I won't beat around the bush and I'll say it openly – Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater has a slim chance of success. At least in my view. The entire PlayStation Showcase this year was a festival of disappointment and sadness for me. I was yet again brutally reminded that, with a few exceptions, I have nothing to look forward to. Ready for drama? So, for me, gaming died that evening, just like that – and if it weren't for the fact that I was already lying on my couch, I would have fallen to my knees like the shattered James from the new Silent Hill 2 (another failure). The announcement of the new MGS 3 was the final nail. Am I exaggerating? Perhaps. I am experiencing this because I still want to play and enjoy myself (and luckily, I have the opportunity to do so), but the future is not painted in very colorful shades.
A Hideo Kojima Game
The first thing that causes my outrage is, of course, the lack of Hideo Kojima on board for this project. The father of the series, who, with his ingenuity, captivated the masses and, as one of the few creators, showed that games can indeed be more than just entertainment, which he still proves today – in an elegant, admirable style. And it's not like he would like to take on this project anyway, and more power to him for that. However, the man himself seems an inseparable part of the games he meakes. The two cannot be separated, and certainly not without severe consequences.
The second problem that immediately catches my attention is Konami itself, which for many years has been proving that it has no idea about what their fans really want. Let's just mention Silent Hill, which was constantly dug up from the grave and then buried back again. This can also be seen in the nature of the new MGS trailer – Kojima, when he was leading the development of subsequent installments of the series, never announced any of them with a disgusting cinematic teaser. It's the first sin against the series' heritage.
The character of the mentioned trailer never made me feel that I was dealing with this famous spy series. The spirit apparently moved away along with its father. MGS has always utilized full-scale, inventive marketing campaigns, rather than something utterly generic squeezed between less exciting announcements. Do you remember the phenomenal Nuclear by Mike Oldfield announcing the fifth MGS? Or the "This is not FPS. This is MGS" revealing part four? That's exactly what I mean. Not to mention bigger follies, like the fictional studio and a bandaged man. These are things that we remember for years.
Battle against evil embodied
Let's leave Kojima alone; after all, he seems to be doing well enough without his former employer. There are several other problems that make it difficult for me to have a positive attitude towards this remake. One of them is the outstanding quality of the original itself. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, was ahead of its time in many ways, and you could say that, as an action game, it remains unmatched in certain aspects. Transferring this phenomenon to modern standards seems doomed to failure from the outset. It's not like a success is completely impossible – a perfect example of which is the new Resident Evil 4, but, of course, trusted Capcom is filled with talented, ingenious people. Konami currently seems a shadow of its former glory.
Snake Eater is an incredibly complex game, even from today's perspective. How many other action games can you name that had a diverse fauna, for example, which served as food, was dangerous, and could be used as means of distracting or even eliminating enemies? In addition, there is a complex camouflage system (which, to be fair, was inconvenient due to equipment limitations) and an advanced healing system. Let's not forget about the great CQC, which is difficult to grasp at first, but once you manage to do it, you can have fun with it for hours. Testing mechanics and discovering new features is, after all, an integral part of the MGS experience (same as Death Stranding and other Kojima's games).
This cult series would also not be the same without Hideo's iconic sense of humor – which is so specific some people are even put off by it. Meanwhile, imitating someone's unique style and wits is a difficult art, also doomed to failure from the outset. So, it may turn out that these specific ingredients will all be missing, or that they simply turn out mediocre and even pathetic. There's also the issue of all the little nuances (which the series is full of) and a great attention to detail – if it was that simple, more games would offer something similar.
And besides – what's next? After such extensive part three, it will be difficult to return to the original and maintain a similar quality – so its potential remake could suffer. Part three was valuable as the sequel, because it changed the perception of Big Boss, who thus far had been portrayed as an antagonist – and an unattainable legend.
The creators of Delta promise fidelity to original with some innovations, a seamless jungle world (that's how I understand the term "seamless user experience"), the original cast (David Hayter FTW!!!) and... that's essentially it. I believe that the remake will be similar to RE4, although the description on the website (and the graphics available there) suggest an approach more akin to Shadow of the Colossus or Demon's Souls, i.e. a 1:1 copy. My opinion is that they cannot afford it, because MGS3 was built for isometric perspective. In addition, the enemies were short-sighted and almost deaf, it was impossible to run while crouching (only introduced in MGS4), and also issue of aiming. There's a need for a lot of changes here and just revamping the graphics won't cut it.
The end of life
I complain and grumble, but this is one of the games of my life – along with other installments of this series. I have spent thousands of hours with these games, I know them like the back of my hand, and I want the right people to be behind such a return. Metal Gear Solid taught me at an early age to pay attention to the direction of scenes in games, look for depth, innovative solutions, and got me used to a broadly understood quality manifested in the smallest details. And I usually don't find it because there masterpieces are few and far between... simple as that. It's no coincidence when legends go down in history.
The last entry in this series was Metal Gear Survive – and it had almost nothing in common with the rest of the series. Despite brilliant gameplay (which could have been even better) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was also a big disappointment. Kojima's presence, of course, doesn't have to guarantee success, but the example of Death Stranding shows that it's primarily his persona that determines the artistry of these games. Because those who know Shinji Mikami know him – Hideo Kojima is known by almost everyone, and not only because his name is a part of his studio's name and appears on the covers of his games.
There are, however, some upsides to all this. A collection of classics was announced (the best part of the show!), so the legacy of other legends will be upheld. Unfortunately, the situation is different with Silent Hill 2, which will be replaced by a remake that's not very promising. Konami still hasn't regained my trust, but the first gameplay trailer from both of these remakes might change that. Until then, however, I remain rather negative about it. Especially since Snake's face now looks so ugly.
Krzysiek Kalwasinski | Gamepressure.com