Alongside an impressive trailer, Konami played a demo of The Phantom Pain on the E3 floor to showcase some of the new mechanics of the upcoming game.

The Phantom Pain shares a lot in common with its PSP prequel Peace Walker. Snake is able to use the Fulton Recovery System to recruit soldiers to his cause, and send them on missions that help Big Boss in many ways. Big Boss can also use the Fulton Recovery System to collect supplies as large as vehicles, and a few other things which you will see below.

The demo starts with Big Boss and Ocelot riding on horses through a dust storm to begin the mission to collect data which will help them to recover their ally Miller. It’s Big Boss’ first mission since his nine-year coma, and he’s clearly struggling to get the hang of his new robotic arm. Ocelot gives a quick overview of the goals and says, “Let the legend come back to life,” and Big Boss is on his way. This is where things start to get weird.

Big Boss’ Horse Relieved Itself Before Heading Into The Mission
Just as the game transitions from cutscene to gameplay, Big Boss’ horse relieved itself. It was the perfect way to offset an otherwise dramatic and serious scene between he and Ocelot.

Big Boss Recruited A Sheep
On his way to the first group of soldiers in the distance, Big Boss, still atop his horse, rode by a collection of sheep. He ignored them, and made quick work of dispatching, and airlifting, with the Fulton Recovery System, the two soldiers guarding the outskirts. A sheep, curious about the commotion, walked up to Big Boss. He used a tranquilizer on the sheep, and airlifted the sheep back to home base.

Big Boss Called In A Supply Drop For A Single Cardboard Box
As Big Boss made his way to the largest and most protected area of the map, he decided it was time to call in his most trusted stealth tool: the cardboard box. To do this, he called in a supply drop. A plane flew overhead and dropped a parachuted package which landed nearby. All it had was a cardboard box.

Big Boss Popped Out Of His Cardboard Box Like A Jack-In-The-Box
The cardboard box is a much more versatile tool in The Phantom Pain. After customizing the box to feature his army’s logo (which seemed like a bad idea, to me), he started using it to sneak around. On one occasion, he snuck up behind an enemy while in the box, stopped, and then popped out the top to deliver a tranquilizer to the enemy. After that he airlifted him without leaving the box.

On another occasion, an enemy noticed the box and Big Boss paused. As the enemy began walking towards the box, Big Boss escaped from the front of the box through the enemy’s blind spot. The confused soldier was left to examine the abandoned container.

Big Boss Smoked An E-Cigar That Sped Up The Flow Of Time
As Big Boss readied to make his final approach, he went to a perch overseeing the base, and pulled out his binoculars to mark enemies on the map. More enemies filtered into the area, so Big Boss decided it would be best to wait until a shift change, or for some of the enemies to fall asleep. He pulled out an e-cigar – one that did not produce smoke or leave behind ashes – began to smoke it, and time began to speed up around him. Day turned to night, night turned to day, and Big Boss decided to make his approach.

The Sheep From Earlier Was Just Walking Around Mother Base
At the end of the demo, Konami showed us Big Boss’ rebuilt base. The base will be customizable for every player, and it will fill with the soldiers, vehicles, and supplies you airlift to it. In the distance looking out into the ocean, there was a new section of the base in the process of being built. The sheep form earlier - the curious one who was airlifted out - was just walking around. He didn’t seem particularly surprised to be hanging out on a military base in the middle of the ocean.

Other aspects of the demo were less strange, and just simply impressive. The dynamic weather made sandstorms pop up and shower rain on the environment in an impressive display of technology. Another interesting mechanic reimagines the knocking mechanic that was used to distract enemies in past Metal Gear games. Big Boss can now make noise with his mechanical arm without having to be sidled against a wall to attract attention.

No valid release date has been offered for The Phantom Pain (something tells me the 1984 date seen at the end of the trailer probably isn’t accurate), but what Konami showed has me looking forward to re-entering the storyline and getting my hands back on the Fulton Recovery System. I can’t wait to fill my Mother Base with every four-legged mammal I can find.