We are experiencing a generational leap of the gaming platforms from Sony and Microsoft that is very particular. After several years, next-gen consoles have come onto the market with a good backwards compatibility feature. This is a pretty obvious sign of how gamers are actually tied to the library of games they bought in the past. While Microsoft is offering appreciable backward compatibility across several generations of Xbox, Sony on Playstation 5 unfortunately natively re-proposes only the titles of the previous console. However, it must be emphasized that in recent years several remakes and remastered video games have been made, which have found new life thanks to the most modern hardware and a game engine in step with the times.
Several milestones have been taken and rethought in a modern perspective, giving light to real masterpieces and goodies such as Resident Evil 2 Remake, Final Fantasy VII Remake, MediEvil, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, Crash Team Racing. All of these titles represent most of the successful intellectual property belonging to the era of the very first Playstation. However, a very important protagonist of that era is missing. It’s been more than twenty years now since Konami revolutionized the stealth genre in video games with Metal Gear Solid. Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece still remains a historical icon of the entire media with unique game design ideas, even for those who want to play it in 2020. Is it time to do a remastered or remake job also on this famous title? In recent months, but especially in recent weeks, there have been several rumours that the Bluepoint Games would like to work on this hypothetical project. So let’s analyze them and see if we can actually return to Shadow Moses as a less pixelated Solid Snake, with new gameplay mechanics and relive the cutscenes with more modern graphics.
So many rumours
The real speculations about Metal Gear Solid Remake began more than a year ago when on October 31st Bluepoint Games released a famous and very cryptic tweet. Instead of simply wishing “Happy Halloween” to all their followers, they wrote sentences containing numerous references to video games of the past. At the time it was not known what they were working on, but it has been repeatedly confirmed that they have two very important projects in development. One of those turned out to be the remake of Demon’s Souls, a title released at launch on Playstation 5, while the other is still shrouded in mystery.
There are possible links to Metal Gear Solid in that tweet, which have led historical fans to fantasize on discussion boards and on Reddit. The first element in favour of the Metal Gear Solid Remake project is the link between the Bluepoint Games and the Hideo Kojima saga. In fact, in 2011 they released the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, a remastered of MGS2: Sons Of Liberty, MGS3: Snake Eater and MGS: Peace Walker. These video games have received a graphical improvement over their original counterparts released for Playstation 2 and PSP, without upsetting the gameplay mechanics in any way. It has been rumoured for some time moreover that Sony would be negotiating with Konami to acquire or “borrow” the intellectual properties related to Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill (another IP much requested by fans) to make a remake on Playstation 5. Just recently an insider stated that the Metal Gear Solid remake has been in development for three years at Bluepoint Games studios and will be exclusive to the new Sony console along with the Silent Hill remake. The same news was later spread by another supposedly reliable name in the industry, who claims that the remake of Metal Gear Solid will be presented at this year’s The Game Awards.
Sony undoubtedly is on good terms with numerous manufacturers and would probably be able to buy the rights to develop these remakes without too many complications. Especially since Konami does not seem willing to carry on these intellectual properties, as it is currently focused on other projects. Sony itself may even want to acquire the Bluepoint Games, after their excellent work on Demon’s Souls and Shadow of the Colossus, both exclusive to Playstation. Following the numerous remake operations mentioned above, these could be two other big surprises ready to be released in the short term. Finally, let’s not forget that after the dismissal of Hideo Kojima from Konami, the famous game director passed under the protective wing of Sony, which provided the game engine to the new development studio Kojima Productions make Death Stranding.
What to do in the remake?
There are therefore several elements in favour of a possible remake of Metal Gear Solid. So assuming that it was actually in development, what would we like to see in this video game compared to the original chapter released on Playstation? Hideo Kojima at the time was able to harness the full power of the first Sony console to create a very realistic three-dimensional environment (by the standards of the time, of course). Furthermore, the game designer created a particular connection between the player and the character of Solid Snake, managing to break through the so-called fourth wall several times during the course of the plot. These gameplay gimmicks, combined with a truly exceptional game design, consecrated Metal Gear Solid as a timeless pearl of the videogame world. Hardly a gamer will forget the boss battle with Psycho Mantis, in which our opponent even managed to “turn off the television”. To defeat him then we had to connect our Dualshock controller to port number two on the console to prevent Mantis from “reading our minds”. We can’t overlook Meryl’s famous codec frequency hidden “behind the CD” either. A brilliant idea, which in addition to breaking through the fourth wall in a rather original way, managed to create some headaches for those who took possession of the video game through piracy.
At this point, many fans of the saga will be wondering: how could they re-propose these gameplay elements, so strongly linked to the first Playstation console, in a modern perspective? Difficult to find an answer. Many have speculated the use of similar gameplay to what was seen on Metal Gear Solid V, but would it work in a title as different as the first MGS? Would the battle with Revolver Ocelot be as thrilling as it was originally, having three-dimensional graphics and a much better control system available? Probably yes, but the game design and structure of the video game would need to be substantially changed to make it more compatible with today’s standards. The fight just mentioned took place exclusively in one room. The classic view from high gave us a rather suggestive overview with President Baker in the centre linked to the explosives. Leveraging a modern graphics engine, the freedom of the camera and a shooting system similar to MGSV, all could enjoy the same atmosphere? Many of these questions continue to stir in the minds of fans of the Hideo Kojima saga, worried about how a jewel-like Metal Gear Solid could be treated in a remake operation.
The other way forward would instead be a simple remastered video game, to rejuvenate the graphics and textures a bit, essentially re-proposing the same scenes and the same gameplay of the original title. Similar work has already been done with a game like MediEvil, but for this very reason, it has received some criticism from those expecting a real remake. Quoting directly from our review of the game in question:
“The developers have carried out a complete technical review of MediEvil, recreating all the assets from scratch with a view to a work that on the one hand is respectful of the original style, on the other hand, tries to put his own to further enhance the atmosphere. is that, however, the gameplay has remained practically identical to that of 1998, and if this can represent an added value for the incurable nostalgics and purists, alas it ends up cutting out those who expect certain things from a video game of 2019. “
There is therefore a risk that the same thing could happen with Metal Gear Solid. In this case, on the one hand, we will have gameplay and game mechanics faithful to those found by Kojima, on the other hand, we will not be able to enjoy the plot and the cutscenes with the modern graphics, shots and technology that a game of this genre deserves to have.