“A cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal!”
March 4, 2018 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Can Metal Gear Survive without Hideo Kojima? [The Guardian] “Former Konami game director Hideo Kojima may be one of the most famous faces in video gaming. Not least because he puts himself in his games, a la Hitchcock, which for nearly the past three decades have been mostly Metal Gear titles. 2015’s MGSV: The Phantom Pain was a spectacular finale that offered real-life fireworks too, as Kojima and Konami acrimoniously parted ways. This breakup saw a reaction along tribal lines, with the fanbase generally siding with Kojima and blaming Konami. Something of the hangover remains in the reaction to Metal Gear Survive [YouTube][Game Trailer], which is a “divergent take” on Metal Gear in the studio’s own words. It transplants the series into another dimension for an online co-op game for up to four players – with, and it’s hard to suppress a slight sigh here, zombie-type enemies.”

• A New Metal Gear Game Came Out Today. Does Anybody Care? [Paste]
“Meanwhile a new Metal Gear game came out today and it’s very possible you’ve heard almost nothing about it. My job is to know about these things and pretty much all I’ve heard about Metal Gear Survive is that it was basically unplayable at launch due to network issues. It has snuck up on the market with barely a sound, quietly appearing on shelves and digital storefronts overnight, and has gone out of its way to be difficult to play. It’s a game that doesn’t seem to want to exist, and that many players wish didn’t. This is what happens when an “auteur” is no longer in charge. Kojima was driven out of Konami shortly after Metal Gear Solid V came out and now has nothing to do with the series. Metal Gear is adrift with unsteady new leadership, and the bulk of its fans seems to have no interest in the series post-Kojima.”
• Metal Gear Won’t Survive Without Kojima [Hardcore Gamer]
“As it stands, it looks like Metal Gear as we know it isn’t coming back any time soon – and perhaps that’s for the best. Fans would likely be even more outraged if Konami attempted a Metal Gear Solid 6 without Kojima and went all-in on a convoluted plot filled with clones and indigestion jokes, things that inexplicably worked with Kojima behind the wheel, but aren’t likely to stick without him. Survive, which is looking more and more like it really is just a cheap cash-in of a long-running franchise, is truly just a quick, simple, harmless game – it’s not something that will irrevocably damage the series forever. But now that Kojima is deep into the development of a new franchise, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be coming back to Metal Gear any time soon, expect any subsequent games with the title Metal Gear to undersell and underperform critically: even if they are decent games, they’re unlikely to be accepted by fans and critics without Kojima’s name and personal touch.”
• Metal Gear Survive Is the Rebirth and Death of Metal Gear [Wired]
“After Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain shipped in 2015, Hideo Kojima left Konami, taking an unknown number of Kojima Productions staff with him to start an independent company. Metal Gear, like Big Boss's Mother Base, had fallen apart. That was nearly three years ago. Last year, Konami unveiled the future for Metal Gear—for Konami's big-budget game development, for the Fox Engine software once built by Kojima's team to safeguard the future of the saga, and of Kojima's work itself. That future was Metal Gear Survive, an unlikely spin-off taking place in an alternate reality overrun by uncanny monsters and hidden ruins. It takes one of the most storied, most strange franchises in the history of the medium, and it turns it into a zombie game. If Metal Gear Solid V is about destruction and revenge, Metal Gear Survive, built out of re-contextualized art assets and design ideas from its immediate predecessor, is about the wreckage: the wreckage left behind by the end of the Konami/Kojima Productions relationship, and the wreckage of Metal Gear Solid V itself.”
• Metal Gear Survive is a suffocating spin-off [A.V. Club]
“Konami’s Metal Gear Survive is in an unenviable position. For starters, it’s been labeled as a non-canonical spin-off of a beloved video game series. It’s also the first entry in that series since creator Hideo Kojima split from Konami, a separation that didn’t exactly seem amicable. Perhaps due to crushing strain of expectations of both Metal Gear’s past and its questionable Kojima-less future, Metal Gear Survive has emerged as a bizarre contradiction that looks exactly like a Metal Gear Solid game and nothing like a Metal Gear Solid game. It takes place in one of the few moments of the Metal Gear Solid timeline in which there are blank spots, specifically the period between 2014’s Metal Gear Solid V prologue Ground Zeroes, when main character Big Boss is put into a coma, and 2015’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, when the story resumes. That’s all mostly irrelevant, though, because Survive is set in an alternate universe called Dite, which is overrun with zombies and monsters. You play as a nameless, silent soldier who was part of Big Boss’ mercenary army, and for reasons that aren’t immediately clear, you’ve been tasked with entering Dite to find out what happened to a team of researchers/soldiers.”
• The people who made Metal Gear Survive [Polygon]
“For certain fans, the first question was, “Who’s making this?” A year and a half later, it’s a question many still have trouble answering. While Konami has provided a few basic details on the team, it’s largely kept the staff out of the public eye, choosing to focus on the game itself. The company has set up very few interviews to promote the game. It’s left staff credits out of trailers. It’s renamed the team internally to sound like part of an assembly line — Production Studio 8 — and externally to go by the same name as the rest of the company: Konami Digital Entertainment. Even the press release announcing the game featured a quote from the president of Konami’s European division rather than a member of the development team. The story everyone tells about Metal Gear Survive is that it’s the first Metal Gear game following Hideo Kojima’s departure, but we haven’t heard much about the other side of that equation: the group that’s taken his place. And now that the game’s out, we have a list of staff credits. So we dug through them to see what we could learn.”
• Metal Gear Survive's Beta Is Fun, But It's Not Metal Gear [Kotaku]
“Therein rests Metal Gear Survive’s greatest problem. While the moment to moment gameplay is exciting, it stills feels like a stitched together chimera of ideas that never really combine into anything unique. Survive’s gunplay and building are well implemented but there’s a lack of ambition that’s off-putting. Enemy designs feel like a greatest hits of well worn archetypes: fast minion zombies, fat exploding zombies, heavily armored elite zombies. Survive suffers from an unoriginality that’s jarring given the series’ pedigree. It’s a glorified horde mode with branding, divorced from any of the quirky humor or considered encounter design that set Metal Gear apart from the pack. There’s no dialog between characters to spice things up and no larger metagame akin to The Phantom Pain’s complex and thematically dire base management. Metal Gear Survive is one of the strangest games I have ever played. It is the definition of competent, with a mixture of combat and management that is rewarding in short bursts. But it lacks any larger aspirations other than mindless zombie bashing.”
• Metal Gear Survive May Have Hidden Hideo Kojima Reference [Game Rant]
“At the beginning of Metal Gear Survive, players see a list of agent codenames, which is how they name their own avatar in the game. As spotted by Twitter user Michael Yurko, the first letter of the last names on the list spell out “KJP FOREVER” – KJP being an often-used acronym for the original incarnation of Kojima Productions at Konami. The same acronym can be seen later on, but in reverse. Check out the KJP FOREVER images right here. [via: Twitter @NourishedPsyche] While it’s possible that this is just a coincidence, the Metal Gear series is known for having hidden easter eggs, and few things in the games are there by accident.”
posted by Fizz (13 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oops, forgot one article:

• Metal Gear Survive charges money for extra save slots [PC Gamer]
“In an unusual move, Metal Gear Survive charges its players for extra save slots. First noticed on reddit and verified by us, if you want to create a new save slot beyond the first, you'll need to fork out "1000 SV Coins". SV Coins are an in-game currency which can only be purchased with real money. Basically, once the 'New Game' option is clicked, and assuming one save game already exists, you'll be met with this message: At the time of writing the cost of 1150 SV Coins is US$9.99. Meanwhile, 30 SV Coins are currently gifted with every daily login. [...] You'll note that "playing the game" isn't among these options, because it isn't an option. Aside from the log-in bonuses, SV Coins can only be acquired with real world money. Which means, if you happened to want two characters on the go in MGS, then you have to pay up.”
Fuck you very much Konami.
posted by Fizz at 8:52 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]

On the one hand, I love this franchise and I've played all the Metal Gear games. On the other, this really isn't a Metal Gear game, so my desire to play it is tempered by that. The masochist in me wants to give this a go, just to see if it really is as terrible as people are making it out to be. But I also do not want to support Konami with my $. Maybe I'll compromise and pick it up in 4 years when its on a Steam Sale for $9.

Is Death Stranding out yet?
posted by Fizz at 8:55 AM on March 4

Metal Gear Survive isn't a Metal Gear game. It's a game Konami made by reusing most of the assets from Metal Gear V to maximize the return from MGSV's huge cost.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:51 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]

I’m honestly shocked Konami still makes games in non-pachinko or video-slot formats.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:44 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]

The fact that the game about continuing a series beyond each reasonable conclusion, through to an installment that had nothing to do with its former lead, with a zombie-based thing seems a bit on the nose.

On the other hand, the alternate universe premise is, at worst, only the third or fourth least plausible thing to happen in this series so far, so
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:43 PM on March 4

Fuck you very much Konami.

Yeah, I can tolerate some degree of extracting cash (e.g. through cosmetics) in games that will die without server support, even though it annoys me and I'd rather have a subscription based system, but locking away basic quality of life stuff behind a paywall is just a huge "fuck you" to customers. This is a full price release that attempts to extract half its purchase price again by selling inventory slots, save slots and resource sources to players. That's not building a model that keeps the lights on, that's exploiting people's desire to enjoy a game to bilk them for cash in order to do so.
posted by howfar at 3:56 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]

Obviously we need a genetically-engineered supersoldier to infiltrate a remote Konami complex in order to prevent the worldwide proliferation of Metal Gear sequels, at any cost.
posted by neckro23 at 9:56 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]

"It's called the Konami code, because it's the only code Konami's still got."
posted by effugas at 2:17 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]

Does anyone know why Kojima and Konami split up like they did? I've seen many timelines explaining what happened, but none that explain why their relationship became so acrimonious. Why did things break down so badly during the run-up to MGSV? Why did Konami become so vicious and petty towards Kojima seemingly all of a sudden?
posted by Sangermaine at 9:48 AM on March 5

I actually found Kojima's obsession with making everything cinematic (to the point of rolling credits after every mission in the Phantom Pain) one of the more annoying parts of MGSIV and V. Not sure I'm convinced a lack of Kojima means anything bad for the franchise.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:48 AM on March 5

Sangermaine, I'm sure someone will find an article with a better explanation, but the impression I've gotten is that the executives at Konami were looking at the profitability of their different divisions and wondered why the hell they were spending so much time wrangling Kojima's tendency to spend lots of time and money, making what he felt were artistic masterpieces, when pachinko is a much more profitable venture.
posted by mikeh at 1:07 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]

I won't support Konami anymore. I'm not even sure why they released this besides they already basically had all the tools left for them. I thought they were going to stop making videogames and focus on their nasty gambling business. I suppose when you own an IP as big as MGS, from an artless capitalist perspective it'd be worth churning out crapware games with the IP attached until it's no longer profitable.

MGS is Kojima's, love it or hate, love or hate him, it's his baby. Without him it's just a bunch of cicada shells collected as they cling to trees entirely missing all the organs and juicy bits that made it a cicada originally.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:14 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]

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