Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a third-person stealth action game in development by Kojima Productions for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It's set to be released on September 1, 2015.
It is the tenth official installment of the Metal Gear series and the first to use the FOX Engine. The game has players reprising the role of Snake (a.k.a Big Boss, not to be confused with his clone/son, Solid Snake), as he awakens from a 9-year coma in 1984, following the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
The multiplayer component of the game is being worked on by the Kojima Productions LA studio in conjunction with the Tokyo studio.
Following the destruction of Mother Base at the end of MGSV: Ground Zeroes, Big Boss awakes from a 9-year coma in a hospital, missing his left arm and suffering from near full body muscle atrophy. An attack by unknown forces prompts an escape attempt, despite Big Boss's vulnerable condition. A bandaged man, "Ishmael" aids him, claiming to have been watching over him the past 9 years.
During the attack Big Boss has flashbacks to events from previous chronological games including Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. He is eventually saved by one of his former Patriot ally, Revolver Ocelot.
Ocelot leads Big Boss to Afghanistan, during the Soviet Invasion of 1984 to find Kazuhira Miller his former MSF second-in-command, held captive by the Soviet forces. Big Boss rescues Miller and takes him back to the new Mother Base, together with Ocelot they form a new faction known as "Diamond Dogs", which serve as the game's protagonist faction.
The gameplay in The Phantom Pain follows on from Ground Zeroes. Replacing the series staple radar system with an enemy marking mechanic that relies heavily on binoculars, the stealth gameplay has been overhauled.
If the player is detected they will activate a reflex mode where the game will enter slow motion and allow the alerted guard to be dealt with without sounding an alarm. If the player fails to take the guard down the game will instantly enter an alert state, with entire area converging on the player's position. Reflex mode can be turned off in the options menu for higher difficulty. Marked enemies can be seen and tracked via map on the iDroid as well as visible through walls.
CQC returns with more options, players can hold up guards, stun one or more enemies in rapid succession, cover take-downs and a ledge grab maneuver. Information on ammo caches and guard locations can be found by interrogate subdued guards.
Similar to the one found in Peace Walker is the player created Mother Base in which the player is able to build, customize and research upgrades for their weapons and call in for supply drops (including suppressors) in the field.
The player's base will be akin to a hub area where Snake can interact with main story characters and will be an important part of the multiplayer aspect of the game that focuses on attacking and stealing resources from other players' bases as well as making sure that the player's own is defended well enough with weapon emplacements, automated turrets and patrolling guards.
Support Buddy System
New to the series is the support buddy system, throughout the game Big Boss will meet and be able to recruit allies that he can take with him on missions.
- Quiet - A sniper who covers Snake during battle, shooting off enemies' helmets for Boss to deliver a follow-up headshot as well as synchronized double take-downs.
- D-Horse - White horse that can be called on, players can hang off the side of the horse to avoid detection by guards as well as use his excrement to make cars skid out of control on the road
- D.D. (Diamond Dog) - Wolf puppy rescued in Africa, can be trained by Ocelot to help Snake in missions
Kojima has said that it is entirely possible to finish the game without any support buddies as well as that a player could completely miss out and not meet some of the available buddies during his play-through, this would seem to have tremendous ramifications since the example given is that the player might not even encounter Quiet, a character that is very prominent in most of the game trailers.
The support buddies will have a variety of abilities that will aid Big Boss during missions, these abilities will vary on how well the player has cultivated the relationship with the buddy.
Interactive open world environment
The Phantom Pain will have several open-world sections where the player takes control of Snake to perform a mission, but how they approach each mission is up to the player. Each section will be an open world sandbox much like Ground Zeroes only featuring larger maps, however when players accept a mission, they will be constrained to a portion of the map designated as the mission area. Leaving this area before all objectives are complete will result in the player having to re-accept and restart the scenario.
The environment is more interactable, Snake can now rock climb, perform a combat roll as well as lunge forward a short distance to lower his profile, avoiding detection. Some areas will also have native fauna that is hostile such as wolf packs that may interfere with the players actions if not avoided or taken into account, some camouflaged making detection harder.
Weather effects will also play a role in the gameplay with sandstorms and torrential rain, reducing both guard detection and player visibility.
In order to traverse large maps vehicles have been introduced such as jeeps, tanks and the support buddy D-Horse. The player can also call in a helicopter to extract him out of missions, the helicopter however can be shot down if it is called to a heavily fortified enemy location.
Fulton extraction and enemy recruitment
The Fulton Extraction System returns from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, allowing for the capture and recruitment of enemy combatants and abduct supplies caches, animals and vehicles from the open world map. These serve the function of improving and upgrading the new Mother Base. The Fulton can be shot down by enemy soldiers if used during an alert status as well as being affected by changes in weather such as sandstorms and rain. Items or enemies extracted during adverse conditions can be lost and never be recovered to the players base.
Character stats return from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, enemy soldiers the player recruits will have randomized stats ranging from sneaking and deployment to intelligence gathering and recon. All of these can be evaluated by the player prior to recruitment by using the binoculars. Soldiers more apt in weapons development will increase the speed in which weapons are researched in Mother Base. Recruited soldiers can be sent on off-screen missions, their stats affecting both the chance of success and items they can procure.
The cardboard box returns with various upgrades. Snake can now pop out of the box to take a shot and quickly pop back in. He can burst out of the side of the box if a guard is suspicious to leave it as bait. A researchable upgrade is available that allows him to stand up and deploy a scantily clad woman or enemy officers on the front of the box to distract enemies.
Some of the new additions to the players arsenal are gadgets such as the Active Decoy, a throw-able disc shaped item that inflates into a static, standing copy of Snake that will produce a sound to attract and distract enemies. Decoys exist of both Snake and one of Kojima Productions-developed Silent Hills character Lisa. Guards on alert status will shift their fire on the decoy and allow for easier escape.
Also relevant to the player base are the interpreters he will have to find throughout the game , Big Boss has lost the ability to understand all other languages he previously spoke fluently such as Russian as a result of the shrapnel lodged in his skull and in order to communicate with his soldiers and allies he will have to have interpreters recruited for his base it has yet to be revealed the extent of which this mechanic will come in to play in.
Prosthetic robotic arm
Big Boss's prosthetic robotic arm has a variety of uses. The knock on wall mechanic from previous games returns, having been absent in Ground Zeroes. It can also be electrically charged for a few seconds to instantly knock-out an unsuspecting enemy.
Players will also be able to take advantage of the Fox Engine's day and night cycle to advance time with the new Phantom Cigar mechanic, a special cigar that advances time to a given moment, giving players the option to infiltrate locations at more opportune times.
Multiplayer / Metal Gear Online
The Phantom Pain contains a separate multiplayer mode that is being developed outside of the main Japan studio at Kojima Productions L.A. It has no effect on the single player. This gameplay mode is called Metal Gear Online, the third of its kind following its PS3 game released back in 2008 on Metal Gear Solid 4. No information on game modes is available, and it has not been confirmed if the game mode will be available alongside the single player core game.
Players will have the same movements and animations as Snake, but will be able to customize their appearance in a variety of ways. It is not clear if the Ocelot or Snake character skins will have any special features or abilities.
The Marking ability makes a return as well, and functions the same way requiring a couple of seconds before an enemy player is marked and visible to the entire team.
Players can use items such as sensor grenades, claymore mines, a stuffed animal for distraction and it is also possible to use vehicles such as the bipedal walking gun platform that provides full cover from the front but is naked from the back, it could also kick riot shield wearing players but was susceptible to explosive attacks, the cardboard box remains an option for stealthy players.
Metal Gear Online has fulton cannons that will remove players from the battlefield, but just like the fulton in single player it can be shot down before taking effect.
Ocelot has tracked down Kaz to a remote camp in the mountains of Afghanistan. Snake must race to rescue his captured comrade, but it will not be easy, as he must tread carefully between the mujaheddin of Afghanistan and the Russian forces occupying the country.
Features many child soldiers trapped in a conflict.
Similar to the MSF base from Peace Walker, the newly-formed Diamond Dogs are able to launch missions all across the globe as Big Boss's private army. The base's defences and personnel can be customized as the player sees fit. It is also possible for one player to infiltrate another players base and steal or destroy their resources.
As Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
At The Game Awards 2014, Metal Gear Online was debuted, shown was a 8v8 Team Sneak match, where an attacking team attempted to retrieve intel while the other defended.
As "The Phantom Pain"
The game was known for being vaguely introduced in a trailer as "The Phantom Pain" (by a fake Swedish developer known as "Moby Dick Studio", allegedly led by "Joakim Mogren") in order for Kojima to assess industry response for the FOX Engine. Despite hinted connections between the trailer and the Metal Gear franchise, the game remained mysterious until the 2013 Game Developers Conference, where it was officially revealed alongside Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which serves as the game's prologue.
After the trailer's release the internet started to speculate that Phantom Pain is a game created by Hideo Kojima for the Metal Gear franchise. Many hints were in the trailer including:
- The protagonist of Phantom Pain has the same mullet and facial hair as Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. He also has a bandage conspicuously covering his eyes, and the exact same scar that Big Boss has in a Ground Zeroes poster.
- The doctor in the trailer's opening shares a vague resemblance to Kio Marv of Metal Gear 2, and also a resemblance to Dr. Madnar from the same game. However, as both of those characters have only been seen in 8-bit graphics, admittedly they could look like anything in photo-realistic graphics.
- As the protagonist wakes up he sees white petals falling on him. A field of white flowers, and falling petals, were present in the death scene of the Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3.
- When the protagonist is taken from his bed he is initially unable to walk, and must crawl on the ground. This is very similar to the infamous Microwave Hallway scene from the climax of Metal Gear Solid 4. The protagonist also runs very similar to Big Boss in Peace Walker.
- The guns used by the soldiers in Phantom Pain also appear in the Ground Zeroes trailer that are based off an actual gun made in the late seventies.
- While mostly cloaked in shadow, one burning soldier is shown to be wearing almost the exact same armor on his legs as Col. Volgin from MGS3, which took place decades earlier. The body type looks similar as well but it could also be The Fury.
- A burning soldier who bears a likeness to MGS2-era- Raiden or Raikov is seen falling over in room.
- The final shot of the trailer shows a figure hanging in the air in the same pose as Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid.
- The only listed employee of Moby Dick Studios is Joakim Mogren. Joakim is an anagram of Kojima. Mogren is the football club of Budva, Montenegro, and Montenegro is the first level of Metal Gear Rising. Project Ogre is also the codename of The Phantom Pain. It should be noted Ogre is in Mogren.
- The negative space in the game's title at the end of the trailer spells out 'Metal Gear Solid V', though this is less useful as a clue as all of the Metal Gear Solid sequels to date have used standard numbers, not Roman numerals. Kojima even stated that he would never use Roman numerals in the main titles so this could be another game leading up to Metal Gear Solid 5 or Phantom Pain could possibly be Ground Zeroes.
- The title sequence for the reveal trailer was made by Prologue Films. Kyle Cooper (of Prologue Films) was seen at Konami's VGA VIP Party wearing a Phantom Pain/Moby Dick Studio T-Shirt. Cooper was also responsible for the title sequences of MGS2 and MGS3.
- In the Phantom Pain trailer the bandaged guy says, "On your feet soldier." while back in 2004 in a Metal Gear comic scan Gray Fox says the same exact quote.