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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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  • At last MGS makes it to the hands of Xbox. Then it gets dumbed down. Coincidence?
  • Sounds like rumors and speculation.

  • Not being a fan of games like Red Dead or GTA or ANY of these changes in general, I think I am going to skip this iteration of MGS. In fact, if this is what the series as "evolved" into, I'm done. That's fine though, I was happy with MGS4 being the end. It explained everything (albeit too well) and even continuing the series now seems... odd. It's been fun MGS, but clearly you are starting to get insecure with how "video gamey" you are. Next they'll be aiming for the CoD audience and all that jazz. It's better we part ways now while still on good terms.
  • i like all of the changes, IF they are changes. things like the HUD missing could just be due to the quality they wanted for the Grand Opening presentation. as a huge fan of the series, i'd advise others like myself not to get their panties into a bunch if they dislike any of the mentioned changes. the game still has what is likely a year to release, and kojima always delivers surprises.
  • The long cut scenes were great for me.  I got to make some dinner , take a bathroom break. do some cleaning and still had time to watch another 10 mins of the scene. But I am sure the storyline will be as confusing and over the top as ever.

  • I think both like and dislike all of these changes.  Can't wait to play this game, but every time I hear about a new change, I worry that it won't feel like a MGS game.  Here's hoping I'm wrong and this is the best entry yet in the series!

  • I get that MGS4 had long cutscenes, which didn't bother me, but MGS2 had a ton of little ones that I found more annoying.

  • Who in the hell came into MGS4 not knowing that the series is built around long cutscenes?

  • I'm okay with all of this.  I trust Kojima to deliver a compelling experience.  I can't wait to get my hands on this game.  He's done radical things in the past and they've worked.  

  • I actually enjoyed the frequent cutscenes in MGS4; they added to the experience for me. A shame that there won't be that many cutscenes this time, but if the game is that good it won't matter then. Kojima must live up to the MGS name with this.

  • omg thank god less cut scenes!

  • I'm taking a guess here, but i think Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain is the MGS5 version of the MGS2 tanker and plant chapters, making it a full MGS5 game purchase. Also, i hope they don't take away MGS trademark of hiding in a box. :)

  • I have no problem whatsoever with any of these changes and the gameplay has looked excellent from what little we've seen. Really looking forward to this, on a side note I had no issues with all the cut scenes in MGS4.

  • Meh.

    I probably just won't use the slow down's actually kinda dumb for a stealth game. Didn't enjoy it in Splinter Cell probably won't in this.

  • Not sure how I feel about 1 and 5. I had no problem with the old Health system. I don't really like the blood on screen system of FPSs. I like to know exactly how much health I have left. And I loved all the long cutscenes personally. That gave it a real cinematic approach which I loved. I just hope they can still tell a great story without long cutscenes to explain things.

  • From what I'm seeing so far this games looks outstanding. I hope it delivers.

  • One of my favorite gaming memories is when you find the dude without pants in MGS2. I was all serious sneaking around then I saw that guy, man I lost it lol. That being said I'm pumped for this game, and I'm hoping these minor changes don't change the game so much that it doesn't feel like MGS.

  • I think these changes are fine but we'll have to wait till the game comes out to know for sure but knowing it's MGS, it'll be one hell of a game!

  • My most anticipated next gen game.  Can't wait to see the full game in action.

  • Never played a MGS.. But am really looking forward to this.