On August 16th 2016, the internet – as it so often does – formed into a gigantic, flaming ball of hate. Konami, who had already been contending with a tarnished reputation since the fall out with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, announced the next entry in the stealth franchise: Metal Gear Survive.
Fan reaction was understandably catastrophic. Whilst Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was well received by fans and critics alike, the game’s launch was somewhat diluted by the drama that surrounded its development and subsequent launch. Thanks to the dire working conditions that Kojima and his team were seemingly forced into, it became clear that important elements were missing from the final product.
We may never know what truly happened with Konami and Kojima, but fans were very quick to take sides. Konami soon found themselves at the tail end of vicious backlash and mildly amusing hashtags (#FucKonami). One might expect them to listen to such ‘feedback’ and act accordingly, but instead, on August 16th 2016, we were treated to a trailer for a game that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the franchise that preceded it.
Metal Gear Survive is exactly what it says on the tin: a survival game. It takes place between Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, with the player taking on the role of Random Gruff Soldier Man who finds himself and his comrades sucked into a wormhole, transported to a desolate land full of zombie-like creatures. Here, you and your team must gather materials and fight off the shuffling horde by any means necessary.
If this sounds familiar, it bloody well should. Metal Gear Survive follows in the footsteps of countless zombie-survival games, and that’s exactly its problem. For years Metal Gear has been known for its strong characters, endearingly wacky plot and top notch stealth gameplay. Metal Gear Survive ditches all of this. There are no recognisable characters to speak of, none of the plot elements the series has become known for, and whilst we’re assured that stealth will play a part, much of what we’ve seen so far has been heavy on action.
Perhaps sensing that folks are not best pleased with their latest title, Konami has been conspicuously silent on the game during the past few months. Nothing new has been seen since the gameplay demonstration at TGS back in September 2016. The official Metal Gear Twitter handle still bares the Survive branding, so the assumption is that it’s still in the works, but I have to wonder if Konami are planning something a bit different behind the scenes.
Back in July 2016, before Konami outraged everyone with Metal Gear Survive, Konami outraged everyone with a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Pachinko Machine. This kind of business venture is nothing new for the company, but what infuriated people the most was the inclusion of some genuinely awesome cutscenes from the original game, remade entirely with the Fox Engine. It was as if Konami were dangling a delicious cake in front of us and snatching it away before we could have a taste. There was so much gorgeous footage on display however, that it prompted some fans to speculate that the company is in fact working on remake of Snake Eater. Why go to such lengths just for a Pachinko Machine?
Needless to say, Konami has a big chance here to mend their shattered image. No one likes Metal Gear Survive, that much is clear. No one asked for it. But since seeing some of the cutscenes from the Snake Eater Pachinko Machine, you bet your ass I’m asking for a full remake of Metal Gear Solid 3! They’ve certainly showed they’re quite capable of giving the cutscenes a fresh lick of paint, all they need to do is apply it to the full game.
Without the talent of Kojima and his team to steer the series in the right direction, Konami have to make do with what they have: a strong game engine and a bunch of reusable assets. Instead of creating a dull, lifeless survival game bearing no discernible identity whatsoever, I see no reason why they can’t remake one of the most treasured games in their publishing history. I mean for crying out loud, several Snake Eater costumes can be unlocked in The Phantom Pain! Albeit, behind paid DLC, but still… It’s all there already, Konami just need to mould it into a full game.
Do the right thing, guys. Please.