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Stop Feeling Sorrow and Fury over Metal Gear Survive

General consensus on Metal Gear Survive.

Editorial by Ravi Singh, Posted on August 21, 2016

My reaction to the trailer for Metal Gear Survive, effectively its announcement and premiere, was a simple one-word tweet.

When someone incorrectly calls Survive the first four player co-op title in the series.

It is a strange situation where the whole thing is both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. I was not expecting a new Metal Gear title by Konami any time soon. Then again, if not now, then when? It was bound to happen—and they already are prepping that pachinko slot for the sake-fueled Japanese salary-man itching to empty his wallet. Considering that they did not have co-op in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, it is interesting that Survive will have it. Then again Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker already had it back in 2010 (a fact that seems to fly over most of the gaming press covering Survive). I guess the whole thing with zombies is a bit much… if you ignore all of Hideo Kojima’s statements on zombies.

“Want to make a genuine zombie game.”
- Hideo Kojima, April 29, 2013, via Twitter

Yeah I know, Kojima never said he wanted a main Metal Gear game to be a zombie title. Survive is not a main Metal Gear game though. In fact, I would not be surprised if Survive was originally conceived as an expansion pack to The Phantom Pain or, perhaps, the current iteration of Metal Gear Online. At this moment though we simply do not know and have to look at this at face value: we have a new Metal Gear title coming out soon… aaaaand there are zombies in it.

If you squealed in delight at the announcement of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance as a simple hack-and-slash developed by PlatinumGames but scoff at this, either you are misinformed on the series’ history of strange releases or hold an (understandable) grudge against Konami. This grudge and distaste is increased exponentially by the fact that Konami refuses to talk about their own game. Honestly, this is a piss-poor means of dealing with a fanbase and overall gaming community that is merely left with a shitty trailer that makes the game look like a knock-off Resident Evil spinoff starring a couple of characters that look like they were generated in Metal Gear Online by the staff.

Konami when people start asking them questions about Metal Gear Survive.

Maybe Konami’s public relations are dying to tell us more and the higher-ups are telling them to shut their fucking mouths or else they get Kojima’d. Maybe it’s the public relations themselves who are idiots. I’m not entirely sure, but they should note that the more they reveal about the project, the more of a concise, actually-thought-out product Survive appears to be. You might have rolled your eyes at the plot involving a wormhole, but you have to understand this is not supposed to be a part of the main Metal Gear series.

“It’s a side-story, a spin-off if you will, that takes place in an alternate timeline.”
- Richard Jones, Konami brand manager, VG247, August 18, 2016

So this is somewhat similar to Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (released as Metal Gear Solid in the west on Game Boy Color) which, by the way, remains one of the best titles in the series. Yeah Ghost Babel had a ridiculous cardboard box puzzle, but there were no zombies and the gameplay made it a true top-down 2D Metal Gear title similar in vein to at least the classic titles, let alone the first in the Solid series. Survive on the other hand seems like an action-orientated survival-horror title with no stealth at all! That is because the trailer makes it seem this is the case when apparently, it is not.

“There is stealth in it, I know when you’re watching the trailer it’s all very action-packed and it doesn’t really elicit that feeling, but there will be stealth and one of the really interesting things that we will be exploring and playing with is how stealth and co-op can actually co-exist.”
- Richard Jones, Eurogamer, August 18, 2016

Peace Walker already showed us that stealth and co-op can co-exist, Richard. Metal Gear Solid V itself is a sequel to Peace Walker and heavily expanded on its gameplay… just without the co-op elements for whatever reason. Seems like Survive, which like Metal Gear Solid V is using the FOX Engine, is based off of The Phantom Pain.

“The gameplay is very similar to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and will have a lot of those aspects for sure, and we’re going to add on that co-op gameplay in-tune with that.”
- Richard Jones, VG247, August 18, 2016

The final little fact that was revealed later by the hesitant Jones is that Survive is not even going to be a full priced title. Similar to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which I suppose was a stand-alone expansion to a game that at the time did not even exist, Survive seems similar except with absolutely no investment the canonical series at stake and instead seeks to have some fun within the world and gameplay mechanics of Metal Gear Solid V. Perhaps Survive is similar to Red Dead Redemption‘s Undead Nightmare stand-alone expansion and maybe Konami should have called it Metal Gear Solid V: Survive?

“I am The Fury… The flames of my rage will incinerate you! I came back from Kingdom of the Flies, and as I returned, I had one vision… Konami set ablaze! And do you know what I saw? A new CG-render of myself for a pachislot remake! A great and terrible fury at being alive! Now you will feel the scorching heat of that horrible blackness on social media!”

Even after all of this you will have some anger. Most of it will be misdirected at people who had absolutely nothing to do with the drama that occurred between Hideo Kojima and Konami because people from Konami America and Konami Europe are simply more accessible on social media than the corporate executives of Konami Holdings Corporation.

Look, I get it. The Snake Soup started as a Metal Gear fansite and is now a Hideo Kojima fansite. We may have some coverage for Metal Gear Survive but it will not be anything like it was before and quite frankly, I’m not really interested in Survive based on what we have seen thus far. As was the case with Revengeance before, I might even not play through the entire thing due to a lack of interest. Opinions will always be a thing and the burden is indeed on Konami to chill the fuck out and let us know why Survive is worth a purchase instead of throwing us a terrible trailer and shrugging at most of the questions thrown at them.

The Sorrow can’t bring back Silent Hills, what makes you think he can bring back the Metal Gear series as you think Kojima intended?

Let us stop pretending that Hideo Kojima was not a businessman though. Part of my argument against Konami during the break-up with Kojima was that Kojima has always been willing to be involved with projects that came off as opposing his artistic vision for the main series. I have already mentioned Revengeance as an example of a very non-Metal Gear spin-off being slapped with the series name, but have we forgotten the two card-based Metal Gear titles, known as the Acid series? Yeah they were actually fun but hey, Survive might end up being fun too.

A lot of other examples exist. There was Snake vs. Monkey, which was sadly absent from the HD Edition of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Hell, for those of you feeling like the series has become tainted by action-orientated gameplay, do you really feel like any iteration of Metal Gear Online was not simply produced for people to have fun shooting each other up? Fuck, do you remember how Ground Zeroes was packed with extra missions with questionable canonical content… including a mission where ninja Raiden travels back in time, leaves behind his sword, and fights Snatchers?

The biggest difference with Survive is that it is stand-alone. If that is something to be criticized, so be it. The concept itself though is not something that would somehow be beneath Kojima. The guy approved a shoot-em-up iOS retelling of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots called Metal Gear Solid: Touch when touchscreen phones were starting to become huge.


He also approved… whatever the hell Ganbare Snake is supposed to be. For fuck’s sake, the Japanese version of Peace Walker had the soldiers of Militaries San Frontiers eating bags of Doritos and pounding down cans of Mountain Dew. Come on now. Fans simply have to accept that Konami owns the Metal Gear series. The silver lining to that dark cloud is pretty bright though—Kojima has moved on and is now able to work on something entirely new as he has wanted to do for decades.

Konami needs to open the hell up and be confident behind their game and talk about it instead of acting like it’s some illegal after hours bar that has to be kept on the low-key to avoid law enforcement attention. Metal Gear fans are diverse. Some like myself think the series should have ended long ago and are fine with The Phantom Pain as the final installment. Others looked at the Snake Eater pachinko remake and desired an actual remake on modern platforms. Then you have those who want more installments and continue the Metal Gear Sequel Cycle. There is no way to please all of us. Do what you gotta do but be open about it, otherwise people are going to assume the worst.

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