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Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes


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[quote=1up]As part of an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Metal Gear in Japan last night -- the original MSX2 title came out in 1987 -- Hideo Kojima and company had a big surprise to share along with a look back at the history of the franchise. A brand-new Metal Gear Solid game made its debut, and while those in attendance were not allowed to film the 20-minute demo that ensued, accounts of what took place have come out and should pique the curiosity of even those who have grown tired of the series' formula.

We know very little in the way of hard details concerning the curiously titled [url="http://www.1up.com/games/ps3/metal-gear-solid-ground-zeroes"]Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes[/url]. The reportedly impressive-looking gameplay demonstration was powered by Kojima Productions' Fox Engine, first [url="http://www.1up.com/news/kojima-productions-shows-off-new-game-engine"]revealed[/url] last year, which was running on a PC with current-gen hardware. Following a scene with a young boy and an older man who was accompanied by soldiers and guard dogs in which we see an "XOF" emblem, the phrase "From FOX, two phantoms were born" appears on-screen. Next we see a man with an eyepatch and facial hair who appears to be identical to Big Boss and is only referred to as "Snake." A patch on his shoulder seems to support that this is Big Boss and the game will take place in or around the 1970s, a theory that isn't disproved based on the level of technology seen in the video. Of course, given what Kojima has [url="http://www.1up.com/features/metal-gear-solid-2-gamings-greatest-con-job"]done in the past[/url], it's impossible to know if Big Boss (or a Big Boss look-alike) will be the game's protagonist or if he is merely a placeholder.

What's potentially even more exciting than the return of Big Boss are indications that Ground Zeroes will be an open-world title. Aside from engaging in the kinds of things we expect the star of an MGS game to do, like crawl around while prone and take out security guards, there was evidence that player freedom will be a major point of emphasis. [url="http://uk.gamespot.com/metal-gear-solid-ground-zeroes/previews/metal-gear-solid-ground-zeroes-shows-off-fox-engine-shine-and-possible-open-world-elements-6393924/"]GameSpot[/url] describes the military base Snake explores as feeling "expansive and huge," and Snake has the ability to drive around in a jeep or call in a helicopter to transport him around, neither of which points to a linear game. Kojima indicated he hopes to provide players with the ability to use all of Snake's tools to escape when discovered instead of presenting them with a game-over screen, something that would work best in an open world.

Further supporting the idea that Ground Zeroes will be more open-world-like is the fact that, last we heard, Kojima was at work on Project Ogre, a game he himself [url="http://www.1up.com/news/kojima-productions-shows-off-new-game-engine"]described[/url] as being "very free" and set in an open world that players could explore at their leisure. He also claimed the game would provide new things to do and places to find after 100 hours of play. Rather than Big Boss being a placeholder for some other protagonist, it could be that Project Ogre was the next MGS title all along and that it was presented as something unrelated until now, although we don't know if that is accurate at this point.

If it is the case, this would be a dramatically different direction for a series that is traditionally more linear and cutscene-heavy. In addition to his description of it as being "very free," Kojima indicated last year that his next project would avoid being "something very cinematic," which would suggest Ground Zeroes will spend more time in control of the action. Although long cutscenes are frowned upon in many games, they are an intrinsic part of the franchise and the notion of having a Metal Gear Solid game that strays from that is rather odd.

Assuming Ground Zeroes does prove to be as different as this first look (and previous details on Project Ogre) would suggest, I find myself very excited. A stealth-based, open-world game would be unlike the vast majority of open-world games on the market, as they tend to follow the [url="http://www.1up.com/games/ps2/grand-theft-auto-iii/"]Grand Theft Auto III[/url] mold in being more action-oriented. As with any change to an established franchise, should Ground Zeroes be leaving behind both the structure and cinematic-heavy nature of previous MGS games, longtime fans may take issue with this game carrying the MGS name regardless of who the main character is. That's even more true because, as we're seeing with [url="http://www.1up.com/games/xbox360/mgs-rising/"]Revengeance[/url], it's not as if Konami is against dropping the 'Solid' part of the Metal Gear Solid name when it's necessary. Until an open-world game can be shown to drive the kind of narrative experience fans want from an MGS title, there will be a heavy amount of skepticism surrounding the game. And it may be a while yet before fans can be convinced Kojima knows what he's doing -- the game has been designed with the current consoles in mind, but as the Fox Engine is built to support next-gen consoles, it's possible we'll be waiting until Microsoft and Sony's new platforms arrive before we get to play Ground Zeroes for ourselves.

What's sure to frustrate fans in the meantime is the lack of confirmed information: no release date, no guarantee Big Boss is the protagonist, no word on where this fits into the overall storyline. However many things may be in the air at the moment, though, the potential for a proper Metal Gear Solid experience to unfold within the framework of an open-world game where you can tackle things in any order and feel like you are actually deciding how Snake approaches a situation is very intriguing, if nothing else.[/quote]

Heck, I'm still anticipating Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and they're already bringing another, and going back to the "Solid" franchise (I still haven't completed MGS4 yet). I'm excited to hear about this and I'm very intrigued to see how this'll turn out since it's going to be in an open world environment.

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