It's coming tomorrow morning.
For Konami, there's no doubt that the thrust of their E3 2014 was new information on 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.' It started out with a new trailer at the PlayStation briefing and continued on through E3 with a series of closed demonstrations.
Now the first demonstration that I saw has been cleared for discussion. The second one I saw, which is naturally very tantalizing in the aspects of the game it showcased, is going public tomorrow. Konami even has a feed below with a countdown time. My thoughts on that demo will have to wait until then.
So shifting back to the first demonstration. The message was clear, this demo was running in 1080p at 60 FPS on a PS4, which is all well and good, but Konami, Kojima and Co. know that they are facing some big challenges in pitching 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' as a must play game. In spite of its openness, replayability, and Fox Engine finish, 'Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes' is a relatively short experience for most players. Not so with the 'The Phantom Pain' as the following map illustrates.
Another 'Ground Zeroes' response is that for both new and old fans to the series, the end of 'Ground Zeroes' left an ashen taste. This response, which could easily be termed a desire for revenge has factored quite heavily in the recent direction of 'The Phantom Pain.' The same could be said for fans very public feedback regarding differences between 'Ground Zeroes' and 'Peace Walker.' Why should players be forced to drag, drive, or otherwise haul enemies and prisoners around?
Hello Fulton recovery system. Much like Batman did in 'The Dark Knight,' players used the Fulton recovery system quite liberally in 'Peace Walker.' Not only does 'The Phantom Pain' see the return of Fultoning enemies and prisoners, its use has been much expanded. From crates to sheep to whole vehicles, Fultoning is the name of the game.
Players can't use the system in doors, but more interestingly, they even need to be concerned that Fulton balloons can be shot down by the right enemy presence. A percentage on the HUD indicates the likelihood of Fulton success. What's interesting here as well is that where Big Boss was dependant on helicopters in 'Ground Zeroes,' he can now Fulton a cargo container from under his own feet, and both he and the container will be returned to base.
And at this point, fans should know what the base is. While the game is focused on the area of Soviet conflict in Afghanistan, there is an area on the water (presumably well south of the continent) where the player's base is, aka a new Mother Base.
Getting back to mission, it's Ocelot and Big Boss on horseback. Big Boss is set to recover a missing Miller, but first he'll need some intel on the location. Big Boss is having some trouble with his new prosthetic arm, but Ocelot leaves him to infiltrate an enemy base. The first thing post cutscene that the player may notice is Big Boss' horse doing what horse do, fertilizing. This horse action is a funny bit of highlight from the demo, and when it's later shown that sheep roam around, apparently waiting to be Fultoned, I got the sense that animals factor somewhat into the open dynamics of the game.
And it is open. Not only can the player roam about at will Fultoning everything in sight, but the world features both a day night cycle and a dynamic weather system. Fultoning in harsh wind (sandstorm) or rain conditions is inadvisable.
Big Boss senses danger much like in 'Ground Zeroes,' and he has a similar ability (bullet time) to respond to an alert. He can now tap at will (without needing a certain adjacent surface) to distract guards thanks to his new arm. (The sound of one hand clapping.) He can also tag soldiers as before, but with the day night cycle, the importance grows.
Big Boss has a combination watch and electric cigar, with which the player can scale time forward. By scaling time this way, a player can tag an enemy and then follow as the enemy finishes that day's tour of guard duty, enters the barracks and goes to sleep. If Big Boss stays quiet, he can sneak right past any sleeping enemies.
Another big avenue for Big Boss is supply drops and boxes. Using the iDroid system, Big Boss can call for box. He can even have the box or other supplies dropped directly on top of an enemy, which will knock the enemy out. The box is a staple of the series, but it has really grown into a lethal sneaking device. Big Boss can pop out of the box on any side, shoot an enemy and dash back in. He can also leave the box sitting on the ground, which will likely attract an enemy, who can expect to be Fultoned.
In the demo, after recovering the intel, they showed one way that an alarm could be dealt with. Big Boss provoked some guards and then called for an airlift and an air strike. Unlike 'Ground Zeroes,' a chopper can be called into nearly anywhere outside. There's a small interval where Big Boss boards the chopper and may need to shoot at enemies, but after the chopper gets a ways into the air, the player can watch as an air strike takes care of the now scrambling base.
Again, this may all sound just like 'Ground Zeroes' but with a few new features and a massive scale, but Konami has not one but two big reveals left. The first involves Mother Base, and it'll more than grab fans of 'Peace Walker.' The other big reveal is something very new to the series, and it's likely to be the one feature to appeal the most to non-fans.
You can find the latest info on 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' linked from our Video Game Release Schedule.