by Chris Scott
previewed on PS3
Long history brings great expectations
Solid Snake has been through a lot; 20 years of gaming history will do that to you. Not many gaming franchises live to still be relevant 20 years after their initial deployment but Sony is hoping Snake’s shoulders are broad enough to carry their gaming system to the next level. As the game is yet to be playable, at least by anyone outside of Konami, there is a lot of speculation on Hideo Kojima’s latest potential masterpiece.
When you look back on the history of gaming, you will be hard pressed to find a more convoluted story than that of the Metal Gear franchise. Kojima is a master storyteller and he seems to approach game making the way a Hollywood director approaches movie making. Since Metal Gear Solid the game has taken a highly cinematic turn with long, content filled cut-scenes being prevalent in the series. The cinematic gaming of the Metal Gear Solid series has been a huge contention of debate amongst gaming enthusiasts, with many detractors claiming the lengthy cut-scenes take away from the gameplay. Regardless of where you stand on that debate, it cannot be argued that Kojima has created a highly detailed world filled with interesting characters and complex storylines.
Not only is Kojima a master storyteller but he is also a perfectionist and upon release his games are almost always technical masterpieces. Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation was considered one of the best looking and sounding games of its time and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater both continued the standard on the Playstation 2. Beyond the obvious graphical prowess, the games all featured top of the line voice acting that contributed a lot to the overall feel of the game. These touches of perfection have made Metal Gear one of the most anticipated games whenever a new title is announced.
That anticipation is in full bloom with the latest in the series. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, has a lot riding on it. Since the PS3 launched, MGS4 has been the game people have been pointing to. If Metal Gear Solid does not deliver it could very well spell doom for the PS3.
The hype for Metal Gear Solid 4 began well before the PS3 was available, as the first trailer was shown at the Tokyo Game Show in 2005. Additional trailers were shown in 2006 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo as well as TGS again. But news had been quiet on the MGS front since the actual launch of the PS3 up until last month with the revelation of a new trailer at E3 and followed by the game being shown playable a week later in Japan.
Will it finish the story?
Kojima has promised that MGS 4 will tie up the story of the series. While much of the story has remained a secret, tidbits of information have been able to be pieced together by looking into the trailers. What we do know is that since the Manhattan Incident (the Raiden portion of MGS 2), war has become privatized and more important to the world economy than anything else. Private Military Companies, PMCs, supply mercenaries with the firepower to wage these private wars.
The five largest PMCs are run by Outer Heaven (a tie in to the very first Metal Gear game) which is run by Liquid. He is attempting to launch an armed insurrection in an attempt to create the perfect world once envisioned by Big Boss. Solid Snake has been called back into duty to terminate Liquid before this happens. The game seems to take place in a Middle Eastern locale and Kojima has said that much of it will take place in “battlefield situations”, a drastic departure from previous games.
In addition, you can supposedly choose to support the militia or the PMCs and these decisions will create different routes through the game - and it has been hinted that you can switch your allegiances from battle to battle. Imagine keeping a steady balance throughout, or throwing all your weight behind one group, the choice supposedly will be yours. Of course, helping out one group will enable them to be friendly with you, providing you with extra ammo or possibly even access to their base.