As part of an effort to really get fans excited for the latest Metal Gear Solid game, Konami demonstrated forty solid minutes of real gameplay from the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Check out the trailer, below (expect adult themes, viewer discretion is advised).
Before getting into the actual gameplay and beginning the demonstration proper, the demonstrator addressed a few rumors. Acknowledging the controversy over the game’s in-game transactions, the demonstrator informed viewers that this game would not wall any of its content off with payments. In his words,
“While it is true that a few micro-transaction options do exist, the entire game has been carefully balanced to be fair and enjoyable with or without these options. There is no ‘pay to win’ option. Rest assured that every single item, weapon, and mission in the game is available to all players without paying a single cent. However due to the sheer scale of the game and the time required to explore it all, micro-transactions were added as a completely optional feature for players who might not be able to spend as much time with the game. Nothing more, nothing less.”
With that elephant in the room out of the way, the demo begins and viewers are shown the dynamic environment within the helicopter that players inhabit between missions, called the Aerial Command Center, or ACC. This chopper is where players are able to plan, strategize, and customize their approach to whatever objective they intend to fulfill next. Features included a wall lined with pictures that change as you progress through the game, your currently selected weapon hanging nearby, maps and mission-related photos lining the ceiling, and your currently selected buddy sitting across from you whose appearance and demeanor change based on the player’s relationship to him or her and what mission is selected. Players can even select (real, licensed) music to be played during the mission or by the helicopter, which will be played as they arrive when the player calls them for evac later.
The demo got to show off the system of collecting and completing objectives, which now are granted to the player in groups of 3 at once, with no required order of completion. Also available is the option to be dropped on the map without a marked objective to explore or scout or whatever other non-mission business you seek to tend to on the ground. Players can even choose what time of day to land, which affects certain aspects of the mission.
Before even dropping, though, players have to select their customizable loadout. This includes a staggering number of options revolving around about five decisions. The player, firstly, gets to choose who they play as. While Snake is a loved hero, the option exists to perform missions as other operatives from the franchise, like Scowling Dhole, Vile Crab, Sadistic Kitten, and others not shown. Next the player chooses their buddy. Options are, again, vast, but the demonstrator chose to reveal D-Dog, a canine companion! D-Dog, sporting his incredibly stylish eye patch, boasts many abilities that make him a valuable buddy, but there’s more customizing to be done. The player will then choose a vehicle from a list and move on to weapon loadout. The weapon customization is especially interesting, as it allows players to take parts researched for other weapons and attach them to different ones.
The demonstrator informs viewers he’d be showcasing a desert mission in Kabul, Afghanistan (during the Soviet Russian occupation of the ’80s). First thing to happen after landing in the desert? D-Dog casually relieves his bladder. The demonstrator shows off the map, which indicated primary and side missions, of which he chooses a side objective to capture a Russian interpreter, who will become useful in the Russian-occupied area.
Snake and D-Dog proceed to show off the buddy command system as he takes out guards and fails to interrogate one because of the Russian language barrier. D-Dog also reveals enemies nearby through walls and even discern their allegiance to the player. The demonstration then follows Snake as he incapacitates a guard to free a hostage and reveal the location of some nearby blueprints, which will unlock new weapon mods.
Showing that the interpreter apprehended now reveals what Russian speaking NPCs are saying, the demo sees Snake move on to a primary objective at a different outpost nearby, but not before snagging a cassette from a nearby tape deck playing a song the player doesn’t yet have…but does now!
He immediately encounters a sandstorm, a randomly occurring feature of the desert landscape, that Snake waits out by smoking a Phantom Cigar, a new item used to initiate a fast-forward of time in-game. The sandstorm has ended when Snake is finished with his cigar, and the demo continues with a buddy substitution. Before viewers get to see the second newly unveiled buddy, yet another feature is presented. With the next outpost in sight, approaching players can request detailed intel from headquarters that the demonstrator investigates while waiting for the next buddy, D-Walker, to arrive.
D-Walker proves to be a valuable asset with a variety of different mechanisms for maneuvering, a scanning function, and mounted weaponry, which are all showcased brilliantly. AI functionality and adaptability is discussed after the demonstrator explains the anti-air radar rigs. The mission objective is fulfilled and makes a spectacle of displaying Snake using all sorts of gadgets, items, and equipment to make his way out of the base to hold off reinforcements while evac arrives.
It all ends with the chopper showing up playing the energetic song chosen earlier and the action winds down after a climactic tank disposal.
Check out the 40-minute demo for yourself, below.
The sheer amount of variety and custom playstyles allowed by the game are clearly a heavily emphasized aspect that will draw many players. I can personally admit that, as a player who has never experienced a MGS game, I am definitely one of those drawn in. Expect to see the game released September 1st for PlayStation 3 & 4 and Xbox One & 360, and September 15th for PC.