Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Metal Gear Solid 5" and why it will inevitably suck.

So, everybody's heard by now: "Metal Gear Solid 5" has more-or-less been confirmed. A new page up at Kojima Productions recruiting programmers, both in Japan and California shows a bold "Big Boss wants YOU" picture, followed by another one of Shinkawa's gems, a poster-like image of Big Boss and a dog.

The Internet caught on fire. My Twitter alone started going crazy and I don't even follow that many people. So, as the world lost its collective shit over the picture of an old fuck next to his pet dog, I cut myself repeatedly and wept onto my pre-dug grave.

Fuck you all.

For the third time in a fucking row.

Metal Gear Solid 5 will be a travesty. There is no way around it. You won't be playing a bad game, but you will be playing a game that can't even begin to compare with the games that preceeded it (especially those extending from 1998 to 2004). It won't be because of lack of talent, but it will be because the series is stagnant and its creator just forces himself into this.

But first things first. What will we probably see in MGS5? I'm too lazy to detail anything. Based on previous render-leaks of the much-hyped FOX Engine and the artwork, we speculate the game will take place in the '80s, star Big Boss and probably have Grey Fox somewhere as well. Ravi Singh of The Snake Soup has that covered. I'll wait for you to read.

Done? Good. Now that you have the context of what's most likely to happen, why the hell would you want that-- assuming you have at least one working brain cell in your stupid head?

When Peace Walker (a game I quite enjoyed) came out, I went into a tirade about why it shouldn't exist. This time, I'll keep it simple: "Metal Gear Solid 3" was a fantastic game that was supposed to give us a small, but sufficient insight on the reasons the elusive figure that was Big Boss turned from an American hero to a worldwide terrorist.

Guess what? It did just that! It explained everything to a "T", didn't need to do much (if anything) in the form of a retcon and tied up things nicely.

But then Konami suckered us into getting Portable Ops. The supposed "missing link" between Snake Eater and the rise of Outer Heaven, a missing link that played like ass, had a story more or less copied from MGS1, took so many cop-out paths you can't even count them without a super-computer-- and lest we forget, it explained nothing more than MGS3 did and it was not at all necessary to fully understand MGS4, despite Ryan Payton's idiotic remarks!

Portable Ops was created to cash in on the hype of MGS and push Sony's PSP (especially its online features). Ironically, the damn game can't even stand up to other PSP titles nowadays, let alone other MGS titles in any system (except the NES).

Then came Peace Walker, the game that Kojima said was MGS5 "in his heart". Awww. Another "missing link" that didn't do shit to link anything that wasn't already linked. Peace Walker was a good game, but it was the most unneeded title of them all and neither the plot nor the characters could even begin to pack the same punch as the series 1-4 (yes, 4).

To understand how unneeded these games are (MGS5 included), here's a fun fact: In MGS3, Kojima retconned the story to show us how Big Boss got his eye-patch. It was both fanspunk material and a symbolic move, to show the transition from Naked Snake to Big Boss. Now we're in a Big Boss game that takes place in the '80s-- the time when Big Boss originally lost his eye (as explained in the "Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake" game manual). 

But the thing that absolutely kills me about all this is the popularity of Big Boss. I mostly blame Americans about this, but that may be just because I know more American fans than I do foreigners. Ever since Snake Eater the guy got far more recognition than he deserved, dethroned Snake and pretty much became the hero of the series, even though at no point the narrative supports this.

In other words, the series' greatest hero can't even keep up with the plots that involve him.

This would be an awesome piece of symbolism... if Big Boss didn't already wear the fucking dog patch.

And why the fuck should he? Big Boss sucks! He is a bland, flavourless character with little personality and no depth. He doesn't become fascinating until after he's turned batshit insane. This isn't a matter of preference or the fanboy battle between Big Boss and Snake; it's done by design!

Go back to MGS3. Remember the fucking theme of that game? SCENE: how the events in a man's life shape him into what he will be in the future. Much like Raiden in SOL, Big Boss in Snake Eater was a blank slate (one of the reasons Kojima codenamed him "Naked Snake"). Only where Raiden was supposed to be shaped through mimicking Snake (and society itself, albeit in a more dramatised form), Big Boss was shaped by what happened in Russia.

Do you realize MGS5 will be the FOURTH FUCKING GAME starring the SAME blank slate character still on his way "there"? FOURTH. The first THREE of those he spent dry-humping the Boss! Presumably he'll spend this one being a dick. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

Say what you want about Snake, but the guy at least had color. Big Boss' only moment of showing colour was in a briefing in PW-- in which, he admitted he quite literally believed in Santa Claus. Your hero, America!

The aspect of an MGS5 is an infuriating thing. It's representative of the shit state of affairs in the gaming industry right now and it's pretty much taken over a once defining series and turned it into a mockery of itself. The problem started from as far back as MGS4, but now there is just no holding back.

Kojima became known for his politics-heavy stories and convoluted plots, but the countless fucktards that suddenly got into the series and keep on demanding that the games themselves remain in and keep milking the existing, overwritten and massive lore/canon have completely missed the point. Kojima's greatest achievement as a writer aren't the storylines, but the characters. That's the reason you always stuck through the verbal diarrhoea. You cared about the characters.

The plot of MGS4 was legendarily stupid, but Old Snake remains one of the best characters in video games, ever. Who the fuck cares about Kaz or Paz or Amanda or that French piece of ass (because that is ALL she was) or even Python and Elisa? Why would you care? They are as basic and bland as they come.

What personality did Big Boss portray during these games? What lessons did he learn? What's the huge difference between MGS3 Big Boss and PW Big Boss-- outside of the ones the plot forces him through to justify the games' existence?

All of the above are just few (but fundamental) reasons why MGS5 is going to suck. It doesn't matter how it fairs from a technical perspective or even against other current-gen games. In the end of the day, it'll be inferior to its predecessors and when we've already had something better, we can't keep pretending it's "okay" as long as the title ticks its way through the reviewer's checklist.

Hideo, master, friend and icon, we both know you don't want to do this. We also both know you kind of have to. Well, since you can't get away from the fucking series, at least find a way to give it a reason to exist. Don't take the (creatively) "easy" way out. Stop de-constructing your own mythology and, mostly, your own achievements and stop bending over for fans. They are IDIOTS.

If you have failed as an artist, it's because of this. Because the people who know your work well-enough know that from here on it's just a way down until we all inevitably hit rock-bottom. It doesn't matter how much talent you have (which you do), how excited you are about your job and how much you can still give the industry; all people will remember in the end is that you were "that Metal Gear guy". Not because you kept making the games, but because you let them take over you instead of holding on on top of them.

Do us both a favour and at least try to find something half-way new to do, even within this series. There has to be something wrong when I'm more excited about Revengeance, a game I otherwise have absolutely no interest in, than a game bearing the title "Metal Gear Solid 5". 

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