Surely it’s time to speak about the elephant in the room. We could continue to ignore how it has come barrelling through the far wall and is now not-so-stealthily hiding in the corner. It’s there in full view for all to see and sooner or later we’re just going to have to admit it; we’re going to have to talk about Metal Gear Survive.
The Metal Gear series has been around since the 1980s, but it really came into its own in the mid-90s with the genre defining Metal Gear Solid. It took the stealth gameplay of the previous titles and vastly expanded upon it throughout a huge 3D military complex. It also added long, story-driven, cuts scenes which are now common place in gaming. The game set a benchmark so high that even its own sequel couldn’t surpass it. As a whole, the series revolves around political corruption, espionage and war in what is essentially an intricate spy story which spans generations of character development. As zany as the series has often become, featuring outlandish science fiction and all manner of bizarre weaponry, it was always more or less grounded in reality. A loose reality, yes; but still one that played by the rule set that it had initially put into place. The problem now is that those rules have been broken.
Metal Gear Survive, the latest in the long running series from Konami, was announced in August of this year and could be tagged as one of the most ignored reveal trailers of all time. It showed a platoon of soldiers, transported through a portal into a world of zombie-like creatures, insinuating that these characters would have to work together in order to survive the ordeal. It seems that this is where Metal Gear fans simply stepped away from the franchise. A concept so farfetched and so removed from the source material that fans seemed to just brush it under the carpet. However, a second video emerged lately, showcasing the title’s gameplay mechanics which are similar to those seen in many Metal Gear games. The stealth elements are present, but on an almost alien world where players must do battle with these ‘creatures’ that have more in common with The Last of Us than they could ever have with a military based game.
Not only does Survive look like a different beast to what fans have come to expect from the series, but it’s also the first game since the franchise creator and globally renowned video game director, Hideo Kojima left the company. It would appear that he has brought his fans with him. Although Survive’s gameplay looks solid and the price tag that will be attached at launch is rumoured to be somewhere in the region of €30, it’s hard to tell whether or not this game will be a hit. On one side, the reduced price could be enough to sway many people into purchasing the game. Also, zombies and zombie styled enemies still seem to be a huge seller across video gaming’s landscape. The other view is that long term Metal Gear fans seem to have rejected this game and instead regarded it as nothing more than a cheap cash in; a stain on the series’ good name. Instead of sticking with Konami’s next instalment, they have sided with Kojima and are following him to his brand new IP, Death Stranding.
So it begs the question, can Metal Gear survive without its core fan base?
-By Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy is a Galway City based music and gaming journalist. Born and raised on 1980s thrash metal, this ex-vocalist also enjoys a touch of hard rock and hip hop. When not banging his head to extreme music, he can usually be found knee deep in piles of video games, competing at tournaments and writing for www.Hit-Start-Now.com or spinning chiptunes on Flirt FM at 2pm each Thursday as the Galway Gamer.