Any doubts that the mysterious "Kojima Productions Next" project was not part of the Metal Gear Solid canon were erased today, when a character from the long-running series appeared on the game's--or games'-- teaser Web site. As part of a countdown teaser--which has now been reset for a third time to end at 3 p.m. PDT on Sunday, May 31--the site is now flashing a shot of Big Boss (pictured), series hero Solid Snake's erstwhile commanding officer and often-nemesis. The characters' semiyouthful age points to a period after Metal Gear Solid 3's Vietnam-era setting and before that of the original Metal Gear.
[UPDATE] The countdown clock has now changed to expire at 3 p.m. Monday, June 1.
Were that not enough to rally the Kojima faithful, several scans of Famitsu magazine posted by gaming blog Kotaku reveal that the site will eventually show another member of the MGS canon, Raiden. Alongside the teaser site's pic of Big Boss, Famitsu's Raiden image shows the character in futuristic armor--and with one eye patched over--which indicates that it is from a game set after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4.
The temporal dichotomy between the two shots has led to speculation that two separate games may be announced by Kojima Productions and Konami. So far, one game has been all but confirmed for a PlayStation-branded platform, whereas a Metal Gear Solid 4 port is rumored to be coming to the Xbox 360.
Such a game was hinted at the end of Hideo Kojima's 2009 Game Developers Conference keynote address, when the game designer posted a slide touting "The Next Metal Gear" and apparently showing Raiden. Strangely, the Kojima interview accompanying the shot has large sections redacted to hide the identity of the new game.
Today's revelations only add to Metal Gear fans' near-painful level of anticipation in the run-up to next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Check back at GameSpot on Sunday for the latest developments from the Kojima Productions teaser and for live coverage of Konami's press conference from 3-5pm on Wednesday, June 3.