Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

What Is The Buddy System?
by Joe Juba on Sep 18, 2014 at 05:32 AM
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Kojima Productions
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

During a TGS stage presentation today, Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima revealed the existence of a “buddy system” for The Phantom Pain. This is a new mechanic to the series, and it has the potential to drastically change the stealth operations Big Boss faces in the upcoming title.

Despite what the name may imply, this mode isn’t a way for you to play cooperatively with friends. Instead, it allows an ally to join Snake on the battlefield and lend unique support. During the on-stage demo, Big Boss was able to call in Quiet as back up in a rescue operation. After parachuting in from a helicopter, she was available for various commands and cooperative maneuvers during the mission.

Kojima was asked about the presence of other buddies in addition to Quiet, and though he didn’t respond firmly one way or the other, he said that they were only focusing on her for the demo – which implies that they will be talking about more at a different time.

Even though Metal Gear games have always featured some form of support for the main character, it usually comes in the form of codec companions or there-and-gone-again moments of assistance. The addition of another character fighting alongside Snake on the battlefield is quite a change, and doesn’t fit neatly within the conventions of the series. That’s exciting in several ways, but what exactly it means for the gameplay in MGS V remains to be seen.

Until we have the full picture, here is a short list of Quiet’s capabilities as a buddy that I witnessed during the demo:

Scout ahead: Quiet can either stay close and follow Big Boss, or she can move ahead to find a better vantage point. If she moves ahead, she is able to track enemy positions, provide info on their health and ammunition, and even monitor their patrol patterns.

Attack: If Quiet stays close, she and her sniper rifle try to keep players safe. If you trigger any alarms or alert any guards, you can count on her to fire on your behalf. A green sniper laser lets players easily see where Quiet is currently aiming and what threats she has under control.

Assist: At one point, Big Boss was spotted by a guard. He tried to react with a headshot, but the guard was wearing a helmet, which would have blocked the incoming sleep dart. Just as he was taking aim, a sniper bullet came flying by, knocking the helmet off the enemies head. That left Big Boss to line up his shot on a newly vulnerable head and take it.

Cooperative Assault: You don’t need to worry about Quiet running around, triggering alarms, killing bad guys, and getting you into trouble. She listens to your commands, and helps you complete your goals. If there are two soldiers in a guard tower, you can coordinate an attack with Quiet. As soon as you pull the trigger while aiming at one of the guards, Quiet does the same. This leads to a no-mess double takedown.

Escape: Quiet is a battlefield ally, not a meek civilian who needs protecting. If things get ugly (which they will), you can trust Quiet to fend for herself without your help. As you’re fleeing a warzone to the helicopter landing area, don’t be surprised to see Quiet running and warping beside you, firing off shots from her rifle as she goes.

Improbable Miscellany: Let’s say you’re fighting a helicopter. You’ve fired your only rocket and missed. You’re out of conventional ammo. All you have is a few grenades. Surprisingly, the battle isn’t hopeless. After giving a command to Quiet, you can throw a grenade toward the helicopter yourself, and Quiet will use her marksmanship skills to shoot it into the vehicle, causing it to explode.

We will almost certainly be hearing more about the buddy system as we draw closer to The Phantom Pain’s 2015 release. Until then, check out our coverage hub that covers both installments bearing the Metal Gear Solid V name.


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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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