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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Five Big Changes Coming For Metal Gear Solid V

As part of its grand opening for Kojima Productions’ Los Angeles studio, Konami staged a new live demo of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. The setting was the same prison camp that we’ve seen before, but the content highlighted some mechanics that depart from the series’ traditional formula.

We already knew about a few major adjustments coming for MGS V. For instance: It’s open-world, and Snake has a new voice actor. But the surprises don’t end there. In the demo (prepared especially for the grand opening), Snake’s mission is to find a badge bearing a black-and-red Kojima Productions logo. Along the way, Hideo Kojima explained several new features that will shape the MGS V experience and make it different from its predecessors.

[As a point of clarification: Kojima and Konami refer to both Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain as separate entities that comprise a single Metal Gear Solid V experience. However, neither will comment as to whether the two projects are included in one purchase.]

If you’re a Metal Gear fan, these are five things that won’t be how you remember them. Determining if these are good changes is impossible at this point, but remember: Things can’t evolve without changing.

1. No more health bar
When Snake started getting shot after his infiltration went sour, I noticed that he no longer has a life bar. Instead, Kojima Productions seems to be taking a cue from popular shooters, having the screen get tinted and bloody as Snake nears death. He can also apparently regenerate health automatically if he stays out of harm’s way long enough. If the life bar has changed, that means that the use of rations has changed as well — assuming they’re in the game at all).

2. Clean screen
The disappearance of the health bar also helps the interface appear much sleeker and less intrusive. Feeding into the cinematic presentation of an open world, you don’t constantly see equipped weapons or blinking mini-maps pinned to various corners of you screen. On one hand, having an unobstructed view of the action could make it easier to get immersed in the world’s activities. On the other hand, I might miss all of my relevant information just being a quick glance away.

3. Degrees of detection
Previous Metal Gear games played around with different degrees of detection, but in most cases, a guard either saw you or not. In MGS V, players are given clearer feedback as to how aware a guard may be. If you see a white flare on the screen, you know you’ve raised suspicion; you can run to safety and assess the situation. It’s essentially getting a warning as you approach danger. You can even see which direction you were spotted from, making it easier to plan an escape and/or attack. This should help avoid the “I accidentally stepped into a guards line of sight and now I have to reload my save” syndrome that sometimes strikes hardcore players.

4. A way out
Even if you find yourself staring a hostile soldier square in the eyes, all is not lost. When you are detected by an enemy, the action briefly slows to a crawl, giving you a chance to put your reflexes to the test. Not only is the slow-motion effect cool, but if you can take out your observant foe before it ends, you can prevent the full alarm from being raised. This probably won’t do you much good when spotted by a whole group of guards, but it could keep a few isolated mistakes from escalating into full-blow battlefields.

5. Fewer cutscenes
The live demo didn’t touch on new story points, so I didn’t get to see this philosophy in action. Even so, Kojima says that he and his team are working to ensure that gameplay takes priority in MGS V. The bad news? That means less story is delivered through the traditional Metal Gear style. The good news? You get to spend more time playing Metal Gear and less time watching it. The frequent cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid IV was a sore spot for many gamers, and the team seems to have taken that feedback to heart. However, the story is still an integral part of MGS V, even though it may not be doled out in such massive portions.

Keep your eye out for more MGS-related info in the coming weeks. The Tokyo Game Show happens later this month, and Kojima Productions teased that it might be showing Metal Gear V running on next-generation hardware. It already looks amazing on the current generation of consoles, so an even better-looking version is something fans will have to see to believe.

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  • I always loved the long cutscenes, but I guess a few less won't hurt anyone. I think I will be happy overall with the changes. I can't wait to see how this game plays.
  • Awesome.
  • I'm worried that the regenerating health and the slow-mo powers will greatly undermine the stealth aspect of the game. It seems pretty easy to rush in without a plan or awareness of enemies and still pull through undetected, or at least unscathed. Hopefully this is not the case.
  • Now i don't have to reset and get pissed that I got caught... Love this new formula they are instilling.... :)
  • I can't wait for the Tokyo Game Show.

  • *SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS* I've never played a Metal Gear game until last week when I got MGS 4. I beat it a few days ago, and after playing it I can see why so many people love the series. That being said, the new formula they're working with sounds more like every other stealth action game and less like a MGS game. Also, how is Snake alive? Didn't he and Big Boss die in the cemetery? Didn't Naomi say he only had 6 months to live? how does he look so young now when in MGS 4 he was like 70?
  • ! ...What's this article over here?! Oh, nothing suspicious. Carry on Joe.
  • Ya know, with any other game I'd be worried about these changes but with Kojima I'm not worried. The game will probably be a masterpiece like the others. In Kojima we trust. Hasn't failed us yet.
  • This will be amazing just like every other MGS.

  • I reeeeeally hope that the regenerating health thing is not true. Regenerating health always has made games much more casual and allowed them to focus much less on level design and item placement. Its fine for some games, but I really don't like the sound of it for MGS. Also, gameplay so far has been running on PC, not current gen, so I don't know what Joe is talking about when he says we haven't seen next gen yet.
  • I love the idea of fewer cutscenes in a Metal Gear. For the hell of it, I skipped every cutscene in MGS4 and just played the actual game; it ended up being like 4 hours long....
  • Hopefully someone sees this: The PC version was said to be "not a priority, but it MAY come." I would take out PC from the release list G.I., for now.
  • Mod
    Every bit of this sounds f-ing amazing to me, and I have faith that the changes implemented will feel great. I simply can't wait to play this game, and explore the world that Kojima and his people have created. MGS games are all about the details, and this one will be no different. Especially since this one will be open world.

    I can not wait.

    Also, it looks as good as it does on current gen, I can just imagine how good it's going to look on my PS4.
  • Sounds like they're shaking things up. And out of curiosity, I thought TPP was MGS V, so is this Ground Zeroes or is this Phantom Pain we're talking about?
  • I'll be getting this for both current gen and next gen! Yup call me crazy. :)
  • I'm not sure how I feel about the new health system...

  • Here's hoping that Ground Zeroes will be like the tanker mission from MGS2 and once that is completed you begin The Phantom Pain. Having to buy them separately wont sit well with me at all and I'm sure I wont be alone in thinking that.
  • The more I think about this game, the more anxious I get to play it. It's still very sad to see Metal Gear change from all the things that made it a great game. I hope they keep the "alert" sound. I f*cking love that sound. P.S. That's not the Kojima Production logo. That's the Fox Hound logo which just happens to be used as Kojima Production's logo, too.
  • "1. No more health bar"
    No, why, no. please Kojima don't do this.
    I hope there's an option to go classic
    Oh god why would you do this, it removes the tension.
    I can understand if it's super slow like before but this sounds like instant healing.
  • Haven't played a MGS game (first playtime with Snake was on Super Smash Bros. Brawl) so I doubt these changes will effect me much as it might long term fans. During the Phantom Pain extended trailer I didn't know what the hell was going on but all I know is I want to be a part of it. The MGS franchise has a new fan.
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