When Metal Gear Solid V was finally announced to the public in its entirety, there was a lot of confusion over its two titled “parts”. The first part of the game that was announced by Kojima Productions ran under the title Ground Zeroes. It was many months later that the now infamous second part titled The Phantom Pain was confirmed to be the main storyline for Metal Gear Solid V.
But how would this work? Metal Gear fans know that two separate deployments is not an uncommon trait for a Metal Gear game. The same scenario took place in both Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and with a long passage of time and change of character in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The only difference being that this time, series creator Hideo Kojima and his team have actually specified Ground Zeroes as its own entity.
Now, as Metal Gear gamers wait for this stand alone prologue to release, there is quite a fuss about the decision to release it separately. The reason for this being that depending on which system the gamer purchases it for as well as wether players opt for the physical or digital copy, the game can range anywhere from $20-$40. The kicker is that the core story mission in Ground Zeroes, according to Game Informer (via Kotaku), is “really short”. Like, under 2 hours short.
That’s a buzz kill no matter what fans were expecting. Since hearing this news, as a hardcore, die-hard, Metal Gear super fan, I’m officially on the fence with the whole situation. There will be extra content and side missions to play, but I just don’t know how to feel about the ever closer release of the first portion of a game I’ve been waiting for since 2008.
Re-releases and spinoffs aside (I’m looking at you, Metal Gear Rising), there hasn’t been a Metal Gear Solid released on a home console since Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots in June of ’08. The next chronologically released canon title Peace Walker that released on the PlayStation Portable system was impressive in itself but the game, at least to me, was lacking in the epic qualities that MGS4 had every step of the way. So needless to say, the news of MGSV coming to the next gen consoles was enough to give me goosebumps.
But a two hour mission that costs about half of the actual game? What is a fan supposed to feel about that? On one hand, I have always trusted and subsequently understood the many far-fetched decisions that Hideo Kojima has made regarding the series over the years. On the other hand, dishing out that much dough for a single story mission lasting under two hours seems outright ludicrous.
Of course the designers at Koji-Pro (Namely Jordan Amaro) have risen to the defensive noting that length does not play a factor in quality. As a gamer, I do agree with that. It’s just that knowing the series as well as I do, I can’t help but to think that a Metal Gear simply cannot be one of those titles.
Metal Gear Solid is notorious for delivering a story laden with insane detail, plot twists, and extraordinary depth of character. As the prologue to the main event The Phantom Pain, Its hard to accept the length that Ground Zeroes will be for the price it will cost. Sadly, One simply cannot skip that portion of the game if they truly want to keep up with the series’ canon.
Besides the story aspect, Ground Zeroes is supposed to serve as a tutorial to ease players into the new game mechanics of the franchise. Also, The Phantom Pain is to have a game map hundreds of times larger than the one in Ground Zeroes. Equally impressive news to those waiting to get control of the legendary Big Boss once more.
Are these details enough to get fans over the cost of the prologue? Is Kojima asking too much of his loyal fan base? I guess we’ll just have to wait until Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is released on March 18th to find out. I’ll let you know, of course.
After all, my copy is already pre ordered.