Monday, 14 September 2015

What Konami and Kojima should have done with MGS:V (Full Game Spoilers Included)

WARNING: THIS HAS HUGE SPOILERS FOR THE GAME, DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DONT WANT TO BE SPOILED.

I've been wrecking my head over this game. To me it has been one of Gamings greatest accomplishments but also one of the biggest personal disappointments.

From a gameplay perspective, I just can't get enough, not only have I had a different play experience to everyone else but every time I play a mission, I have a different experience to the last.


From a story and structure perspective, this game is "OK", the first half of the game is fine. Structurally and narratively speaking, it works and works well. everything is in neat digestible chunks and the story doesn't pause the action for long before you're back into the thick of it. But part 2 is just clunky IMHO. Part 2 has it's own trailer, some parts of which (Paz), aren't even in the story unless you meet her randomly or are guided to her via a post on the internet. The missions in part 2 don't only break the flow of increasing mission difficulty but the narrative attached to book end each of these missions just doesn't sit right, discussing points which you have covered earlier in the game just ruins the narrative. It's not like when you re-play a mission, you go into that expecting the same story beats you had before . But having played mission 46 which is a repeat of the prologue mission and having some "new" story elements to reveal the truth, it's clear that the repeat missions earlier just do not fit in this part of the game.

So what happened and what could Konami and Kojima have done to fix this?


Lets assume for a second (as this seems like the majority assumption) that this situation was Konami wanting return on investment sooner and Kojima wanting to make his swan-song the most epic game in the series. The existence of Ground Zeroes tells us Konami wanted money back sooner (with Kojima having publicly stated he didn't want to make it, if I remember right). and the unfulfilled promises from Kojima along with the evidence of missing content that most of us have seen. (Yes content is cut from most games, But this stuff along with the structure of chapter 2 vs previous Konami games say this was cut for Time/Budget reasons, not a creative decision).


Also, this supposed leak of a "Chapter 3: Peace" is very sketchy, first of all, a title card is unlikely to be pre-rendered. If it were it would have to be rendered in 4k resolution and scaled down depending on what resolution your display is set at. For console users that's 1080 or 720, (or smaller if this game supports SD, haven't tried) but on PC it's a Myriad of resolutions up to 4k, which I played it at, and having seen the other title cards in the game and they were so smooth there wasn't an individual pixel visible to the naked eye s I know it was rendered at 4k. The way this works from a technological point is that within the engine, a set of instructions are made to display a black background, words are displayed in white using a specific font and they are set to a percentage of the screen size. So, at best, this title card image is purely a representation of something found in the game's code. Otherwise the disc would need to hold numerous title card images, all at the different possible resolution sets and probably in different languages. This would take up a lot of space, it would be so impractical to do it that way that I can safely say, This image is BS.


So anyway, can we really blame either party? Sure we want the creators to win out, but Konami were right that this game could be put into a state whereby it could be "completed" by the intended release date and make the expected return. I mean even in the state it's in, It was getting 10/10 and 100% scores from media outlets and is getting amazing press across the board. I loved it, you probably love it too for the gameplay, and I honestly can't imagine that if the story were more fleshed out, I could thing of any more friends of mine who don't have this who would be sold on it because of more any more story elements. if you aren't chomping at the bit to buy this game already, more story probably wouldn't have swayed you. So, as stated, Konami was right.

I can't say I'm disappointed with the amount of content here. For the cost of this game, there is more here than you get in most games but in all honesty, I would have actually been happier with the overall product if there hadn't been a chapter 2 at all.

Yeah, that's right, I would have ended this game at the end of chapter 1 and said that's it. Go do side ops and such and unlock stuff, build Mother Base, do some FOB missions and play the coming MG:Online.


Sure there would have been unanswered questions, but at the point the credits rolled, I was happy with that story and the revenge on Skull Face because the progression for the gameplay difficulty, characters and story all fit. You could have tacked on the (real Ending and the Quiet missions at or towards the end and just finished it there) Strip the Paz, Huey and even Liquid stuff entirely. It's because of the existence and broken-up nature of part 2 that makes me feel like there should have been something there but it's missing. It makes me feel short changed, not financially, but from my expectation and love of a another Kojima masterpiece. I feel (and forgive how cheezy this is) my own Phantom Pain.

My anger at Konami at this point isn't because they cut Kojima. If someone is pushing the boundaries of a project beyond limits the company is willing to front, they need to make a business decision on what to do with the Project, it's not personal, It's just business. My anger at Konami is because they removed his name from the box and said that it was because of a structural change, and using carefully worded statements did made this sound like it was still going to be a Kojima game, but never fully confirmed it so that they can't be blamed now that we've found out it isn't. Because there is no way that this is a game as Kojima would have completed it, theres just too much inconsistency for a guy who has referred to himself and proved over and over that his is a perfectionist.

So unless you believe that this current state is intentional so that we all feel our own Phantom Pain (I "hope" this is true but find it very unlikely), what could/should have been done here to benefit Konami, Kojima and us.

But surely there could have been a compromise here, how could this disagreement have gotten to the point where Kojima is leaving Konami? After nearly 3 decades it has to have been a big fall out with one of the parties just throwing their toys out of the pram at taking the hump. Now would that have been a company interested in making money, or a developer who is being told they cannot realise their vision? Objectively I feel it's the latter, which is hard to say as someone who "loves" Kojima's work.

In this day an age, why couldn't this compromise have been DLC? As I said above, i was happy with chapter 1 being the full game. I was 40-50 hours in at that point and would not have been unhappy with the money I'd spent if that was the whole game. But why not release individual chapters as DLC? That would have meant that Kojima could keep creating and realise his vision, and that Konami could have kept making money. Chapter 1 was 30 missions with most of us doing a chunk of side ops in that time too. so why not release chapter 2 as a further 20-30 missions plus a bunch of side ops and maybe some new locations, weapons, skins, variations on previous mission and/or some new-ish gameplay mechanics? D-Walker races anyone?

I think we showed Konami what we're willing to pay for when we bought only 1 main mission and several side ops, all in the same area when we bought Ground Zeroes. We paid half the price of MGS:V for less than a tenth of the content and loved it.


If I had played chapter 1, knowing that DLC was coming later, Sure I;d have to have paid more for it, but I and probably most of us here would have too without batting an eyelid, because this game for it's mechanics alone has so much potential it could have gone on for a long time. Look at GTAV look at Borderlands. How could Konami not have seen this as a potential solution when they are a pretty key player in the industry. How with an open world game was this not part of the plan from the beginning.

This whole situation make little sense but maybe there is a disconnect between Japanese and American culture when it comes to understanding this market. I've seen evidence before which ays the Japanese just don't get DLC, why it exists and what people are Ok with buying later. But this was back in the earlier days of the last generation when we were getting unlock codes for content already on the disc, and the attitude was that people just like DLC, not understanding that we actually like more content made later, ideally tailored to how and what we have enjoyed about the game when released. Such as Fallout 3 which had some of it's best missions as DLC added later on.

I think the situation here is very bad and to be honest quite immature in how it has been handled vs how it could have been. And as the days draw by, I can't help but feel sad as my hope dwindles in thinking this whole release and the drama leading up to it could be an elaborate Kojima ruse.


And I finally need to accept that what I have is truly all I'm getting and deal with the fact that what this could have been is something I will never know. Just like the end of MGS 2 which had an important scene cut. (albeit for good reasons that time).

But I've never truly understood ambivalence until now. It pains me that this is the feeling I will take away from this game.

Must go now as I have FOB's to raid and animals to capture
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