Metal Gear fans have it pretty sweet. Not only is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance due for a Q1 release next year, but Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes was announced and confirmed at PAX as the prologue to a future Metal Gear Solid 5. Can you say “winner?”
Even more recently, Kojima Productions (somewhat infamous for their slow release of information) has let slip that in addition to an open world experience that features a day and night cycle which will heavily influence stealth missions and gameplay, the base-building feature seen in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will make its return in Ground Zeroes. This means Big Boss, the returning protagonist, will have access to a home base that players can build and modify to their liking, and will be able to travel via helicopters between countries and various missions, adding an extra element to strategic gameplay for the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
A ten minute demo of the game was released and highlighted the Fox Engine’s ability to handle lighting and weather, and introduced various elements of the storyline. Kojima has said Fox Engine was created with the intention of being the “best engine in the world,” and if the demo is any indication of the work put in, it arguably might be.
As mentioned, Ground Zeroes will be the first in the Metal Gear Solid series to explore more of an open world format and has been referenced to as a “game without game over.” There are apparently multiple opportunities to silence an alarm or continue a stealth mission even after being found out by the enemy. Big Boss will also be able to use flares to signal helicopters for supply drops and other assistance, and several other vehicles can be hijacked as well.
As far as chronology is concerned between existing games in Metal Gear Solid, such as Metal Gear Solid 5, Ground Zeroes takes its place as the fourth game in the series and seems to follow a younger Big Boss in an attempt to reclaim “past” characters Paz and Chico from a South American prison camp where they are being held for unknown reasons. Other unknowns are the motives and identity of a heavily-scarred man, an apparent leader of an “army without a nation,” who is using Chico for information, and why Chico has a headphone jack/implant in his chest. However, the biggest question may lie in the statement Big Boss makes towards the end: has the series kept you waiting? Is the Metal Gear franchise something that should continue or is this the revival of a tired, yet ever faithful dog? Regardless, with three games coming down the pipe and a new engine in full swing, it seems this is hardly the last we’ll hear of the franchise.