MGS: MATURE GEAR SOLID

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Hello boys and girls. It’s been a minute since my last serving but I’m back to bring you a nice healthy and hearty dose of MGS goodness in the form of my very own breakdown of the latest MGSV Extended Trailer. Everyone dig in…

[Note: since my analysis there has been new info about MGSV being release every day so consider this just my addition to the already existing facts and theories out there.]

So this years E3 has come and gone and with it some hopes and dreams for us gamers. We were shown promising games and the potential for the next gen consoles to come, namely the successor to Sony’s PS3, the PS4, and Microsoft’s XBox Juan. I won’t go into much specifics, and own both current gen consoles, but suffice it to say, I heavily favor the PS4. Bar none.

Before E3 2013 actually commenced Konami aired a Pre E3 show on June 6th consisting of the current games being worked on and among them the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Kiefer Sutherland was revealed to be Big Boss’ new voice actor, succeeding original voice actor for the past 15 years, David Hayter. Along with voice duties, Kiefer is also tasked with doing the facial captures for Big Boss. Kojima’s reason for this huge change apparently has to do with the need for someone who is close to Snake’s age in this game (49 years old) and capturing the facial expressions of someone who is seasoned and has been thru a lot in his life. Kojima wanted those traits and qualities to reflect in Snake’s facial performance and felt Kiefer was a perfect fit. This has been causing contention with diehard fans of the series, mostly wanting Hayter back to reprise the role of Snake, while a steady number also favor Kiefer’s turn as the legendary soldier. Personally I’d like to also have Hayter return but I’m also a big fan of Kiefer so I’m within the group that accepts this change. I wouldn’t mind Snake saying, “Where is the NUKE?!” in Jack Bauer’s voice!

[Note: Jack Bauer shares the same first name as Naked Snake, which is also Jack.]

The next week after Konami’s Pre E3 show when E3 officially kicked off, a new trailer of MGSV was shown followed by an extended version of the same trailer a day later, only the extended version contained a “For Mature Audiences” stamp as it contained additional footage of material Kojima considered a bit too graphic for general audiences. For my breakdown I’ll be expounding on the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain E3 2013 Extended Trailer which you can view below before we dive in:

[DISCLAIMER: I’ll be describing portions of past MGS games that you may or may not have played so spoilers could follow. Read at your own discretion. You’ve been warned!]

In the beginning of the trailer we see both Snake and Kaz while Kaz is telling Snake about taking back what Cipher has taken from them. Cipher is presumably Snake’s former ally/commanding officer from Snake Eater Major Zero/The Patriots turned nemesis from previous games Portable Ops/Peace Walker. We see a small sample of Kaz’s emotional state and how PTSD has changed him since the events of Peace Walker. I assume this scene is after Snake rescues Kaz, which I will touch on later.

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The next scene shows an MSF soldier preparing to torture a prisoner who we can assume is a new character revealed later in the trailer. If you’re an MGS fan such as myself then you’ll be familiar with torture scenes such as this one that are peppered in earlier MGS games. Both MGS1 and 2 featured torture chambers complete with high tech electric tables that both Solid Snake and Raiden were subjected to. MGS3 showed how Naked Snake lost his right eye. MGS4 didn’t really have a torture scene but Old Snake walking thru Arsenal Gear’s radiation infested bowels was torture enough. Portable Ops showed Fox Agent Cunningham putting the squeeze on Snake’s nutsack with his artificial peg leg and clocked him in the head with a stun rod. Peace Walker’s torture scene featured Strangelove electrocuting Snake with similar metallic batons shown in the MGSV Extended trailer we just saw.

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Other scenes such as the torture of another character who resembles Emmerich, as well as the gunning down of a POW also drive home the graphic nature of the game so far.

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Notice this similarly dressed POW from Peace Walker where the player can choose weather or not to rescue them. This is another confirmation of how Peace Walker directly ties into the events of the Ground Zeroes portion of MGSV. I always rescued my comrades. My motto: LEAVE NO MAN OR WOMAN BEHIND! (Unless of course I run out of Fulton balloons.)

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Here we see brief shots of child soldiers in training. Kojima talked about taboo subjects he wanted to elaborate upon, given that this is supposed to be a darker game.

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Other dark matters include the removal of a foreign object from a POW’s torso. Said prisoner seems to be a short haired, emaciated Paz, who apparently survived her outing since the events of Peace Walker. The foreign object in question seems to be a bomb of some sort with a Peace symbol across the front. A little poetic justice of sorts. Somehow I feel like its the handy work of Cipher yet again. It could also possibly be the work of another character by name of Skullface, whose name we didn’t know when he first appeared in a trailer for MGSV when it was just known as Ground Zeroes back at GDC in March.

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Chico doesn’t look like a happy camper.

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That isn’t the look of ecstasy on Paz’s face.

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Going back a moment to the topic of torture we see Emmerich being treated to a huge dose of H20 by way of Ocelot. Torture seems to be akin to Ocelot’s character, who considers his work a sport. He’s exceptionally good at it. This section a bit confusing because back in PW Emmerich became Snake and Kaz’s ally. Here we see otherwise as not only is Ocelot doing the torturing but we also see what looks to be Kaz sporting a beret with a Diamond Dogs patch (probably a similar outfit to MSF or Militares Sans Frontares from PW) watching and obviously dictating what is taking place. Seems Emmerich could be withholding info about something or someone. More on that later.

[Note: there has been speculation about “that beret dude wearing sunglasses” being either Roy Campbell or even Gene from Portable Ops. Listen, who else would rock Aviators like that other than Kaz/Master Miller? That’s been his signature defining look ever since MGS1. To this I say C’mon son.]

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I can see how people would say it’s Campbell (MPO) from a visual standpoint but narratively it wouldn’t make much sense. One HUGE hint is that Diamond Dogs patch right in the middle of Kaz’s beret.

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The whole Gene (MPO) thing amounts to about as much sense, meaning none.

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Both Gene and Kaz are wearing the same FOX issue trench, beret, and are standing EXACTLY THE SAME in both these screen grabs. Some even speculated a Big Boss body double or clone. To that I say C’mon son.

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It’s about this point in the trailer that we start to see the cutscene merge seamlessly into gameplay. Ocelot and Snake are riding horseback thru the Afghanistan desert while Ocelot rubs Snake’s ego, coaxing him to get back to his roots and become the legendary soldier he once was in order to rescue Kaz. Here we see a new version of Ocelot’s signature hand gesture from Snake Eater.

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We then get treated to a nice demo of what the new FOX Engine can really do graphically. I keep watching this trailer over and over, still in disbelief that this game will also release on current gen hardware. I for one am extremely pleased.

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As Kojima and this trailer clearly demonstrate, there will be a realistic passage of time. This can converge heavily with gameplay and make players more tactical in their approach as they infiltrate a section as well as have to plan a way to escape. It makes me wonder though, since time passes realistically in this game would that mean that when I’m playing at, oh say 10pm at night, would that mean the game will also take place around 10pm? If I wanted to play in the day time in-game does that mean I can only play in the daytime? I ask because the majority of my gaming lately is at night. It’s fun to speculate. That one scene in the gameplay where Snake is standing while smoking (an eCig?!) and next to him is the face of a Seiko watch as it fast forwards in time while the background Snake stands in also experiences these changes. Perhaps there’s an in-game mechanic which lets players fast forward and skip ahead thru the day so they can sneak around either at in the day or at night on the fly. Portable Ops had a similar mechanic where, between missions the player could use a menu to skip ahead to either do day or night sneaking for a limited amount of turns. If true this could prove very useful and could be an even deeper experience where perhaps certain missions can only be completed in the cover of darkness or less guards walking around during the day. Tactical indeed!

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There’s that clock icon in MPO on the far right hand side which lets players wind the clock forward.

Other new gameplay mechanics include the ability to scale objects at will. Not segregated to just ladders, knee high ledges, or handrails anymore, Snake seems to be able to actually climb up walls as well as actually JUMP! The only jump-like feature to be introduced into any MGS game was the roll mechanic where you can jump towards an enemy and knock them over which was added in MGS2. It’s basically remained unchanged until MGSV. Other abilities include jumping from rooftop to rooftop and hanging on the ledge of another building or structure parkour style, reminiscent to the Uncharted series or that of Assassin’s Creed.

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For players of Peace Walker such as myself who’ve missed the ability to crawl it makes a return. I still have no idea why it was removed in PW as it would have added to the gameplay and sneakability, and essentially makes MGS what it is. My POV is that game elements shouldn’t have to be removed, but tweaked a little. The closest we got to crawling in PW was the ability to lay face down in the dirt. Yay. Welcome back, Crawl. I’ve missed you so.

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Another new ability not yet realized in past MGS titles is the ability to quickly dive or slide, hell let’s coin a new term – Diveslide (TRADEMARKED!), away from enemy line of sight. The first thing that came to mind was THIS. Snake embodying Ed Norton’s power animal looks mighty useful.

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One element I’ve been looking forward to is combat. Namely CQC (Close Quarters Combat). MGS1 had PUNCH PUNCH KICK and Rear Naked Choking. MGS2 had PUNCH PUNCH SPINNING BACK KICK. Or if you we’re Raiden you had THIS.

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But it wasn’t until MGS3 that players got a taste of deeper combat skills. Since the story was a prequel and takes place pre MG1 (MSX) in 1964 gameplay were a little more rugged and hands on. Combat took form in a more up close and personal way. Protagonist Naked Snake, which is Solid, Liquid, and Solidus’ father if you will, made his way thru Russian jungles using his wits as well as his trusty handgun and CQC knife. With those couple tools handy Snake could hold up enemies, use them as Human shields, do various CQC takedowns to knock them out, choke them out, or go the more lethal route and just plain slit their throats. Most of the time for me, due to the control scheme, slitting throats was accidental. Hopefully controls are updated to be more intuitive. Portable Ops kept the same moves but removed the ability to slit throats. Peace Walker expanded upon the CQC moves and added the ability to dramatically throw enemies to the ground, against walls, or towards other enemies. The best addition though was the CQC chain, where a QTE (QuickTime event) prompt pops up when close to two or more enemies and you could slam them consecutively to the ground knocking them out cold. Snake literally says “Consecutive!” when he grabs the next enemy in the chain!

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This trailer showed briefly a small portion of the Dynamic CQC techniques you can pull off such as literally stealing weapons from enemies in slow motion and using the weapons against them straight away. MGS4 had similar strategies where you can move while crouched, shoot while prone, throw grenades from your back either forward or behind you, perform rolls from side to side, and when holding a two handed weapon such as an assault rifle you can shove an enemy, knocking their weapon to the ground so you can grab them for later. Perhaps in MGSV Snake will be able to retain similar moves or use better, cooler looking techniques. I’d love to see the CQC Chain return in this game as well.

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As Snake reaches his intended target we see a beaten and battered Kaz chained to a wall. I’m not sure but it looks like Kaz’s left eye could be damaged from possible torture he’s suffered. Once Snake give Kaz back his signature shades he starts to become more his normal self.

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Kaz Miller – A Visionary Robbed of his Future.

I suspect that Kaz’s title header says this obviously because Cipher took his right arm and left leg, leaving him with basically only a shadow of his former self. I suppose many of us would feel beaten down and have a huge sense of loss, both physical and psychological in nature. I can see why Kaz would only have revenge in his heart.

It’s at this point in the trailer that we start to see more new characters who seem to reflect that of past high profile key players throughout the MGS world.

Quiet – A female Sniper deprived of her Words.

At first glance I thought she was to be a young Sniper Wolf. MGS history states that Sniper Wolf met a man by the name of Saladin (or Big Boss) who took her in. Then I had a second thought. Perhaps Quiet is a completely new character who we actually see at the beginning of the trailer getting tortured by that MSF soldier. Her outfit matches Quiet’s. Also, perhaps Quiet got her codename due to some torture she endured in the past like having her tongue cut out.

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I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with Quiet’s eyes once she faces us, though I feel it could be of a supernatural or telekinetic nature. Perhaps she’s got the ability to see even farther than her rifle scope lets her, making her an even more accurate deadly sniper.

Eli – A Youth who Curses his Fate.

I don’t know about you guys and gals but that’s Liquid Fucking Snake sitting there, with that arrogant scowl and open shirt, which is synonymous with Liquid Snake’s bare chested self from MGS1. Another HUGE hint is that snake sitting on Eli’s lap. As the camera pans to his face it slithers away. If Eli isn’t Liquid I’ll eat my shorts.

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Skull Face – A Ghost without a Past.

While his name could use some work I suppose I can’t complain. With names like Machinegun Kid and Dirty Duck from the first Metal Gear I’ll leave it alone. Skull Face does have that super villain kind of vibe going on. And he’s got his own PMC posse to boot. Some have said he could possibly be Volgin from MGS3 (who freaking died btw) but then dead characters have made returns in the past. Sokolov being killed by Volgin in MGS3, only to somehow miraculously return in Portable Ops is one huge example. Still though, I think Skull Face is a brand new villain for us to deal with which is a positive.

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Emmerich – A Technocrat who Stands his Ground.

I guess he just wants to be referred to by his last name but this has to be Huey from Peace Walker. Last we saw Huey Emmerich he was in a fancy wheelchair which I speculate he built into a pair of robotic legs since he wants to “Stand his Ground.” Might I remind everyone that at the beginning of this trailer Emmerich is being tortured by Ocelot while Kaz watches. There must be some serious double or triple crossing happening in this game.

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Huey from MGS Peace Walker.

Ocelot – A Rival living a Lie.

Speaking of double and triple crosses, no one else demonstrates this better than Ocelot himself. Throughout the MGS franchise Ocelot has been in cahoots with Volgin, Liquid Snake, Solidus Snake, and even Zero. It’s interesting to see him buddy up with Snake here due to their first outing in MGS3. Also, Ocelot has expressed an admiration for Snake and his skills in Snake Eater. Ocelot has been in four MGS games so far from MGS1 to MGS4 as Liquid Ocelot. I missed him in PW. I’m interested to see more of the dynamic play out between Snake and Ocelot once we get the game.

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CodeTalker – A Wise Man denied his Homeland.

He seems completely new as well. Maybe he plays a sort of Oracle that breaks codes or helps Snake solve certain confusing conditions. Kojima has said that he had a character in this game which is over 100 years old and judging by looks alone Code Talker fits the bill. I’d like to see his character expanded on as well.

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Those who “Don’t Exist.”

We see who looks like a young Psycho Mantis who seems to be honing his powers and using them to perhaps confuse Snake’s mind as seen in previous trailers. We also see someone who more closely resembles Volgin because of his attire which is similar to Volgin’s from MGS3. The trailer also shows us some soldiers with futuristic power suits, which almost resemble the cybernetic armor worn in MG Revengeance by some cyborgs.

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Looks like Psycho Mantis was a ginger back then before his MGS1 days.

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This guy who’s engulfed in flames could possibly be Volgin according to his attire sans trench but this is all still in contention. It would be crazy though, even if only in some sort of hallucination.

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Then there are these guys. If you look closely at the moment before these mech suited enemies start running toward the screen you can see them behind a sand storm almost walking like zombies, or better yet maybe they’re being controlled like puppets by Young Mantis. Another interesting thing I took note of is how the suit looks very similar to Sundowner from MG Revengeance. Although totally separate universes basically, they share some design aesthetics.

Another scene of children with guns sitting on a tank, driving home the fact that the game will display the role of child soldiers. This is in direct relation to the first scene in this trailer of child soldiers being trained to shoot guns.

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We then segue from cutscene to gameplay of Snake picking Kaz up and putting him over his shoulder. It looks like gunplay will be available as Snake carries Kaz and makes his way out of the area he snuck into. This is also probably what Kojima means when the trailer flashes “Tactical Espionage Redefined.”

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Cut to what I suspect is a scene from the Ground Zeroes portion of MGSV when Snake (who is wearing the same Sneaking Suit from PW) finally gets to Chico from Peace Walker (no this is Not Solid Snake). Gee, it kinda looks like Snake is choking the living shit out of Chico, who also is a former ally of Snake from PW. If I remember from the GDC trailer we see a scene where Skull Face says to his PMC troops, “the Trojan horse is in.” At one point I thought Chico was the Trojan but since this new trailer it seems obvious that it will be Paz because she had that bomb pack implanted inside her body. I predict shit hitting fans during that chopper ride.

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More scenes of Mother Base (Peace Walker) from the Ground Zeroes portion of the game being destroyed, probably again by Cipher/Skull Face. I can imagine the devastation and heartache Snake and crew are going through. Hell, I put over 100 hours of gameplay in PW, building my Mother Base, amassing my crew/comrades, and I’m still constructing my own Metal Gear! To have it all taken away in the blink of an eye can break a man.

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Here is a very significant scene where Snake encounters child soldiers or child mine workers held in a cage with Snake inspecting diamonds. This leads us to believe that the other taboo subject Kojima wants to touch on is that of blood diamonds in Africa. This directly ties into the new army that Snake and Kaz form called Diamond Dogs. Perhaps Snake takes these children in to mine for blood diamonds to fund Diamond Dogs. It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint the situation because in the next scene it looks like Snake starts pointing his rifle in the children’s direction, thereby frightening them into the corner with Snake proceeding to shoot at them, hence Punished Snake. This seems very obvious but could just be clever video editing to make the trailer even more emotionally driven. Consider me a passenger on this ride! My prediction is that Snake actually is shooting at enemies and instead frees these children. I understand that Snake/Big Boss ends up being an antagonist to Solid Snake later in the timeline but I don’t think he will actually kill any children in the game, cutscene, gameplay or otherwise. Can you imagine having to actually pull the trigger in that situation? It reminds me of the end of MGS3 where after Snake’s battle with The Boss the player has to pull the trigger after the cutscene so that the player feels the repercussions of those actions just as Snake did and still does.

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Cut to the same scene of Snake and Kaz walking on the tarmac on Mother Base from the beginning of the trailer. This time the camera pans out to reveal the scene and the audience finally sees the outcome of Kaz’s supposed torture. This fact is compounded by Kaz’s missing right arm and portion of his left leg, whereby needing Snake to help him walk. I gotta tell you guys and gals, I was on the verge of man tears when I saw Kaz in that condition.

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The last portion of the trailer shows Snake getting ready to pilot what seems to be a mini version of a Metal Gear. This reminds me a bit of building your own Metal Gear ZEKE in Peace Walker but more akin to MGS4 where Old Snake gets to pilot, well not really pilot so much as take control of via Sixaxis PS3 controller a la RC car, of a little Metal Gear MKII to do some sneaking around and recon ops. MGSV’s take seems to have more of a “don’t fuck with me or else” kind of vibe to it. I’m totally ready for all this.

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The final screen shows the consoles that MGSV will be released on. Lucky for me it will be available for PS3, and on a smaller level of excitement, my 360. I plan to also get a PS4 and MGSV as well for it.

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Having played Peace Walker it feels like I’ve connected with all the characters as I have with all MGS games. I’m a sucker for a good saga and MGS definitely fits the bill. I already know that MGSV is gonna get me wrapped up in all its convolution and craziness. All we need is that damned release date. To that I say MY BODY IS READY.

SNAAAKE!!!

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