Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Kojima Productions continues to trickle out details about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and its prologue chapter, Ground Zeroes. Earlier this month we learned about five important changes coming to the series, including a cleaned-up UI and how enemy detection works. We still don’t know if Ground Zeroes will be sold separately or not, but Hideo Kojima has been generous with showing off the open world stealth gameplay. The influential developer took to the stage during the Tokyo Game Show this year to show off 12 minutes of an extraction mission from Ground Zeroes.
The presentation is all in Japanese without translation, but we were able to glean some cool details from the sequence. Snake is infiltrating a prison compound the retrieve a captive named Chico. He uses his binoculars to spot and mark guards from a distance, similar to the mechanic from Far Cry 3. He has to hide from scanning spotlights as he moves across the rocky terrain towards the walled complex. When he closes in he picks a lock and starts taking out guards systematically. Some he shoots with what appears to be a silenced pistol or tranquilizer gun. Kojima suggests non-lethal playthroughs will be possible. Other enemies he chokes out and hides in the grass. At one point he climbs into a guard tower and uses the spotlight to look around, causing guards to shield their eyes from the bright light as he does so. Kojima says stunning enemies with light is one of the advantages of planning missions for the night time, as it allows you a moment of advantage. The spotlight eventually helps Snake spot what looks like a bound prisoner, potentially Chico.
Snake hijacks a vehicle and drives it deeper into the base. He appears to park the jeep strategically behind sheets of canvas, hinting that players may be responsible for hiding their vehicles to avoid causing suspicion. He encounters another set of wandering guards, one of which spots him. Unlike previous games where detection quickly leads to high alert, Snake is blessed with a moment of bullet time to take out his spotter. Snake approaches the body, picks it up, and appears ready to hide it just as he spots another guard nearby. Thinking quickly, Snake throws the limp body at the other guard, knocking him unconscious in the process.
Snake finally finds who he thinks is Chico, picks him up, and begins extraction. The strong-backed agent jogs towards the exit of the base, heading towards a helicopter evacuation in the distance. He deposits the prisoner in the chopper and turns back to take out some approaching guards. These enemies seem intent on taking out the helicopter after its descent roused their attention. Snake jumps in and uses his machine gun to blast more enemies on the way out. The demo concludes with Snake realizing the prisoner isn’t Chico, but he’s in fact a high-ranking cardboard box maker – a nod to the series’ infamous sneaking method.
Konami considers Ground Zeroes a primer to get players warmed up to the series’ new open world-style gameplay but without the open world setting itself. It reminds me of what Capcom’s Dead Rising 2: Case 0 was to Dead Rising 2 proper – a sample of how the basics work without throwing players into the full open world. We don’t know when Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and the Phantom Pain are due to release, but they’ll be available for both Microsoft and Sony’s current- and next-gen consoles.