Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s presentation began with a trailer directed and edited by Hideo Kojima -- presumably in a grand effort to show off the latest footage from the Fox Engine. In a part of the Konami booth on the E3 floor, we saw Snake, Ocelet, and other familiar faces dramatically emoting in a variety of familiar environments. We saw a group of scenes ranging from Snake brawling with a group of faceless guards, Quiet showing off her action chops in the desert of Afghanistan, and most bizarrely, Snake dumping someone’s cremated ashes into his hands and rubbing them on his face.
If that set of events evokes any emotional whiplash for you, rest assured, it did for me as well. But that wierdness pervaded the rest of the demo, so at least Kojima Productions is clearly committed to the wacky end of Metal Gear Solid.
Our demo focused on two segments -- Snake testing out some of his new gadgets in an open world section of Afghanistan, and a new first look at Mother Base -- a replacement for Big Boss’s operation destroyed in the prequel title ‘Metal Gear Solid V,’ Ground Zeroes.
After the trailer’s conclusion, a Konami representative took control of Snake and led him into the desert to show off some of V’s new stealth systems. The firswas the return of Peace Walker’s Fulton recovery system, which allows players to loot objects, vehicles, cargo and knocked out guards by way of a giant balloon attached to their belts. It’s a neat way to reward the player for knocking out guards and allows them to be removed from the battlefield, and knocked out guards can become part of the player’s "Diamond Dogs" group back at Mother Base. The presenter was insistent, however, on making sure we saw that the Fulton system also worked on sheep.
As we snuck through the desert, the Konami presenter highlighted some of the stealth techniques seen in previous Metal Gear Solid V trailers such as horse stealth (yes that’s a thing.) They also showed Snake’s new metal hand, which lets him "knock" wherever he wants, giving players a greater range of ability to lure and re-position guards. The open world section of the demo ended with a quick infiltration and hostage rescue of an enemy compound, and it was pretty clear that we were looking at one of several varying ways to enter and exit the base.
Amusingly, we also got a look at Snake’s e-cigarette, containing herbs which affect the smoker’s perception of time, allowing Snake to speed up the day to take advantage of guard shifts, day/night differences, and weather conditions.
The newest gameplay elements were seen in relation to Mother Base. As previously mentioned, the Fulton delivery system sends resources back to Mother Base, where Big Boss’s paramilitary organization, the Diamond Dogs, are housed. Here, rescued hostages, captured guards and other resources become part of a growing, customizable base that backs up the player when they’re out on a mission. Mother Base’s soldiers can be used to spy on enemy camps, research technology or send in supply drops of weapons, ammo, vehicles or cardboard boxes.
The demo closed with Mother Base coming under attack, and the revelation that players will need to focus and learning their way around in anticipation of random attacks and restocking this Mother Base.
The open world stealth functions continue to look like solid growth on what we saw in Ground Zeroes, but it remains to be seen if the game can fluidly merge both the wacky elements like flying sheep and the darker themes of child soldiers and sexual violence. So while we may be discuss the game’s stealth systems now, there may be other key topics we haven’t seen yet that we’ll find more noteworthy in the coming year.