Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
MGS5 E3 2013 poster.jpg
Promotional poster used for the Electronics Entertainment Expo 2013.
Developer(s) Kojima Productions
Publisher(s) Konami
Director(s) Hideo Kojima[1]
Producer(s) Hideo Kojima
Kenichiro Imaizumi
Designer(s) Hideo Kojima[1][2]
Artist(s) Yoji Shinkawa[1][2]
Writer(s) Hideo Kojima
Shuyo Murata
Hidenari Inamura
Composer(s) Harry Gregson-Williams[3]
Akihiro Honda
Ludvig Forssell
Series Metal Gear
Engine Fox Engine[4]
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, digital distribution

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Japanese: メタルギアソリッドV ザ・ファントム・ペイン Hepburn: Metaru Gia Soriddo Faibu Za Fantomu Pein?) is an upcoming open world action-adventure stealth video game developed by Kojima Productions and directed, co-produced and co-written by Hideo Kojima, currently in development for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.[5] The game will serve as a continuation of the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes,[6] and will carry over the same tagline of Tactical Espionage Operations first used in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.[7]

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a separated composite of two previously announced Kojima Productions projects, the both of which formed a complex deception.[8][9][10] The first was Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, originally revealed in a Fox Engine tech demo shown at the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary Party on August 30, 2012.[11] The second was The Phantom Pain, a trailer at the Spike TV Video Game Awards on December 7, 2012, presented as an original title by fictional developer Moby Dick Studios, with the Metal Gear Solid V logo virtually obscured.[12] On March 27, 2013, the true nature of these two projects was revealed at the Game Developers Conference, where Kojima announced that Ground Zeroes serves as a prologue to The Phantom Pain and these two titles form one combined work, to be released separately.[13][14][15][16]

Gameplay[edit]

In The Phantom Pain, players will be taking the role of super-soldier Big Boss (Punished Snake) in a massive collection of open-world environments. The gameplay elements are largely unchanged from Ground Zeroes, meaning that players will have to sneak from several points in the game world, avoiding enemy guards and remaining undetected. Included in Snake's repertoire are binoculars, maps, pistols, assault rifles and explosives. Players may traverse the world with vehicles such as cars and tanks, in addition to travelling on foot. They may also call for friendly helicopter support against enemy soldiers in a combat alert.

As in Peace Walker, The Phantom Pain will offer a base-building feature that allows players to develop weapons and items from their home base. Recruitment of enemy soldiers and prisoners has also returned for this purpose, allowing the base to grow through organization. The player is given the option to access their base from their real-life smartphones and other devices.[17] Series director Hideo Kojima revealed that the game has a new day and night cycle that runs in real-time, and that "depending on how you travel between one stage to the next, the travel time will affect the time of day when you arrive at your destination".[18] A new game design direction will allow the player to choose in what order the story events take place by selecting missions in any order they like, and yet still "understand the encompassing message by the end".[19][20]

Hideo Kojima has spoken about the restrictive nature of previous MGS titles, saying that they "set [the player] on one rail to get from point A to point B, with a certain amount of freedom between". In stark contrast, Kojima's team will instead offer the player new ways of traversal and sneaking methods, such as taking a plane, helicopter or motorcycle to the mission area. This is in order for Kojima to accomplish a "true open world experience".[21] According to Famitsu, Konami confirmed that the playable world in The Phantom Pain will be 200 times larger than that of Ground Zeroes, featuring a variety of climate conditions and environments, in addition that players who have prior played Ground Zeroes will be able to import save data into The Phantom Pain and gain special perks.[22]

Kojima revealed that the game has a new day and night cycle that runs in real-time, and that "depending on how you travel between one stage to the next, the travel time will affect the time of day when you arrive at your destination".[18]

Plot[edit]

Metal Gear series
fictional chronology

Premise[edit]

In the aftermath of the events of Ground Zeroes and the destruction of Militaires Sans Frontières, Big Boss falls into a coma.[23] Nine years later, he awakes and forms a new mercenary group, the Diamond Dogs. Now assuming the codename "Punished Snake", he ventures into Afghanistan during the Soviet war to track down the men responsible for MSF's destruction. Along the way, he becomes reacquainted with his former rival Ocelot and encounters a unit of warriors robbed of their past, present and future. While he and Kazuhira "Kaz" Miller are initially driven to exact revenge, Snake soon unearths a plot by the Cipher organization to develop a weapon with the potential to surpass even the Metal Gear system, and his mission quickly switches focus to ending the threat once and for all.

Characters[edit]

In contrast to previous MGS installments, Kojima Productions is conducting the voice-acting and motion capture with English-speaking actors and stuntmen. Facial motion capture will be used for the first time in the series. The Japanese voice acting will be dubbed over the English cast's performance rather than the other way around (as had been done with previous MGS games).

David Hayter, the English-language voice of Snake in previous games, was not chosen to reprise the role for Metal Gear Solid V.[24] On June 6, 2013, during the annual Konami Pre-E3 show, Konami officially confirmed that actor Kiefer Sutherland will provide Snake's voice and do the motion capture work for the game.[25][26][27] Kojima's reason for replacing Hayter was to "have a more subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice rather than words", and that he "needed someone who could genuinely convey both the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late 40s". Hollywood producer and director Avi Arad suggested to Kojima that Sutherland can fulfill his requirements.[28] Akio Otsuka will continue to voice Snake in the Japanese version.[29]

Other new members of the voice cast include Troy Baker and Satoshi Mikami (Ocelot),[30] Jay Tavare (Code Talker),[31] and James Horan and Takaya Hashi (Skull Face). Robin Atkin Downes and Tomokazu Sugita (Kaz Miller), Christopher Randolph and Hideyuki Tanaka (Emmerich), Antony Del Rio and Kikuko Inoue (Chico), and Tara Strong and Nana Mizuki (Paz) reprise their roles from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.[32][33] Stefanie Joosten has provided her likeness for new heroine Quiet.[33] A character who's voice casting is as yet unknown is that of Eli, who has been rumoured to be a young Liquid Snake.

Development[edit]

A recruiting poster, based on the famous recruitment poster, used at GDC 2012

In February 2012, a site named "Development Without Borders" owned by Konami was uploaded promoting development for a new Metal Gear title, for "The "next" MGS". The site was recruiting staff for the 2012 GDC pavilion in March, and requested applications for several positions for the latest Metal Gear Solid targeted for "high-end consoles" and "next-gen Fox engine".[34][35] As the year went on, screenshots and videos of the newly announced Fox Engine were unveiled by the team.[36] This media demonstrated many random settings and characters, although none related to the Metal Gear series. Certain screenshots, however, were noted to feature a character who resembled the Big Boss character of Metal Gear, walking up to a Stryker AFV previously seen in Metal Gear Solid 4.[37]

As Ground Zeroes[edit]

The game was later announced on August 30, 2012 originally under the title of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. It was revealed at a private function celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Metal Gear series, and made its public debut two days later at the 2012 Penny Arcade Expo.[38] Director Hideo Kojima confirmed that Big Boss will return as the game's protagonist, and that Ground Zeroes will serve as a prologue to the proper Metal Gear Solid V.[39] It will be the first game to utilize the Fox Engine, a game engine developed by Kojima Productions.[40] On January 2013, Kojima revealed that Ground Zeroes will be the first title in the series to be subtitled in Arabic, a feature the team had originally planned for previous games.[41] In addition, he also confirmed that the length of the cutscenes will be reduced as he believes that long cutscenes have become outdated.[19][42]

In an interview with VG247, Hideo Kojima expressed concerns over whether or not Ground Zeroes will be released. He claimed that his aim was to target taboos and mature themes, which he considered to be "quite risky", adding that his roles as creator and producer were in conflict with one another; as creator, Kojima wanted to take the risk of exploring themes that might alienate audiences, but as producer, he had to be able to tone down the content in order to sell as many copies of the game as possible. Ultimately, the role of creator won out, and Kojima described his approach as "prioritizing creativity over sales".[43][44][45]

Promotion[edit]

At the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards in December 2012, a teaser trailer for a game known as The Phantom Pain was shown, credited to a new Swedish developer known as Moby Dick Studio, which the trailer was described as "100% gameplay". Allegedly led by Joakim Mogren, the studio's mission statement read that it aimed to "deliver an uncompromising, exciting, and touching game experience to people all around the globe."[18] After the presentation, speculation began to surface from various publications that The Phantom Pain was actually a Metal Gear game; noting the protagonist's resemblance to Big Boss, graphics similar to those produced by the Fox Engine, the quote "V has come to" at the end of the trailer, and that the title "Metal Gear Solid V" could fit in the negative space and indentations of the game's logo when using the same font.[46][47] It was also pointed out the name "Joakim" was an anagram of "Kojima", the domain name for the studio's website had only been registered about two weeks prior to the announcement, and that several people wearing Moby Dick Studio shirts were sitting in a VIP area intended for Konami staff.[46][48] Hideo Kojima jokingly stated he was impressed by the trailer and how Mogren was inspired by Metal Gear.[49]

An actor playing a heavily bandaged Mogren appeared in an interview on March 14, 2013 episode of GameTrailers TV; while stating that he could not reveal many details, he confirmed that more details about The Phantom Pain would be revealed at the upcoming Game Developers Conference, and showed a series of screenshots on an iPad to the show's host Geoff Keighley. However, after Keighley pointed out the presence of the Fox Engine logo in the screenshots, Mogren appeared nervous and the segment abruptly ended.[50]

On March 27, 2013 at GDC 2013, Kojima officially confirmed that Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain were one and the same, and that the final title was going to be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.[51] He subsequently presented a trailer and showcased the finer aspects of the Fox Engine, later explaining that Ground Zeroes serves as a prologue to the main Phantom Pain segment.[52]

While the official trailer announcing the game was running on a PC, the game will be released for the current generation of video game consoles. In an interview during E3 2013, when asked about a PC release Kojima stated "We are making it", and it will be on par with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.[53] However, he made it clear that the PC port is not their top priority at the moment.[54] Kojima confirmed that the visuals seen in the trailer will look close to those in the final game. He also stated that he would like Metal Gear Solid V to be his final Metal Gear game, noting that unlike previous titles where he had announced that he had finished making games in the series, only to return for subsequent titles, he would like to fulfill his retirement from the series with Metal Gear Solid V. Although the trailer had Snake suffering from hallucinations in the form of a flaming whale, Kojima assured that there will be a balance in realism.[55] Kojima later revealed that The Phantom Pain was initially presented as an independent game so as to assess the public and industry response to the Fox Engine, as he felt that announcing the game as part of Metal Gear Solid V would bias reactions to the engine.

On June 10, 2013 at E3 2013, a fourth trailer was shown at the Microsoft press conference, demonstrating the new play mechanics, as well as the cast of characters. The development of an Xbox One version was also announced at the conference.[56] On June 11, the standard version of the trailer were uploaded to Konami's official YouTube channel, along with an extended director's cut for mature audiences. The trailer confirmed the development of a PlayStation 4 version in addition to the previously announced Xbox One version.[57][58]

The trailers for Metal Gear Solid V have shown the game running on a PC hardware, but according to Kojima with textures and character models somewhat based on last generation hardware (i.e. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360). The developers are aiming to improve the technical quality for the versions that will be released for the current generation of consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One).[59] Metal Gear Solid V will include the next iteration of Metal Gear Online, developed by Kojima Productions' newly formed Los Angeles division.[60]

Kojima has alluded to the game possibly being "too big to clear", adding that the game is "200 [times larger] than Ground Zeroes."[61]

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