Metal Gear Survive
Gearing up for the post-Kojima wasteland
PC, PS4, Xbox One
The announcement of the first Kojima-less Metal Gear (pachislot notwithstanding) was never going to go down smoothly with the series’ core fanbase. Predictably, minutes after the game was first revealed, the outcry began. “This isn’t Metal Gear Solid,” was the dominate complaint. To which Konami’s answer can quite rightly be, “Well, no, it isn’t.” But the word ‘Survive’ tagged on to the name can’t sum up just how different a proposition this outing is from its Solid forebears.
Metal Gear Survive is a co-op multiplayerfocused spinoff, set immediately after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, as Big Boss and Kazuhira Miller are whisked away from Mother Base ready for the events of The Phantom Pain. As their chopper disappears into the distance, a giant wormhole opens up in the sky above the smoking remains of the Militaires Sans Frontières’ HQ, sucking up the remaining soldiers. Suitably, considering how Survive is being put together by the vast number of Kojima Productions’ former staffers left behind as Kojima and Konami parted ways, these abandoned Mother Base soldiers are our new player characters.
Wormholes? Even alongside the wildest moments of Metal Gear Solid’s past (possessed arms, immortal wall-walking vampires and meowing Russian triple agents among them), this might seem a bit farfetched. But we’re told to expect a solid grounding (pun not actually intended) of both familiar stealth gameplay and that co-op sandbox action once we rejoin these unlucky soldiers on the other side.
What greets them and us is a mysterious alternate timeline, completely divergent from the events of The Phantom Pain. This
landscape is sandblasted, like a Mad Max film only with half-formed ruins of metallic structures dominating the horizon.
This setup, while bizarre, is by no means the only reason fans have come away peeved. While Stealth Action might be the hybridised genre buzzphrase of the day, the enemies we’ve seen so far appear to be mindless shuffling corpses (much like The Walking Dead and its ‘walkers’, the term zombie, while immediately jumping to mind, is never used). These strange mutilated beings charge towards players when they’re spotted, gathering in large numbers to attack. For a series that’s built a reputation for knife-sharp AI, wherein half the game revolves around playing with the smartness of your enemies rather than smashing reams of shuffling cadavers in the face, this is perhaps the oddest direction we could have predicted the series would go.
Especially when you consider the tools we’ll have at our disposal. Makeshift weapons seemingly crafted from the detritus around you can be wielded – we spot a pike assembled from a knife and some rebar. There’s more fantastical gear to tote, too. One soldier leaps acrobatically into the air to fire a rotating arrow, which explodes once it enters its target. All this is hugely at odds with what’s come before; Snake’s arsenal always had a sort of tangible air to it, even as it descended into game-breaking cheat items. Your infinite ammo toggle was a straight-up piece of cloth.
Since Konami itself is answering no questions at the moment (“Can you play in singleplayer?”, “Who’s directing this?” and “How long has this been in development?” are all met with a polite but curt, “We’re not talking about that yet”), there are still plenty of unknowns. We do know, however, that the game will not be a decade in the making – we can expect it to land sometime in 2017. We’re also aware the game won’t come at us as a ‘full-price’ product. That could mean a release akin to Ground Zeroes.
What else can we extrapolate? Well, as for who’s working on it, obviously it’s not Kojima, but we also know several Metal Gear luminaries are still in the employ of Konami, not least among them series stalwart Yuji Korekado. We also know no game of this scale gets made in a few months. It would be safe to assume something akin to Metal Gear Survive has been in the pipeline for a while. Since before Kojima departed? We may never know.
Ultimately, discovering if the game is any good will have to wait. While much of the community seems united in thinking it’ll go the way of Capcom’s ill-fated Umbrella Corps, with much of the talent behind The Phantom
Pain still in place, and the strong foundation of the Fox Engine backing it up, it’s hard to bet against it. But then we are missing the magic ingredient. The fascinating prospect is that we’ll soon discover how much of Kojima’s magic kept Metal Gear as good as it’s been for as long as it’s lasted.
We’ll soon discover how much of Kojima’s magic kept Metal Gear as good as it has been
Considering the zombie-like Skulls were the least popular enemies in MGSV, it’s worrying to see armies of similar-looking foes here
ABOVE Besides the nonzombies seen in these screens, there’ll be ‘massive threats’ requiring player co-ordination to bring down. Those titular bipedal tanks, perhaps?
LEFT There’s no confirmation whether microtransactions are involved, but we’d expect a similar system to MGSV’s FOB insurance model.
How will stealth work in co-op with zombies? We envisage Shaun Of The Deadstyle scenarios, where one player can cause distractions to lure the horde while the others raid bases
BELOW Melee is an especially interesting prospect for a series predominantly based around firearms. Platinum isn’t around to take the reins, Revengeance style