‘Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes’ announced at PAX
Hideo Kojima takes us back ‘Metal Gear’ and Big Boss
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 13:09
Oh, Hideo Kojima. We all knew that you couldn’t (or wouldn’t be allowed to) stay away from “Metal Gear Solid” for very long. And, to prove what we all already knew, Konami has announced yet another game in the franchise, “Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes.”
Beyond the expectedly ridiculous name, viewers of the trailer that came with the announcement at PAX Prime last week managed to glean quite a few details. For example, we know that the game will be returning to the series’ tertiary protagonist, Naked Snake/Big Boss (last seen in “Peace Walker,” the previous game in the franchise).
The trailer shows a grotesquely disfigured man wandering through an American military base on the southern tip of Cuba, out of United States jurisdiction. He appears to be working for, or in charge of, a (as yet unexplained) military group called ‘XOF,’ whose insignia bares an uncanny resemblance to that of Foxhound (a primary organization from the earlier games). It’s also clearly fox spelled backwards, so it’s likely that it has some connection to Big Boss’s former unit.
Some other details we know include that the game appears to take place in or immediately after 1974, as Chico (a young boy from the last game, which definitely did take place in 1974) doesn’t seem to have aged visibly. Paz, another Peace Walker character, is also mentioned and seems to have survived her ordeal from the closing moments of the previous title and would had to have been rescued shortly after the finale in order to have realistically remained alive.
Adding to Kojima’s ever-growing pantheon of self-references, Big Boss has adopted the physical appearance of his cloned progeny, Solid Snake. That is to say, Naked Snake -- the genetic father of Solid Snake -- now looks like the “Metal Gear Solid 4” version of the character, otherwise known as Old Snake. In case you had ever wondered just how crazy Kojima’s franchise could get, now you have an idea.
In case you were wondering how all of this game play looked, the answer is good. Incredibly good.
That’s because Ground Zeroes was shown entirely on Kojima’s new Fox graphics engine. Characters move distinctly and fluidly, rain and water effects leave the environment looking slick and soggy and the demo’s lighting is on par with the very best I’ve ever seen. Add to this all of this that the game is supposedly set in an entirely open world and the whole package sounds simply amazing.
While some actual game play is shown in the trailer, the PAX Prime demo was reportedly run entirely on a PC, rather than a current generation console. While Konami is claiming that the Fox Engine will be able to run on current generation hardware, many media outlets are speculating that it may actually be designed to work with the next cycle of console hardware.
While the next iterations of set-top boxes have yet to be officially announced by Sony or Microsoft, rumors and leaks about their designs have been circulating for months. We also know that at least a few major studios already have development kits. Konami, one of the largest and oldest Japanese publishers in the industry, is quite likely one such studio.
The implication here is that “Ground Zeroes” might be a next generation console game, currently running on above-average PC tech. Such rumors also surrounded Ubisoft’s new intellectual property “Watch Dogs” when it was shown earlier this year.
If “Ground Zeroes” really is a game built for the next generation, it sets a high mark for things yet to come.