Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain to reduce cutscenes in favour of "pure game storytelling"

Kojima Productions designer described the shift from lengthy cutscenes to systemic, player-driven narrative for The Phantom Pain's open world.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Kojima Productions designer Jordan Amaro described how the developer will be "reducing the amount of cutscenes" in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

Amaro said that this is being done to accommodate the variety of gameplay options within The Phantom Pain's open world.

"When you are in our environments, you need to observe, use your binoculars, mark the guys and say, okay, what do I do now?" Amaro said. "There's no obvious road."

The Kojima Productions designer went on to describe his difficulties transitioning to this design philosophy from his prior experience at 2K, Crytek and Ubisoft.

"I would start working on missions using my westerner's knowledge," Amaro said. "I was designing with the player as my main preoccupation. All I did was for the player, the player was at the centre of the game. And I was getting it all wrong, this goes against the vision for MGS5."

We hope to reveal Snake's character through the players' actions in those spaces that are smart to traverse. That's pure game storytelling...

By making The Phantom Pain's gameplay "not just about the player," Amaro said Kojima Productions is able to focus on creating an environment in which players can craft their own stories through the game's systemic mechanics.

"We get rid of all the narrative burdens, like, Sam Fisher or whoever has to go through this emotional state or has to reach that guy," Amaro elaborated. "We just go for non-dependent objectives, and we just get rid of all that narrative burden and just focus on what makes the mission good at the core level.

"We hope to reveal Snake's character through the players' actions in those spaces that are smart to traverse. That's pure game storytelling, although it's still primal because the odds are what they are."

In addition to a reduced number of cutscenes and a focus on telling a story through players' actions, Amaro mentioned that Snake would not be talking as much in The Phantom Pain as the character did in previous Metal Gear Solid games: "[Kojima] said, if he talks too much then we have to pay Kiefer Sutherland a lot more!" he joked.

The Phantom Pain is hundreds of times bigger than its prologue, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and might not be out until December 2015.

Daniel Hindes is the AU editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @dhindes
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dhindes

Daniel Hindes

Daniel Hindes is GameSpot's Australian editor. He really likes stealth games. And he's also right behind you.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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130 comments
fadimalla
fadimalla

Noooooo.kojima plz dont reduce the cutscenes . Mgs series core is by those lovely cutscenes ... Sry for my bad english

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

i seriously cannot wait to play this game day one purchase if i have the cash.

Armyboy5
Armyboy5

Don't let the title fool you like gamespot does all the time now, they aren't cutting any cutscenes, they just made the open world more free and less linear

thebatman252
thebatman252

I know people might get mad about this, but MGS 4's cutscenes were boring a loot of the time. It's one of the best games ever don't get me wrong, but I like this decision. 

SunnySkyNL
SunnySkyNL

After playing Ground Zeroes I'm not worried at all. For the short amount of time you play it has the perfect length of cut scenes and we all know Kojima by now, if he thinks it's necessary to put in a long cut scene he will and there wouldn't be one die hard Metal Gear solid fan out there that would mind that, especially with that crazy beautiful new fox engine!

MARYUS1010
MARYUS1010

Those long cutscenes from MGS4 was....."THE CAKE"  of the game!

brakish33
brakish33

My only reaction to this is WHY???


If it ain't broke don't fix it okay?

Wahab_MinSeo
Wahab_MinSeo

MGSV The Phantom Pain Should be release late this year

GunEye
GunEye

I actually love MGS absurdly long cutscenes. What a  shame....

And I think he was actually serious about not being able to pay Kiefer enough...

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

Cutscenes and an overly strong focus on story are what really held back Hitman: Absolution.  For every level that really gave the player freedom in how they took out a target, there was another that forced them down a pretty straightforward path so that the next major story point would make sense.  For a game all about being a hitman, there were an awful lot of levels that didn't actually let you perform the hit.  It resulted in a very disjointed feeling that ignored the best aspects of the game in favor of a more focused plot that arguably just wasn't worth the loss of freedom.


Any game focusing on an "open world" or player freedom needs to take lessons from games like H:A.  I think the decision to cut down on major cutscenes in favor of a more player-driven narrative is a good call in the case of The Phantom Pain.  Story should fit your gameplay.  When you try to do things the other way around, you tend to lose something important along the way.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Hmm,  interesting,  because normally this would be a great move... but I LOVE the cinematic style of past MGS games SO much  I'm not sure if I like this idea as much as I should.  Hmm...

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

The gameplay of MGSV is phenomenal, the only thing that has me concerned so far is that all of the humor seems to have been stripped from the narrative. The MGS story lines have always blended the perfect mix of humor, with epic action, history, drama, suspense, and horror/sci fi.  MGS5 seems to be focusing too much on drama, and being dark and edgy(a lame Chris Nolan batman movie vibe), with none of the humor present in past games. Snake no longer has that awesome and intense sound to his voice when explaining things, the only emotion we can sense from Sutherland is anger when he starts yelling. Aside from when angrily yelling, the MGSV Big Boss sounds tired and boring(unlike the MGS3 Big Boss who has a legendary voice). The thing I have always loved about MGS games is that they touch on every human emotion, while MGSV seems to touch ONLY on dark emotions. I hope I am wrong.

lilflipp
lilflipp

The long cutscenes was actually a big plus for me. It gave me a break to snack on something and sit back. It didn't bother me because MGS was always heavily story driven and I liked it. They were also full of badassery, MGS4 cutscenes were epic.


What's next remove the codex convos? There has been a huge fanbase that loves the series for what it is. Why change it now because a few casual player's ADD doesn't allow them to stay still for 10 minutes. Yes, these cutscenes aren't all about Raiden slicing robots up and crap exploding. Some are about trying to add some flash to some characters backgrounds. If all you want is cutscenes of exploding shit, and helicopters crash. Go play some CoD, those every cutscene something is blowing up.


Basically this is what I used to tell people, if you're not into story driven games and just skip cutscenes in games. You won't like MGS.

yes_um_no_yeah
yes_um_no_yeah

Why are people in here that hate this franchise? Don't you guys have anything else better to do? I don't like Battlefield, so you know what I do? I don't click on articles that have to do with it. Even if I did out of curiosity, I would read peoples comments and make paragraphs and paragraphs arguing with people how much I don't like it and why they shouldn't either.

ric-hie
ric-hie

I've actually liked the long cutscenes...

altairdarius
altairdarius

Dont cut anything now. What's the point of doing that now

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

(Minor spoiler for MGS 4) 

The main problem with MGS 4's cutscenes wasn't that there are too many, though that is an issue. It was that so many were long and awkward and on matters I don't want to know. If Old Snake wasn't there for Meryl's wedding, why should I be? Raiden's family reunion should have a private family matter; no gamer invited. I don't care about those character's personal lives the same way Snake doesn't care, but if I skipped them, I felt like I missed a part fo the game.

Less proposals, weddings, reunions, confessions, and so on. More Raiden vs. Vamp and Solid vs. Liquid.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Good.  MGS4 was more movie than game... and the movie was a convoluted mess.  I hated it.


A few years back, my cousin was playing MGS4 with headphones on.  I look over and see Liquid/Ocelot put up his hand in the form of a gun, and I said "Bang!  bang!", and my cousin busts out laughing!  I said "What!?"  He said "That is actually what happened!"  Wow... I think Kojima's brain is gone.


Rule of thumb is every odd numbered MGS is good, so I may give V a chance.  Damn shame they had to soil it's name with that $30 demo, though.


Once it's out, now I'll have to say "The REAL MGS5" cause of that shitty demo.

StHapns247
StHapns247

Recently replayed MGS2 and I couldn't believe how many cutscenes and codec conversations there were. The last time I played it was back in 2001 when it originally came out don't remember there being so many.

At a certain point you lose interest in the story because all you want to do is play, but you have to watch a movie instead.

soilworker651
soilworker651

"This is my last Metal Gear game, and this time I mean it!" - Hideo Kojima, 11 years ago.

daviz88
daviz88

just like he said MGS 4 was the last MGS game, as Thanatos2k said " I'll believe it when I see it.".

chisei_fuuma
chisei_fuuma

 IM ABSOLUTELY LOOKING FORWARD FOR THIS >:)

soupormanjbl
soupormanjbl

As a hardcore Metal Gear fan, I gotta say I don't like the sound of this. I like my MGS cutscenes and codec conversations fine the way they've been for years.

VoidSECT
VoidSECT

I don't know, Metal Gear to me always was an mix of video games and japanese animes, i absolutely love the lenghty cutscenes and always thought that was one of the things that defined the series. I have my doubts that they will be able to tell a decent story using gameplay only (and shorter scenes), time will tell but color me worried. :\ 

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

I personally enjoyed the cutscenes. Thats what makes MGS an MGS game. Why change now? Regardless people will buy because its such a great godam series. That Foxhound though...

Boddicker
Boddicker

What does that mean?


Even half as many cutscenes is too much.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

Hmph after all the shit I kinda burnt out. I got into this new console generation hyped for watch dogs, destiny and metal gear. now I couldn't give two fucks about any of them and I could care less if this even comes out lol.


I'll be happy with dying light, alien isolation and the evil within.

Archangel2222
Archangel2222

@brakish33 agreed the game was awesome the way it was. instead they caved to casual gamers who hated the way the plot was told and gave us the finger to the real metal gear fans who enjoy it for what it is

rtainc
rtainc

@brakish33  So basically, don't ever innovate? That's not a good marketing idea.

soilworker651
soilworker651

@Dredcrumb9 You're right, it won't focus only on dark, it'll also focus on disturbing as well.  The deficit of the legendary cardboard box and the inability to knock on surfaces to distract the enemy hits the emphases on such. XD

soilworker651
soilworker651

@lilflipp I miss the codec screen.  I don't miss it being excessively abused like it was in MGS2, but there was a certain solitude to it.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@Unfallen_Satan  I loved Meryls wedding being included, it really gave you a sense of snake being a loner having him being the only one who didn't show up. It only made Snake seem more legendary when you see him and his father in the last scene. The only bad thing about MGS4 was the last 2 levels. Return to Shadow Moses felt like a wasted opportunity with the boring robot enemies in place of humans. And the last level barely had any game play.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@DrKill09  It's not "convoluted"(a word you sheep who dont get MGS keep parroting)You and your cousin just have ADHD and never paid attention ot the MGS story line before.When Liquid-Ocolot made the "bang bang" motion, he was signaling that he was turning off the nano machines, making Snake and every Soldier who is chipped with Nano Machines, feel Post Traumatic Stress(emotions are suppressed by the nano machines).

DrKill09
DrKill09

@StHapns247  yeah... a bad movie.


Here, let's give Otacon a sister OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE, and then we're supposed to feel bad for her when she dies.  BULLSHIT!

Terrencec06
Terrencec06

@Thanatos2k  Right.... I've never played a MGS game that wasn't cut scene heavy, but I don't have a problem with long cut scenes.

account240
account240

@soupormanjbl Exactly!


Idk what's wrong with Kojima, first we hear Hayter isn't the Big Boss's voice actor and now this!

DrKill09
DrKill09

@taker254isback  MGS usually doesn't come out on pc.  Even when MGS1 did, it was a mediocre port.

NTM23
NTM23

@Gankstar_VX84  People need to stop saying 'could' care less. Furthermore, just horror games? Hm. 

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Dredcrumb9 I was pleased to see Octacon and Sunny during the wedding though. I liked them throughout. They don't have long mono or dia-logues, and their feelings come through as pure and direct; I was especially surprised by Sunny since she rarely spoke and generally had this timid awkwardness about her.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Dredcrumb9 The loner feeling could have conveyed A LOT better, like a phone call from Otacon with wedding in the background. I love Snake's loner feel, but I don't need to watch all of Meryl's wedding to feel it.

I also found the hand-eye bots on Shadow Moses boring, but I felt content with the flashbacks and that superb piece of music near the beginning, really made me feel nostalgic even though I don't even remember the music from 1. Since I am not a big fan of MGS's brand of stealth gameplay anyway, short missions don't bother me though piecemeal continuous respawn does.

kvan33
kvan33

@Dredcrumb9 @DrKill09Tell me more about the plot!   What about the symbolism of a soda drinking monkey?  What is Kojima saying about society?   Clearly all MGS4 haters fail to understand the deep plot Kojima has crafted....or we just want to play a game instead of watching cut scenes that are worse than a B movie.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@DrKill09 @NTM23 @Gankstar_VX84  people who use hashtags and terms like "could care less"  are just like the morons who use the term "just sayin", " I aint about that life".or "YOLO"....complete morons.