While this story was going through final edits Gameblog and Eurogamer reported that Konami was leaving AAA development entirely, except for its soccer franchise PES. If the company does decide to keep Metal Gear alive, here are some ways they can do that.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of the most acclaimed games of the year (including our own review). It goes beyond reasonable expectations as both an open-world and a stealth game, resulting in something that’s pretty exceptional. But it’s a bittersweet moment for many of the game’s fans; its director and chronically peculiar creator Hideo Kojima is no longer affiliated with the game’s publisher, Konami.
Kojima will land on his feet somewhere—another Japanese game company, independent games and even film are all possibilities. What will become of Metal Gear, though? Konami has said it will continue creating games in the franchise even without the man who created it and served as its caretaker for the last 28 years. To help guide them into the future of this absurd franchise, we’ve come up with a few things Konami can do with Metal Gear now that Kojima’s gone.
There’s a lot of evidence to suggest Metal Gear Solid V could have been more than it is. For starters, there’s an unfinished mission in the game’s program files, as well as references to a third chapter; the game currently has a prologue and two chapters, if you don’t count last year’s Ground Zeroes.
Games have to cut content all the time, so it’s not surprising that there’s stuff missing from the version of the game we’ve played. But considering how important some of the cut content seems to be to the game’s overall plot, and how the relationship between Kojima and Konami ended (not amicably), there’s more than enough reason to think the game we received was not the one we should have gotten. Konami still has rights over the franchise, and could go back and piece together or rebuild whatever’s missing from the game and release it the following year, as a “Game of the Year Edition.” And if Konami really wants to stick it to Kojima, they could call it the “Director’s Cut.”
A lot of people, yours truly included, have wanted this for a while. And since Konami does plan to continue making Metal Gear games post-Kojima, remaking the original MSX games seems like an easy way for a new team to learn the ins and outs of the franchise, get acquainted with how to mimic Kojima’s signature style, and continue clearing up things about the ending of Metal Gear Solid V.
The events of the original Metal Gear are pivotal in the series’ timeline, and it’s a shame most people now only learn about them by reading online synopses as they prepare for the next game in the series. And by now, it’s been set up so well—after switching back and forth between Big Boss and Solid Snake as the protagonist over the years, who doesn’t want to see them face off? It’s an easy win for a company that needs a little good will right now.
If Konami’s not keen on remaking two of the most pivotal games in the series’ history, then perhaps they could find other points of inspiration? One of the best parts of both Metal Gear Solid V and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was how much story they managed to pack into audio recordings and cassette tapes. Sure, it’s not the best way to deliver story in a big-budget game, but it worked perfectly in Metal Gear Solid V, since it gave you something to listen to while you did side missions.
Some of those stories, particularly those in Peace Walker, were interesting enough to build a game off of. For example, there’s that part where The Boss, the series’ most influential figure in many ways, took part in America’s first manned spaceflight (it was never revealed to the public, of course. How convenient!). There’s also the questions of what happened to Liquid Snake between the time he spent with Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid V and when he rounded up all of this evil friends for Metal Gear Solid. There are lots of avenues to explore—and a lot ways to make everyone mad again when they retcon something.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance had a ton of problems (not least of all being its name), but the core idea—making Raiden into a more extreme “anime” version of himself with pinpoint cutting prowess—is strong enough to merit a sequel. It’s such a completely different beast from other Metal Gear games that there’s plenty of room to experiment with new ideas and timelines without making fans angry—many of them don’t consider it a proper Metal Gear game anyway.
It also gives Konami an easy way to keep the Metal Gear name alive without having to build an entirely new studio. Platinum Games knows how to build an action game (we’ll forget about their recent licensed work for the sake of argument), and this could be their next great project after the studio finishes Scalebound.
If none of these directions look interesting, Konami, you can always just turn to the allure of “erotic violence” pachinko machines. Look, you’re already doing this with Castlevania, and if you’re truly dedicated to squandering any good will you have left, you may as well do it for Metal Gear.
In fact, considering some of the series’ more perverted tendencies (like the awful, voyeuristic camera angles and scenes with Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V), it’s probably a better fit for the pachinko treatment anyway, and it would technically fulfill your promise of there being more games in the series, even if it’d be the worst possible thing you could do with such a consistently good series. The worst part? You’d probably end up making more money in the long run.
Suriel Vazquez is a freelance writer who doesn’t hate pachinko and is surprised it’s not a mini-game in more big-budget Japanese titles. He’s written for Paste, GamesBeat Vice, Playboy, and several others. You can follow him on Twitter.