Metal Gear Sur­vive

Gear­ing up for the post-Ko­jima waste­land

EDGE - - GAMES -

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

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