once in a while to infiltrate sophisticated bases of what the series is known for, that would be something really special in my opinion.
If during that time I got to pilot a metal gear, though, it wouldn't be the worst thing. Maybe some super human shooting and melee, sneaking skills would be awesome too... picture an rpg style upgrade system where you're continually mortally wounded during scripted sequences only to receive cybernetic enhancements... maybe. Too Deux Ex?
What it probably is?
Now that I got my high flying expectations out of the way, I wanted to take a more realistic guess as to what MGS5 is.
This is the only known media for project Ogre. If you notice, we have a desertish setting, a guy with a mullet, and a not so futuristic looking tank. Do I have to spell it out? Unless Kojima has made another mulleted hero screwing around in an almost present time debacle, this could very well be a 3d remake of the original Metal Gear. And that's my real bet for Project Ogre.
Thanks for reading everybody!