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Found 30 results

  1. Metal Gear Survive Beta Drops in January

    Metal Gear Survive hits store shelves in February, but before the official release Konami will open up a beta in January. the beta will run from January 18-21. The beta will open up the game's co-op to test out the core mechanics (and network stability) of Survive: Base building, crafting, and combat. People who play the beta will be given in-game bonuses in the core game, such as a FOX HOUND name plate, a bandana, and a Metal Gear REX head. The beta will be immediately available to everyone on January 18. Speculation has run rampant about the future of the Metal Gear franchise since the high profile departure of Hideo Kojima. Konami's follow up to Metal Gear Solid V certainly raised some eyebrows when it was announced at E3 2016. The shift to some kind of zombie survival game struck many as odd and the lack of information on the game only caused people to become more uncertain, especially after the guiding force of the franchise split from the company. To give players an idea of what to expect, Konami has released a lengthy, commentated trailer to give an overview of Metal Gear Survive. First off, the story is not canon. It takes place in an alternate reality where following a massive attack at the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V a portal opens up to another dimension, sucking up parts of structures and soldiers from Mother Base. One of the soldiers from the base, the protagonist, manages to avoid being sucked into the wormhole, but is sent into the rift several months later by a shadowy government organization. Once on the other side, the protagonist must hunt for food, build a base, fight off the ever-present zombie threat, and complete missions out in the strange, new world. Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  2. Metal Gear Survive hits store shelves in February, but before the official release Konami will open up a beta in January. the beta will run from January 18-21. The beta will open up the game's co-op to test out the core mechanics (and network stability) of Survive: Base building, crafting, and combat. People who play the beta will be given in-game bonuses in the core game, such as a FOX HOUND name plate, a bandana, and a Metal Gear REX head. The beta will be immediately available to everyone on January 18. Speculation has run rampant about the future of the Metal Gear franchise since the high profile departure of Hideo Kojima. Konami's follow up to Metal Gear Solid V certainly raised some eyebrows when it was announced at E3 2016. The shift to some kind of zombie survival game struck many as odd and the lack of information on the game only caused people to become more uncertain, especially after the guiding force of the franchise split from the company. To give players an idea of what to expect, Konami has released a lengthy, commentated trailer to give an overview of Metal Gear Survive. First off, the story is not canon. It takes place in an alternate reality where following a massive attack at the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V a portal opens up to another dimension, sucking up parts of structures and soldiers from Mother Base. One of the soldiers from the base, the protagonist, manages to avoid being sucked into the wormhole, but is sent into the rift several months later by a shadowy government organization. Once on the other side, the protagonist must hunt for food, build a base, fight off the ever-present zombie threat, and complete missions out in the strange, new world. Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  3. Metal Gear Survive Coming Next February

    The first Metal Gear project without the guidance of series creator Hideo Kojima finally has an official release date. Konami's Twitter account made the announcement and revealed the list of pre-order bonuses players can receive should they buy before release. Metal Gear Survive shifts the focus of the series from single-player stealth to four player co-op. Taking place in the aftermath of Ground Zeroes, the followers of Big Boss are sucked into a dimensional portal to a new world inhabited by zombies. Four of the survivors of this incident fight to scrabble out a living and perhaps find a way home. Survive is different, to be sure. The departure from the series roots following the unamicable split between Hideo Kojima and Konami led to an outcry from fans deriding the title. However, what has been shown of the title shows promise - not necessarily strong stealth gameplay, but perhaps still as a solidly constructed, respectable game. The pre-order bonuses consist of the following: 4 gold plated weapons: Bat, Sledgehammer, Survival Machete and Survival Spear 4 metallic colored survival scarves: Green, Blue, Pink and Silver The thumbs up and happy gestures Mother Base nameplate The BOXMAN [THE ORANGE] accessory Kabuki face paint Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  4. The first Metal Gear project without the guidance of series creator Hideo Kojima finally has an official release date. Konami's Twitter account made the announcement and revealed the list of pre-order bonuses players can receive should they buy before release. Metal Gear Survive shifts the focus of the series from single-player stealth to four player co-op. Taking place in the aftermath of Ground Zeroes, the followers of Big Boss are sucked into a dimensional portal to a new world inhabited by zombies. Four of the survivors of this incident fight to scrabble out a living and perhaps find a way home. Survive is different, to be sure. The departure from the series roots following the unamicable split between Hideo Kojima and Konami led to an outcry from fans deriding the title. However, what has been shown of the title shows promise - not necessarily strong stealth gameplay, but perhaps still as a solidly constructed, respectable game. The pre-order bonuses consist of the following: 4 gold plated weapons: Bat, Sledgehammer, Survival Machete and Survival Spear 4 metallic colored survival scarves: Green, Blue, Pink and Silver The thumbs up and happy gestures Mother Base nameplate The BOXMAN [THE ORANGE] accessory Kabuki face paint Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  5. If The Game Awards 2016 had an category for "Most Enigmatic Trailer" Hideo Kojima's further unveiling of Death Stranding would have taken it home easily. Famous for its E3 reveal featuring a weeping Norman Reedus in the nude holding a baby in the middle of a dried seabed filled with dead whales and crabs (yes, that really happened), Death Stranding left many wondering exactly what Kojima Production's first game might be about. Unfortunately, the new, longer trailer seems to hold few answers, but that hasn't stopped fans from trying to guess as to what it all might mean. The new teaser, which clocks in at about five minutes takes place in an emptied riverbed, reminiscent of the first trailer, with a digitized Guillermo del Toro seeking refuge in a sewer from a conflict raging above. Planes fly over bombed out buildings, an inverted rainbow arcing away from the ground above them. Del Toro can be seen looking back in horror at something happening behind him. We see he has what looks to be a surgery scar running across his forehead and a badge with an image of the United States of America crossed by a massive spiderweb with the word or acronym BRIDGES written above it. As Guillermo del Toro is about to enter the sewers, a tank rumbles over the entrance, covered in large internal organs, human skeletons, and the autonomously moving black ooze omnipresent in both trailers. Soldiers follow behind, similarly streaked with ooze and linked both together and to the tank via a long umbilical cord. As they pass overhead, water begins to return to the riverbed. We finally see that del Toro has been carrying a large canister this entire time, a canister that contains a baby. Guillermo hooks what appears to be his own block umbilical cord into the canister and the baby seems to awaken, opening one eye to stare directly at the camera. A doll cast aside long ago begins floating down the river, into the sewer, bumping into del Toro as it passes. He then stumbles into the sewer as if he expects to see someone just around the corner. The camera follows the doll as it floats through the sewer and begins to fill the surrounding water with an orange glow, a glow that is faintly answered farther down the tunnel. Soldiers step out of the darkness, armed to the teeth and wearing skull masks. They all appear to be attached via black umbilical cords to their leader, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen seems to be able to command his unit wordlessly and without gestures (he gives gestures, but he is clearly standing behind them and outside of their line of sight). With a swipe of his hand, his helmet dematerializes and the umbilical cords between him and the soldiers follow suit, setting them free to hunt the sewers for their prey. The doll bumps into Mikkelsen's leg, its broken body bearing a disturbingly similar scar to the one Norman Reedus bore in the first trailer. The doll's only remaining eye opens, revealing an unnervingly real eye as a scream seems to come from it. Mikkelsen smiles. All of it adds up to whatever Death Stranding is - and there are now a lot of theories as to what this game might be. There are a dizzying number of them. People have proposed everything from nanomachines to quirks of quantum physics leading to the reanimation of the dead to some kind of post-apocalyptic civil war. Personally, I have my own interpretation. Hear me out: There's a number of signs that make me think Death Stranding could be an alien invasion story. The mysterious black ooze seems to be alive, behaving in decidedly unearthly ways. So far, we have only seen two characters who aren't covered by the black ooze, del Toro and Reedus (though he does have a vision of black ooze on his hands). This, combined with the advent of technology no human would really have a desire or see the necessity in inventing (i.e. connecting one's self to other people or technology via a synthetic umbilical cord), indicate that not only is this black ooze alien in origin, but it might even be a method of mind control. Yes, mind control - I believe Death Stranding is going to focus heavily on psychic powers. The compass on Mikkelsen's combat jacket can be seen spinning crazily as he sets his soldiers free from their cords. A psychic link would seemingly explain how he is able to coordinate them from behind without any obvious form of communication. Also, it would fit with the recurring symbol of three eyes, which I believe is a reference to the concept of a psychic/spiritual "third" eye. Perhaps these umbilical babies are means of hiding from psychic enemies or the umbilical link helps them to become inoculated to mind control. Given del Toro's possession of a baby (with a seemingly cruder cord than Mikkelsen's), his medical forehead scar, and the badge on his coat, I'd hazard a guess that he's a scientist working for the BRIDGES organization, maybe even one that specializes in the aliens or in psychic research. There are other little details that I think might indicate aliens. The tank covered in large internal organs seems to indicate either some altercation with a beached whale or perhaps a larger organic creature. I'd speculate that the weirdly receding and returning water that resulted in dead aquatic life in both trailers might be due to super massive ships throwing off tidal patterns by being too close to the planet. A large ship might also explain what del Toro was looking back at in such horror and the oddly inverted rainbow in the sky. Aliens would also explain some of the futuristic-looking technology the trailers display for brief moments, like the glowing handcuffs both del Toro and Reedus wear. Finally, this alien theory would also gel with the older theory that Reedus' character eventually dons the space suit/armor featured in the Kojima Productions logo (the video for which states the game being shown is Death Stranding). Whatever Death Stranding turns out to be, it will certainly be interesting. The internet can't seem to get enough of Hideo Kojima's penchant for weirdness - and that's exactly what the game seems to be tapping into. View full article
  6. If The Game Awards 2016 had an category for "Most Enigmatic Trailer" Hideo Kojima's further unveiling of Death Stranding would have taken it home easily. Famous for its E3 reveal featuring a weeping Norman Reedus in the nude holding a baby in the middle of a dried seabed filled with dead whales and crabs (yes, that really happened), Death Stranding left many wondering exactly what Kojima Production's first game might be about. Unfortunately, the new, longer trailer seems to hold few answers, but that hasn't stopped fans from trying to guess as to what it all might mean. The new teaser, which clocks in at about five minutes takes place in an emptied riverbed, reminiscent of the first trailer, with a digitized Guillermo del Toro seeking refuge in a sewer from a conflict raging above. Planes fly over bombed out buildings, an inverted rainbow arcing away from the ground above them. Del Toro can be seen looking back in horror at something happening behind him. We see he has what looks to be a surgery scar running across his forehead and a badge with an image of the United States of America crossed by a massive spiderweb with the word or acronym BRIDGES written above it. As Guillermo del Toro is about to enter the sewers, a tank rumbles over the entrance, covered in large internal organs, human skeletons, and the autonomously moving black ooze omnipresent in both trailers. Soldiers follow behind, similarly streaked with ooze and linked both together and to the tank via a long umbilical cord. As they pass overhead, water begins to return to the riverbed. We finally see that del Toro has been carrying a large canister this entire time, a canister that contains a baby. Guillermo hooks what appears to be his own block umbilical cord into the canister and the baby seems to awaken, opening one eye to stare directly at the camera. A doll cast aside long ago begins floating down the river, into the sewer, bumping into del Toro as it passes. He then stumbles into the sewer as if he expects to see someone just around the corner. The camera follows the doll as it floats through the sewer and begins to fill the surrounding water with an orange glow, a glow that is faintly answered farther down the tunnel. Soldiers step out of the darkness, armed to the teeth and wearing skull masks. They all appear to be attached via black umbilical cords to their leader, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen seems to be able to command his unit wordlessly and without gestures (he gives gestures, but he is clearly standing behind them and outside of their line of sight). With a swipe of his hand, his helmet dematerializes and the umbilical cords between him and the soldiers follow suit, setting them free to hunt the sewers for their prey. The doll bumps into Mikkelsen's leg, its broken body bearing a disturbingly similar scar to the one Norman Reedus bore in the first trailer. The doll's only remaining eye opens, revealing an unnervingly real eye as a scream seems to come from it. Mikkelsen smiles. All of it adds up to whatever Death Stranding is - and there are now a lot of theories as to what this game might be. There are a dizzying number of them. People have proposed everything from nanomachines to quirks of quantum physics leading to the reanimation of the dead to some kind of post-apocalyptic civil war. Personally, I have my own interpretation. Hear me out: There's a number of signs that make me think Death Stranding could be an alien invasion story. The mysterious black ooze seems to be alive, behaving in decidedly unearthly ways. So far, we have only seen two characters who aren't covered by the black ooze, del Toro and Reedus (though he does have a vision of black ooze on his hands). This, combined with the advent of technology no human would really have a desire or see the necessity in inventing (i.e. connecting one's self to other people or technology via a synthetic umbilical cord), indicate that not only is this black ooze alien in origin, but it might even be a method of mind control. Yes, mind control - I believe Death Stranding is going to focus heavily on psychic powers. The compass on Mikkelsen's combat jacket can be seen spinning crazily as he sets his soldiers free from their cords. A psychic link would seemingly explain how he is able to coordinate them from behind without any obvious form of communication. Also, it would fit with the recurring symbol of three eyes, which I believe is a reference to the concept of a psychic/spiritual "third" eye. Perhaps these umbilical babies are means of hiding from psychic enemies or the umbilical link helps them to become inoculated to mind control. Given del Toro's possession of a baby (with a seemingly cruder cord than Mikkelsen's), his medical forehead scar, and the badge on his coat, I'd hazard a guess that he's a scientist working for the BRIDGES organization, maybe even one that specializes in the aliens or in psychic research. There are other little details that I think might indicate aliens. The tank covered in large internal organs seems to indicate either some altercation with a beached whale or perhaps a larger organic creature. I'd speculate that the weirdly receding and returning water that resulted in dead aquatic life in both trailers might be due to super massive ships throwing off tidal patterns by being too close to the planet. A large ship might also explain what del Toro was looking back at in such horror and the oddly inverted rainbow in the sky. Aliens would also explain some of the futuristic-looking technology the trailers display for brief moments, like the glowing handcuffs both del Toro and Reedus wear. Finally, this alien theory would also gel with the older theory that Reedus' character eventually dons the space suit/armor featured in the Kojima Productions logo (the video for which states the game being shown is Death Stranding). Whatever Death Stranding turns out to be, it will certainly be interesting. The internet can't seem to get enough of Hideo Kojima's penchant for weirdness - and that's exactly what the game seems to be tapping into.
  7. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts. View full article
  8. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts.
  9. Konami, keeping with its pursuit of the lucrative pachinko market in Japan, revealed the existence of a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater pachinko machine. The trailer for the device spans over seven minutes and goes into great detail regarding the mechanics and gampelay pachinko players can expect to see. However, the most intriguing parts of the reveal are the cutscenes. The scenes shown in the trailer appear to be from Metal Gear Solid 3 remade in the Fox Engine on which Metal Gear Solid 5 ran. The trailer claims that the upcoming pachinko machine houses over 124Gb of data for its gameplay and cutscenes. This would be a huge amount of time and investment for pachinko, but might make more sense as a harbinger of a full-on remake in the engine Konami has barely put to use. The cutscenes themselves seem fairly consistent with the original PlayStation 2 title, though there are a few that appear to be created specifically for pachinko mini-games. Keep in mind, this is all speculation. Looking at Konami's recent moves as a company, I think there is reason to believe a remake of Snake Eater is imminent. Konami has been showing a desire to get more out of its properties while avoiding the bloat of costs that can be associated with AAA development. They also haven't remade Metal Gear Solid 3 yet, which seems remarkable given that the entire industry is remaking pretty much everything. With Hideo Kojima gone, Konami could very well be reluctant to put out more original Metal Gear titles. Konami's impressive Fox Engine has been gathering dust, too. All of these signs point toward a willingness to move forward with a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 for modern consoles and the pachinko machine's assets confirm that to me. There is no official word on whether Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is being remade, but I'd be willing to bet it is in development. View full article
  10. Konami, keeping with its pursuit of the lucrative pachinko market in Japan, revealed the existence of a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater pachinko machine. The trailer for the device spans over seven minutes and goes into great detail regarding the mechanics and gampelay pachinko players can expect to see. However, the most intriguing parts of the reveal are the cutscenes. The scenes shown in the trailer appear to be from Metal Gear Solid 3 remade in the Fox Engine on which Metal Gear Solid 5 ran. The trailer claims that the upcoming pachinko machine houses over 124Gb of data for its gameplay and cutscenes. This would be a huge amount of time and investment for pachinko, but might make more sense as a harbinger of a full-on remake in the engine Konami has barely put to use. The cutscenes themselves seem fairly consistent with the original PlayStation 2 title, though there are a few that appear to be created specifically for pachinko mini-games. Keep in mind, this is all speculation. Looking at Konami's recent moves as a company, I think there is reason to believe a remake of Snake Eater is imminent. Konami has been showing a desire to get more out of its properties while avoiding the bloat of costs that can be associated with AAA development. They also haven't remade Metal Gear Solid 3 yet, which seems remarkable given that the entire industry is remaking pretty much everything. With Hideo Kojima gone, Konami could very well be reluctant to put out more original Metal Gear titles. Konami's impressive Fox Engine has been gathering dust, too. All of these signs point toward a willingness to move forward with a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 for modern consoles and the pachinko machine's assets confirm that to me. There is no official word on whether Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is being remade, but I'd be willing to bet it is in development.
  11. It turns out the helmet with a skull that has served as Kojima Productions' logo for the past several months is now a fully realized character. Kojima has been saying that fans of Uncharted will love his studio's mysterious first title, but otherwise remained relatively tight-lipped on the specifics of what the game is going to be like. However, we might have some of our first hard data about the upcoming title. Hideo Kojima tweeted out images of the fully realized version of the helmet-skull character from the Kojima Productions logo. Initially dubbed Ludence on Twitter, Kojima has also called the character Ludens leading to some confusion as to the actual name of the character. In his series of reveal tweets, Kojima stated, "LUDENS, the icon of Kojima Productions. We'll deliver THE NEW PLAY in THE NEW FUTURE with the cutting-edge equipment, technology, & the frontier spirit. The gear he's wearing is the extra-vehicular activity(EVA) creative suit." "I won’t say that it’s an open-world title, but those that enjoy playing today’s AAA titles such as The Division and Uncharted will be able to play it smoothly," said Kojima in an interview with Famitsu "Some parts are very new, so I’ll need to experiment with it. When it gets announced some may think that it’s not as way-out as they had expected, but I’m sure they’ll understand once they play it.” Extrapolating from the full image and Kojima's earlier comments, we might be able to glean some information on the upcoming title from the creator of Metal Gear Solid. Keep in mind pretty much all of this is speculation. If Ludence/Ludens is indeed more than a mascot and instead a full character from Kojima Productions' game, the presence of an EVA-skull-man would mean we are going to be getting into some solidly sci-fi territory (which should be no surprise given the plot of the Metal Gear Solid series and Zone of the Enders). The need for an EVA in the first place implies that the setting is either a highly irradiated Earth or on another inhospitable planet. Given that Kojima refers to it as a "creative suit," that could mean we are in for some kind of crafting or base-building. The comparison to The Division might imply some integrated multiplayer aspect to the title, while Uncharted seems to imply third-person action. Even if all of that conjecture leads nowhere, Ludence/Ludens and crumbs Kojima let fall in interviews have ignited quite a bit of interest in Kojima Productions and their unannounced game.
  12. It turns out the helmet with a skull that has served as Kojima Productions' logo for the past several months is now a fully realized character. Kojima has been saying that fans of Uncharted will love his studio's mysterious first title, but otherwise remained relatively tight-lipped on the specifics of what the game is going to be like. However, we might have some of our first hard data about the upcoming title. Hideo Kojima tweeted out images of the fully realized version of the helmet-skull character from the Kojima Productions logo. Initially dubbed Ludence on Twitter, Kojima has also called the character Ludens leading to some confusion as to the actual name of the character. In his series of reveal tweets, Kojima stated, "LUDENS, the icon of Kojima Productions. We'll deliver THE NEW PLAY in THE NEW FUTURE with the cutting-edge equipment, technology, & the frontier spirit. The gear he's wearing is the extra-vehicular activity(EVA) creative suit." "I won’t say that it’s an open-world title, but those that enjoy playing today’s AAA titles such as The Division and Uncharted will be able to play it smoothly," said Kojima in an interview with Famitsu "Some parts are very new, so I’ll need to experiment with it. When it gets announced some may think that it’s not as way-out as they had expected, but I’m sure they’ll understand once they play it.” Extrapolating from the full image and Kojima's earlier comments, we might be able to glean some information on the upcoming title from the creator of Metal Gear Solid. Keep in mind pretty much all of this is speculation. If Ludence/Ludens is indeed more than a mascot and instead a full character from Kojima Productions' game, the presence of an EVA-skull-man would mean we are going to be getting into some solidly sci-fi territory (which should be no surprise given the plot of the Metal Gear Solid series and Zone of the Enders). The need for an EVA in the first place implies that the setting is either a highly irradiated Earth or on another inhospitable planet. Given that Kojima refers to it as a "creative suit," that could mean we are in for some kind of crafting or base-building. The comparison to The Division might imply some integrated multiplayer aspect to the title, while Uncharted seems to imply third-person action. Even if all of that conjecture leads nowhere, Ludence/Ludens and crumbs Kojima let fall in interviews have ignited quite a bit of interest in Kojima Productions and their unannounced game. View full article
  13. Though it has been several months since Metal Gear Solid V released, the online competitive multiplayer that released on consoles is only just making its way to PC... sort of. The online portion of Metal Gear Solid V will be entering a beta phase on Steam later today to iron out any unforeseen kinks that could be lurking in the PC version's multiplayer. The beta should be relatively short, though Konami hasn't stated when Metal Gear Online will officially release. Konami's community manager, Robert Peeler, announced via Twitch that the beta should be going live at 10pm PST tonight, though it may be pushed back later by a couple of hours if issues arise. Players need to opt into the beta by adjusting their beta preferences for Metal Gear Solid V in Steam. On top of all that, a new map inspired by Mother Base will be added to Metal Gear Online and Konami is giving players the power to help name it. Suggestions need to adhere to the following naming convention: A color followed by a proper noun for a structure (i.e. Ivory Citadel, Silver Keep, etc.). Player suggestions can be sent via Twitter to @MetalGearOnline. View full article
  14. Metal Gear Online Arrives on PC Today

    Though it has been several months since Metal Gear Solid V released, the online competitive multiplayer that released on consoles is only just making its way to PC... sort of. The online portion of Metal Gear Solid V will be entering a beta phase on Steam later today to iron out any unforeseen kinks that could be lurking in the PC version's multiplayer. The beta should be relatively short, though Konami hasn't stated when Metal Gear Online will officially release. Konami's community manager, Robert Peeler, announced via Twitch that the beta should be going live at 10pm PST tonight, though it may be pushed back later by a couple of hours if issues arise. Players need to opt into the beta by adjusting their beta preferences for Metal Gear Solid V in Steam. On top of all that, a new map inspired by Mother Base will be added to Metal Gear Online and Konami is giving players the power to help name it. Suggestions need to adhere to the following naming convention: A color followed by a proper noun for a structure (i.e. Ivory Citadel, Silver Keep, etc.). Player suggestions can be sent via Twitter to @MetalGearOnline.
  15. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, once thought to be the conclusion to the entire Metal Gear Solid franchise, received almost universal acclaim when it released in 2008. Hideo Kojima's creative vision of a near future in which both government and private oversight would create and maintain a perpetual war machine for profits seemed plausible enough at the time to serve as a dire warning of a new world to come. Does it hold up eight years later as one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod Outro Music: Metal Gear Solid 4 'Never Go Away' by Chris ~ Amaterasu, Claire Yaxley, Dj Mystix (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03189) New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  16. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, once thought to be the conclusion to the entire Metal Gear Solid franchise, received almost universal acclaim when it released in 2008. Hideo Kojima's creative vision of a near future in which both government and private oversight would create and maintain a perpetual war machine for profits seemed plausible enough at the time to serve as a dire warning of a new world to come. Does it hold up eight years later as one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod Outro Music: Metal Gear Solid 4 'Never Go Away' by Chris ~ Amaterasu, Claire Yaxley, Dj Mystix (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03189) New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  17. After months of wondering what has been going on behind the scenes at Konami, Hideo Kojima has officially broken ties with the company. The developer of the Metal Gear franchise announced the formation of a new development studio called Kojima Productions with its stated goal to "push the boundaries in innovation and ignite consumer interest worldwide." Alongside the formation of Kojima Productions, the developer took to the internet with Sony's Andrew House to make public a partnership between Sony and the newly formed Kojima Productions. Watching the somewhat subdued announcement video you can definitely tell how excited both Kojima and House are to be able to formally announce their partnership. Though Kojima's new studio is independent, the partnership with Sony has made the as yet unannounced first title from the company a collaborative effort between Sony and Kojima Productions. The working hope is that Kojima's new game will launch an entirely new franchise for PlayStation. If the name of Kojima's new studio sounds familiar, that's because it was the name of Kojima's internal studio under Konami. Kojima revealed the studio's logo stating that it's intended to look like a a medieval suit of armor as well as a space suit, embodying the idea of taking aim "at the new world with the latest technology and [a] pioneering spirit." View full article
  18. After months of wondering what has been going on behind the scenes at Konami, Hideo Kojima has officially broken ties with the company. The developer of the Metal Gear franchise announced the formation of a new development studio called Kojima Productions with its stated goal to "push the boundaries in innovation and ignite consumer interest worldwide." Alongside the formation of Kojima Productions, the developer took to the internet with Sony's Andrew House to make public a partnership between Sony and the newly formed Kojima Productions. Watching the somewhat subdued announcement video you can definitely tell how excited both Kojima and House are to be able to formally announce their partnership. Though Kojima's new studio is independent, the partnership with Sony has made the as yet unannounced first title from the company a collaborative effort between Sony and Kojima Productions. The working hope is that Kojima's new game will launch an entirely new franchise for PlayStation. If the name of Kojima's new studio sounds familiar, that's because it was the name of Kojima's internal studio under Konami. Kojima revealed the studio's logo stating that it's intended to look like a a medieval suit of armor as well as a space suit, embodying the idea of taking aim "at the new world with the latest technology and [a] pioneering spirit."
  19. In a report from French site Gameblog that was subsequently supported by Eurogamer, Konami has no plans in the works for any future console or PC titles beyond the upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer 2016. This comes on the heels of the departure of Konami's worldwide head of technology Julien Merceron. Merceron reportedly left because Konami is not planning to utilize the Fox Engine, a truly impressive piece of technology that powers Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The report also states that the Metal Gear title confirmed by Konami earlier this year is not in any phase of development. The only other game in production at this time appears to be Metal Gear Online. This seems to be part of Konami's shift toward mobile and pachinko gambling machines. Many point toward the success of mobile titles like Dragon Collection for the shift, which saw a bigger return on investment than previous AAA games. Keep in mind that this is not publicly confirmed by Konami and isn't likely to be any time soon. However, if accurate, it is a colossal shame to see the Fox Engine languish unused. Given the recent fallout between Hideo Kojima and Konami, and the reports of harsh working conditions for the development branch of Konami, it wouldn't be surprising if the rumor was true. View full article
  20. Rumor: Konami Stops AAA Development

    In a report from French site Gameblog that was subsequently supported by Eurogamer, Konami has no plans in the works for any future console or PC titles beyond the upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer 2016. This comes on the heels of the departure of Konami's worldwide head of technology Julien Merceron. Merceron reportedly left because Konami is not planning to utilize the Fox Engine, a truly impressive piece of technology that powers Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The report also states that the Metal Gear title confirmed by Konami earlier this year is not in any phase of development. The only other game in production at this time appears to be Metal Gear Online. This seems to be part of Konami's shift toward mobile and pachinko gambling machines. Many point toward the success of mobile titles like Dragon Collection for the shift, which saw a bigger return on investment than previous AAA games. Keep in mind that this is not publicly confirmed by Konami and isn't likely to be any time soon. However, if accurate, it is a colossal shame to see the Fox Engine languish unused. Given the recent fallout between Hideo Kojima and Konami, and the reports of harsh working conditions for the development branch of Konami, it wouldn't be surprising if the rumor was true.
  21. What do we have when all that remains is the pain of loss? Metal Gear Solid V explores the depths of rage and sadness that people will sink to in order to try to fill the gaping hole of absence in their lives. Every character is broken and left seething for revenge, but not even revenge can satisfy the void that has been forced on them. The cycle perpetuates itself and the phantom pain never stops. Metal Gear Solid as a series speaks to that unending series of cause and effect and V exists as the chain that ties three decades of games together into a single whole. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain represents a new standard in stealth-action gameplay. Taking place in a relatively open world, players often have dozens of options when it comes to which route they’d like to take to infiltrate an enemy stronghold. Even better, players can choose how to develop their arsenals by using the resources they procure while on missions. These choices hold profound impact when it comes to how players want to tackle their time in The Phantom Pain. Do you invest in ever more deadly weaponry? Or do you trick out your non-lethal options? Maybe you eschew both of those options and focus on upgrading the gear for your support buddies. Every time you go into the field, you can choose to take a buddy with you. These range from a horse to a ridable death-robot. Depending on what they have equipped they provide different tactical options that can come in incredibly useful. All of that probably sounds like a really big departure for the series, and it is, but while introducing so many new elements the core gameplay of sneaking remains intact and familiar. Across the board, the gameplay has been improved to such an extent that I am shocked at how close I am to calling it perfect. Perhaps the biggest contributor to this is the new Reflex Mode which slows down time when you are noticed in order to give you a chance to take out the person who saw you before they can raise the alarm. This alleviates a huge amount of frustration from the gameplay loop that could be irrevocably shattered at a moment’s notice in previous titles. It is amazing amounts of fun to stealth around guard encampments and pull off an unseen prisoner extraction or sabotage communications equipment. Even if you’ve reached the end of your rope during a frustrating mission and decide to go in guns blazing, the actual action feels great, too. Beyond that, there are just so many fun, cool things that you can do. Scattered over the world are cassette tapes for your trusty Sony Walkman that play classic hits from the 80s (or timeline breaking remasters from the late 90s) that you can play while infiltrating and neutralizing targets or even set your helicopter to play when it comes in to pick you up. Few things are as sweet as listening to an assault chopper blast “Maneater” while coming in for a hot extraction. You could spend ten to twenty minutes to traverse the huge game world to get to your next objective or you could call in an expensive helicopter to bring you to a different drop point or you could hop in a box and ship yourself to your objective point. Or what about an option that makes your horse poop on command? Heck, there is even an animal collecting subgame that can unlock a peaceful nature preserve area to visit. The only areas of gameplay that I found particularly underwhelming were the base-building elements which connects to the asynchronous multiplayer. After players progress a bit into The Phantom Pain, they’ll unlock the ability to upgrade Mother Base, a sprawling structure in the middle of the ocean. Building up Mother Base and recruiting personnel is an important way of unlocking new gear to design, providing new support functions like area bombardments, or getting accurate intel on enemy installations. It is a cool concept that works for the most part. Unfortunately, Mother Base as a place to visit is large and vapid. It doesn’t feel like a place you want to spend much time in and you are never shown Big Boss just hanging out with his comrades and friends. There was an opportunity here to really connect with the people players recruit in the field, but that doesn’t really come together as much as it could have. About halfway through the game, players unlock the ability to both raid other player’s Mother Bases and construct additional bases elsewhere around the globe. You get one forward operating base (FOB) for free, but any more cost real money, which feels like the specter of microtransactions looming over a game where they feel grossly out of place. To top it off, infiltrating other players bases doesn’t feel very fun or important. There is the shadow of what could have been a cool idea there, but it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out at all. The rewards are nice, but rarely feel worth the enormous hassle it can be to successfully infiltrate an enemy base, especially when it feels like the gameplay is slightly tweaked against you after having been accustomed to how the rest of the game plays. You are often better off tackling one of the 157 side-ops missions to earn some additional resources. Aside from the underwhelming aspects of Mother Base, I would recommend Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to most people (along with the rest of the franchise as it is a fascinating look into the history of game design) on the strength of the core gameplay experience alone. However, the same openness that ushers in a new era of stealth gameplay for the Metal Gear franchise is saddled with a narrative still stuck in more constrained terms. The structure of the game and the structure of the narrative just don’t seem to meld together very well. Dramatic tension can be completely slack one minute and pulled taut the next, leading to the storytelling equivalent of whiplash. Each scene taken by itself is usually very well done when taken on its own terms, creating some really compelling and memorable moments. However, large segments of Metal Gear Solid V’s runtime that feel like treading water, and it absolutely kills whatever forward momentum the story has managed to build up. This leads to some reveals and confrontations that feel very sudden and unearned. The Phantom Pain would have been less fun if it had been more confined, but the story would have benefited from the more restrictive design. It's a strange catch-22. This brings me to one of the problems with The Phantom Pain: If you didn’t read an encyclopedia on the history of Metal Gear and can’t rattle off how The Boss is different from Big Boss you are going to be in for a world of confusion. Stepping into the series for the first time with Metal Gear Solid V will be doing both yourself and the franchise a huge disservice. The gameplay will still be excellent, but you will be hard-pressed to understand anything that goes on. Heck, even I had trouble wrapping my brain around all the dramatic monologues to puzzle together the overarching plot and I love the Metal Gear Solid games. One of the oddest parts of the narrative is the almost shocking lack of dialogue from Big Boss as voiced by Kiefer Sutherland. There are many parts of the game where you expect some kind of vocal response from the legendary Big Boss, but all you get is a grunt or silence. This is made all the more irritating because when Big Boss does take an opportunity to talk, Sutherland performs admirably with a lot of depth and nuance. There are just a number of pivotal moments where there is no dialogue to be had and it comes across as incredibly strange. That the narrative can’t seem to embrace the open design is a shame, because the theming and presentation of The Phantom Pain is some of the best video games can offer. A grand tragedy plays out as we participate, a cog in a grander plan. We see men and women broken by the machine of modern war. It is a terrible thing, and yet we find joy and wonder and beauty in all of it. One of the unavoidable topics when discussing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has become the controversial character Quiet. I held off making judgement calls until I saw the final credits roll. Perhaps Kojima was simply biding his time for a full revelation of her character? Having completed the game, I can now state for certain that Quiet's design never adequately pays off. I thought there would be some last minute shenanigans that might justify the skimpy character design, but she seems to exist to contort herself for the benefit of players who want to stare at her lady bits. That is a terrible shame because Quiet is an interesting side character with depth, but she gets boiled down to her body as her most important attribute - both explicitly in the story and implicitly by the way she is framed. We need to talk about the concept of male gaze because that idea can be seen in full effect in almost every scene involving Quiet. In the most basic terms, male gaze is the structuring of a visual medium around the assumption that it is for men. In cutscenes involving Quiet or even her idle animations that are sometimes placed in front of the player, the camera is always strategically placed to ogle her. Sometimes it focuses on her butt, other times her breasts, but she seems to be constantly framed by the game in weirdly sexual ways for no reason beyond pure titillation. If you want some clear examples of what I mean by this, I suggest checking out Tactical Modding’s brilliant character model swap of Quiet and Revolver Ocelot. The videos demonstrate the importance of framing; could we really take Revolver Ocelot as seriously if the camera was constantly zooming in on his buttocks or chest? Now, I’m not going to say that video games as a medium are free from that kind of framing. With the success of games like Honeypop, there is clearly a demand for games that aim directly for players who want to ogle and that’s fine. But when we hold up a game/series as one of the best the medium has to offer, we really need to give that attitude serious consideration. What this sort of framing does is send a very clear message to people that says, “This is a guy game. For guys. About guy things. Like war and violence and sometimes crying (but only when people die).” That’s a really alienating message and a really disappointing one when Metal Gear Solid 3 and 4 had some of the best female characters the medium can offer in the form of The Boss and Meryl Silverburgh. There is nothing wrong with making a game about issues that deal specifically with the male experience, but you can do that without demeaning and overly sexualizing female characters. Heck, you can even make such a game that also invites women into the experience! Now, maybe there are some people who have no issue with how Quiet was designed. That’s cool. However, I’ve had several people (both men and women) approach me while I was reviewing Metal Gear Solid V who were thoroughly put off by her design alone and had no desire to engage with it. That’s a problem that could have been solved by showing a little more respect to the character. On top of that, representation seems to be a bit lacking. For a game that largely takes place in Afghanistan and South Africa, there is a surprising absence of notable Middle Eastern or South African characters. This could have been a really interesting plot point as The Phantom Pain takes place during a period when Apartheid was still in full effect, so it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Beyond that, Quiet represents as the only female character in the game aside from two others, one of whom is a literal woman in a refrigerator trope and the other who doesn’t really count because spoilers. Conclusion: All of the things I mention here about narrative structure, male gaze, and representation matter. They’re the things that really hold The Phantom Pain back from being a video game masterpiece, despite nearly perfect gameplay. Those issues matter when you begin talking about what makes a modern video game a timeless classic. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that Metal Gear Solid V isn’t worth playing. On the contrary, I still thoroughly recommend it as a great game that falls short of being what it could otherwise have been. The feat of long-term game design that Hideo Kojima pulled off in the Metal Gear franchise is nothing short of spectacular. Metal Gear Solid V fits like a puzzle piece into a space we didn’t know existed, tying in Peace Walker, Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid, and even the original Metal Gear. It truly feels like a farewell to the franchise from Kojima. The series is so unabashedly him, full of strange quirks, attention to detail, and oddly placed homages. He managed to be an auteur in the AAA game design space during a period that often leaves large developers faceless and corporate. Kojima’s unique place in the industry and the overwhelming likelihood that The Phantom Pain will be his last work on Metal Gear Solid renders the triumph of his swan song bittersweet. There might still be a future for the franchise, but that future probably won’t include Hideo Kojima. In a way, the evolution of the Metal Gear series up to this point has been the evolution of games as a whole. The final entry demonstrates how far we have come, while also showing that we still have a number of things that could be miles better. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was reviewed on PC and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  22. Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

    What do we have when all that remains is the pain of loss? Metal Gear Solid V explores the depths of rage and sadness that people will sink to in order to try to fill the gaping hole of absence in their lives. Every character is broken and left seething for revenge, but not even revenge can satisfy the void that has been forced on them. The cycle perpetuates itself and the phantom pain never stops. Metal Gear Solid as a series speaks to that unending series of cause and effect and V exists as the chain that ties three decades of games together into a single whole. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain represents a new standard in stealth-action gameplay. Taking place in a relatively open world, players often have dozens of options when it comes to which route they’d like to take to infiltrate an enemy stronghold. Even better, players can choose how to develop their arsenals by using the resources they procure while on missions. These choices hold profound impact when it comes to how players want to tackle their time in The Phantom Pain. Do you invest in ever more deadly weaponry? Or do you trick out your non-lethal options? Maybe you eschew both of those options and focus on upgrading the gear for your support buddies. Every time you go into the field, you can choose to take a buddy with you. These range from a horse to a ridable death-robot. Depending on what they have equipped they provide different tactical options that can come in incredibly useful. All of that probably sounds like a really big departure for the series, and it is, but while introducing so many new elements the core gameplay of sneaking remains intact and familiar. Across the board, the gameplay has been improved to such an extent that I am shocked at how close I am to calling it perfect. Perhaps the biggest contributor to this is the new Reflex Mode which slows down time when you are noticed in order to give you a chance to take out the person who saw you before they can raise the alarm. This alleviates a huge amount of frustration from the gameplay loop that could be irrevocably shattered at a moment’s notice in previous titles. It is amazing amounts of fun to stealth around guard encampments and pull off an unseen prisoner extraction or sabotage communications equipment. Even if you’ve reached the end of your rope during a frustrating mission and decide to go in guns blazing, the actual action feels great, too. Beyond that, there are just so many fun, cool things that you can do. Scattered over the world are cassette tapes for your trusty Sony Walkman that play classic hits from the 80s (or timeline breaking remasters from the late 90s) that you can play while infiltrating and neutralizing targets or even set your helicopter to play when it comes in to pick you up. Few things are as sweet as listening to an assault chopper blast “Maneater” while coming in for a hot extraction. You could spend ten to twenty minutes to traverse the huge game world to get to your next objective or you could call in an expensive helicopter to bring you to a different drop point or you could hop in a box and ship yourself to your objective point. Or what about an option that makes your horse poop on command? Heck, there is even an animal collecting subgame that can unlock a peaceful nature preserve area to visit. The only areas of gameplay that I found particularly underwhelming were the base-building elements which connects to the asynchronous multiplayer. After players progress a bit into The Phantom Pain, they’ll unlock the ability to upgrade Mother Base, a sprawling structure in the middle of the ocean. Building up Mother Base and recruiting personnel is an important way of unlocking new gear to design, providing new support functions like area bombardments, or getting accurate intel on enemy installations. It is a cool concept that works for the most part. Unfortunately, Mother Base as a place to visit is large and vapid. It doesn’t feel like a place you want to spend much time in and you are never shown Big Boss just hanging out with his comrades and friends. There was an opportunity here to really connect with the people players recruit in the field, but that doesn’t really come together as much as it could have. About halfway through the game, players unlock the ability to both raid other player’s Mother Bases and construct additional bases elsewhere around the globe. You get one forward operating base (FOB) for free, but any more cost real money, which feels like the specter of microtransactions looming over a game where they feel grossly out of place. To top it off, infiltrating other players bases doesn’t feel very fun or important. There is the shadow of what could have been a cool idea there, but it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out at all. The rewards are nice, but rarely feel worth the enormous hassle it can be to successfully infiltrate an enemy base, especially when it feels like the gameplay is slightly tweaked against you after having been accustomed to how the rest of the game plays. You are often better off tackling one of the 157 side-ops missions to earn some additional resources. Aside from the underwhelming aspects of Mother Base, I would recommend Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to most people (along with the rest of the franchise as it is a fascinating look into the history of game design) on the strength of the core gameplay experience alone. However, the same openness that ushers in a new era of stealth gameplay for the Metal Gear franchise is saddled with a narrative still stuck in more constrained terms. The structure of the game and the structure of the narrative just don’t seem to meld together very well. Dramatic tension can be completely slack one minute and pulled taut the next, leading to the storytelling equivalent of whiplash. Each scene taken by itself is usually very well done when taken on its own terms, creating some really compelling and memorable moments. However, large segments of Metal Gear Solid V’s runtime that feel like treading water, and it absolutely kills whatever forward momentum the story has managed to build up. This leads to some reveals and confrontations that feel very sudden and unearned. The Phantom Pain would have been less fun if it had been more confined, but the story would have benefited from the more restrictive design. It's a strange catch-22. This brings me to one of the problems with The Phantom Pain: If you didn’t read an encyclopedia on the history of Metal Gear and can’t rattle off how The Boss is different from Big Boss you are going to be in for a world of confusion. Stepping into the series for the first time with Metal Gear Solid V will be doing both yourself and the franchise a huge disservice. The gameplay will still be excellent, but you will be hard-pressed to understand anything that goes on. Heck, even I had trouble wrapping my brain around all the dramatic monologues to puzzle together the overarching plot and I love the Metal Gear Solid games. One of the oddest parts of the narrative is the almost shocking lack of dialogue from Big Boss as voiced by Kiefer Sutherland. There are many parts of the game where you expect some kind of vocal response from the legendary Big Boss, but all you get is a grunt or silence. This is made all the more irritating because when Big Boss does take an opportunity to talk, Sutherland performs admirably with a lot of depth and nuance. There are just a number of pivotal moments where there is no dialogue to be had and it comes across as incredibly strange. That the narrative can’t seem to embrace the open design is a shame, because the theming and presentation of The Phantom Pain is some of the best video games can offer. A grand tragedy plays out as we participate, a cog in a grander plan. We see men and women broken by the machine of modern war. It is a terrible thing, and yet we find joy and wonder and beauty in all of it. One of the unavoidable topics when discussing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has become the controversial character Quiet. I held off making judgement calls until I saw the final credits roll. Perhaps Kojima was simply biding his time for a full revelation of her character? Having completed the game, I can now state for certain that Quiet's design never adequately pays off. I thought there would be some last minute shenanigans that might justify the skimpy character design, but she seems to exist to contort herself for the benefit of players who want to stare at her lady bits. That is a terrible shame because Quiet is an interesting side character with depth, but she gets boiled down to her body as her most important attribute - both explicitly in the story and implicitly by the way she is framed. We need to talk about the concept of male gaze because that idea can be seen in full effect in almost every scene involving Quiet. In the most basic terms, male gaze is the structuring of a visual medium around the assumption that it is for men. In cutscenes involving Quiet or even her idle animations that are sometimes placed in front of the player, the camera is always strategically placed to ogle her. Sometimes it focuses on her butt, other times her breasts, but she seems to be constantly framed by the game in weirdly sexual ways for no reason beyond pure titillation. If you want some clear examples of what I mean by this, I suggest checking out Tactical Modding’s brilliant character model swap of Quiet and Revolver Ocelot. The videos demonstrate the importance of framing; could we really take Revolver Ocelot as seriously if the camera was constantly zooming in on his buttocks or chest? Now, I’m not going to say that video games as a medium are free from that kind of framing. With the success of games like Honeypop, there is clearly a demand for games that aim directly for players who want to ogle and that’s fine. But when we hold up a game/series as one of the best the medium has to offer, we really need to give that attitude serious consideration. What this sort of framing does is send a very clear message to people that says, “This is a guy game. For guys. About guy things. Like war and violence and sometimes crying (but only when people die).” That’s a really alienating message and a really disappointing one when Metal Gear Solid 3 and 4 had some of the best female characters the medium can offer in the form of The Boss and Meryl Silverburgh. There is nothing wrong with making a game about issues that deal specifically with the male experience, but you can do that without demeaning and overly sexualizing female characters. Heck, you can even make such a game that also invites women into the experience! Now, maybe there are some people who have no issue with how Quiet was designed. That’s cool. However, I’ve had several people (both men and women) approach me while I was reviewing Metal Gear Solid V who were thoroughly put off by her design alone and had no desire to engage with it. That’s a problem that could have been solved by showing a little more respect to the character. On top of that, representation seems to be a bit lacking. For a game that largely takes place in Afghanistan and South Africa, there is a surprising absence of notable Middle Eastern or South African characters. This could have been a really interesting plot point as The Phantom Pain takes place during a period when Apartheid was still in full effect, so it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Beyond that, Quiet represents as the only female character in the game aside from two others, one of whom is a literal woman in a refrigerator trope and the other who doesn’t really count because spoilers. Conclusion: All of the things I mention here about narrative structure, male gaze, and representation matter. They’re the things that really hold The Phantom Pain back from being a video game masterpiece, despite nearly perfect gameplay. Those issues matter when you begin talking about what makes a modern video game a timeless classic. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that Metal Gear Solid V isn’t worth playing. On the contrary, I still thoroughly recommend it as a great game that falls short of being what it could otherwise have been. The feat of long-term game design that Hideo Kojima pulled off in the Metal Gear franchise is nothing short of spectacular. Metal Gear Solid V fits like a puzzle piece into a space we didn’t know existed, tying in Peace Walker, Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid, and even the original Metal Gear. It truly feels like a farewell to the franchise from Kojima. The series is so unabashedly him, full of strange quirks, attention to detail, and oddly placed homages. He managed to be an auteur in the AAA game design space during a period that often leaves large developers faceless and corporate. Kojima’s unique place in the industry and the overwhelming likelihood that The Phantom Pain will be his last work on Metal Gear Solid renders the triumph of his swan song bittersweet. There might still be a future for the franchise, but that future probably won’t include Hideo Kojima. In a way, the evolution of the Metal Gear series up to this point has been the evolution of games as a whole. The final entry demonstrates how far we have come, while also showing that we still have a number of things that could be miles better. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was reviewed on PC and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  23. Konami has released what some are considering to be Kojima's final debriefing on the Metal Gear franchise. Despite recent events that have indicated that Kojima and Konami have had a major falling out, the video doesn't allow that rancor to seep in to its message. The video is a thank you, both to Hideo Kojima and to those who have been touched by his work. It also carries with it an air of farewell. The video starts off with a series of prominent people in the video game industry who have worked with Hideo Kojima talking about his passion and skills. It's something that could seem really self-congratulatory if Hideo Kojima wasn't a genius (and I really do think he's a genius) when it comes to understanding the evolving landscape of game design over the last 28 years. For almost three decades he's been making games that are not only well-made, but resonate and mean something to a large number of people. A little over half-way through, the video takes a much more personal turn and hits an area that I think a lot of people who are involved with Extra Life really care about. Kojima visits the family of a boy named Sean who passed away from cancer last February. It will probably make you tear up a little. It gives you a glimpse at what Metal Gear means to the people who play it and what drives a person like Kojima. The entire video is something that could feel trite or forced or corporate, but I think that it works entirely because Hideo Kojima is genuine. He's incredibly talented and sincerely wants to thank the people who play his work. That means a lot to him and I think he means a lot to us. So, thank you, Hideo Kojima. I look forward to whatever you do next. View full article
  24. Hideo Kojima Says Goodbye to Metal Gear

    Konami has released what some are considering to be Kojima's final debriefing on the Metal Gear franchise. Despite recent events that have indicated that Kojima and Konami have had a major falling out, the video doesn't allow that rancor to seep in to its message. The video is a thank you, both to Hideo Kojima and to those who have been touched by his work. It also carries with it an air of farewell. The video starts off with a series of prominent people in the video game industry who have worked with Hideo Kojima talking about his passion and skills. It's something that could seem really self-congratulatory if Hideo Kojima wasn't a genius (and I really do think he's a genius) when it comes to understanding the evolving landscape of game design over the last 28 years. For almost three decades he's been making games that are not only well-made, but resonate and mean something to a large number of people. A little over half-way through, the video takes a much more personal turn and hits an area that I think a lot of people who are involved with Extra Life really care about. Kojima visits the family of a boy named Sean who passed away from cancer last February. It will probably make you tear up a little. It gives you a glimpse at what Metal Gear means to the people who play it and what drives a person like Kojima. The entire video is something that could feel trite or forced or corporate, but I think that it works entirely because Hideo Kojima is genuine. He's incredibly talented and sincerely wants to thank the people who play his work. That means a lot to him and I think he means a lot to us. So, thank you, Hideo Kojima. I look forward to whatever you do next.
  25. The Twisted Design of P.T.

    During gamescom 2014, a playable teaser for the upcoming psychological horror game Silent Hills was released on the PlayStation 4. The project is a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. I finally had a chance to play through the demo this week and, while P.T. certainly nails key horror genre elements, it has a number of baffling design choices. P.T. seems to take cues from games like Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The majority of the interactions players have with the environment is simply walking around. Essentially, the player character is a passive observer to the disturbing scenes and sounds of the environment. Players are able to move and look at different objects with the camera. A cursory examination of the different buttons reveal that none of them seem to perform any function, with the exception of a slight zoom of the camera by pressing the right analogue stick. This is important because it turns out the only way to progress in P.T. is by looking at specific objects. The problem is that P.T. occasionally changes the rules. There is one occasion in P.T. when players are supposed to intuitively know that they need to press a specific button while looking at an object. Unfortunately, the game has already established that the buttons serve no function, which makes it all the more frustrating that this is one of only two times in P.T. where players are required to press a button. At one point the demo requires players to find several scraps of a ripped up photograph. This would be fine if it was clear that the player should be looking for scraps. For a while I assumed that I was just supposed to be looking at unique objects in the hallway, because I found two by zooming in on a teddy bear and a potted plant. It wasn’t until I looked up a guide online that it was clear that I was looking for small, hidden pieces of that picture. Persistent players will eventually reach one of the most perplexing requirements of the demo; a part which has been commonly referred to as the “final puzzle.” To proceed, players must have a headset or microphone plugged into the PS4 controller. There is no indication for this; presumably players were just supposed to figure this out on their own. With the headset/mic in hand, players have to hear or compel a baby to laugh three times by looking at various objects or moving in certain ways. There are a variety of strategies that people say work, but all of them are pretty dang obscure (there are over eleven methods of unlocking the end of P.T. in this IGN walkthrough). Kojima is known for keeping his projects a surprise until just the right time, and has even admitted that he thought it would take the internet longer to figure out the secret to unlocking the ending of the demo. To me, this seems like confusing design for the sake of being mysterious. Perhaps that was entirely the point and I am being hard on P.T. because I don’t understand it. But I think that there are some decisions here that need to be called out. In particular, the ending of P.T. is not a puzzle, nor is any part of P.T. for that matter. Inconsistent controls and obscure requirements for what happens to be plugged into the PS4 controller aren’t puzzles. Good puzzles are like a Rubik’s cube. Most people understand how a Rubik’s cube works and what the goal is almost from the instant they pick it up. It is intuitive. The puzzle is figuring out how to use the simple mechanics of the cube in order to solve it. But what if there was occasionally a hidden rule to Rubik’s cubes? What if it was decided that at a very specific point in solving one you had to make a turn of the cube using only one hand? What if in order to officially have solved the cube you had to do your best impression of Freddie Mercury? Now imagine that you eliminate the Rubik’s cube and replace it with wandering around a creepy hallway. There is no puzzle there, just a weirdo having a hand around and occasionally acting like a terrible Freddie Mercury impersonator. That’s what trying to play through P.T. is like. Just because something is difficult to figure out doesn’t make it a puzzle. One of the reasons I am hounding this issue is because genuinely ruins the experience of being freaked out. Being trapped in a haunted hallway is terrifying. Being trapped in a haunted hallway where nothing happens for twenty minutes while you are trying to figure out how to get a door to open is just frustrating. In video games, frustration trumps horror. This comic by artist Bryce Corbett (warning: harsh language) perfectly sums up how many people have experienced the teaser for Silent Hills. The design creates unintended frustration, and that seems to me like a fundamental flaw. It might seem like I am being a bit hard on P.T. Like I said earlier, the atmosphere is electrifyingly uncomfortable. The environment consists of a hallway, a cement chamber, and a bathroom. Using that limited scope, it deftly manages to be unnerving, demonic, and horrifying without relying overly much on jump scares. Baby wails, guttural muttering, static-laced radio broadcasts regarding murder, bugs crawling on moldering walls, and piles of trash on the floor all work together to make the area uncomfortable. There are little details like bars on the windows, an abundance of abstract paintings, a swinging ceiling light that give the affair a sense of surreal dread. Despite my concerns, I am optimistic about a new Silent Hill game. I am hoping that most of the design decisions in the teaser reflect Kojima’s penchant for dramatic reveals and secrecy, not his vision of the full game. Honestly, I call out Kojima as being the largest name attached to the project with a history of game design. It could be that these decisions came from Guillermo del Toro. Who knows? Either way, the atmosphere of an exceedingly terrifying experience is already in place, there just needs to be a competent game behind the visuals and sound to back it all up with something that doesn’t rely on guesswork, luck, and strategy guides.