Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes was an experiment fans ‘didn’t understand’
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes was a standalone prologue, designed to ease players into the final full game, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. However, speaking on the game’s ninth anniversary, writer Hideo Kojima revealed that he also used the release as an experiment in what could have eventually been a larger episodic series.
Kojima explained that Ground Zeroes “served as an important introduction to Snake’s revenge in the main story, and the theme of Metal Gear Solid 5 is revenge”. But while it allowed the former Kojima production to gather valuable feedback that would help shape the development of The Phantom Pain, it was also used as a test.
“Development of a complete game takes four to five years [and] Time changes during production,” He said. “So I thought of offering an episodic format, like a streamed drama, where an episode is produced and distributed. Ground Zeroes was meant to be an experiment. However, many people seemed to expect Ground Zeroes to be a ‘full game’ upon its release, and they didn’t get it. I realize it was too soon. “
To be fair, episodic gaming was popular at the time: Telltale, for example, was at its peak during this period, releasing regular episodes in its The Walking Dead stories. We’re not sure a series as big as Metal Gear Solid would work episodically, though, and while Kojima suggests the idea came up pretty early, we don’t think it would fly today.
That said, there are live service games that now follow this format. Genshin Impact, for example, has been out for several years and is still expanding on its core story with regularly scheduled updates. So, while the model is probably different from what Kojima originally envisioned, it is happening in the games industry today to some extent.
Check the latest gaming news here.