TGS '07: Kojima speaks

Metal Gear Solid series director gives more details on PS3 stealth actioner, reveals Metal Gear Online starter pack will be included in game.

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It's become a tradition for Konami director Hideo Kojima to hold a stage presentation every year at the Tokyo Game Show. This year was no exception, and GameSpot was there to cover it.

Visitors to Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4 area were given a thick, 50-page booklet that was sure to be a treat for fans of the stealth-action series. Aside from pages of CG artwork, photos from the development scenes, columns, and interview articles, the booklet also gave a little bit more detail on MGS4's storyline.

The latest Metal Gear saga takes place five years after MGS2 (nine years after MGS1, as revealed in previous trailers), but the world has dramatically changed in that short time period. After the Big Shell incident in Manhattan, the US government required all soldiers working for Private Military Companies (PMCs) to be injected by nanomachines called the SOP (Sons Of the Patriots), which control their physical capabilities and emotions. The new technology allowed war zones to be completely controlled by PMCs. As a result, wars expanded, and PMCs grew larger and larger. By the time the game starts, warfare has become a vital part of the world's economy.

Roy Campbell now works for a subsidiary organ under the United Nations and reviews PMCs. According to his research, the total combined PMC military forces have grown to a size equivalent to that of the US Army. What's more, the top five PMCs are all operated by a single mother company named Outer Haven, commanded by Liquid Ocelot.

In order to assassinate his brother, Solid Snake--who has aged into an old, gray-haired man due to defects in his DNA--makes his way into the war zone in the Middle East.

The new trailer shown at TGS hinted that Liquid had kidnapped Doctor Naomi Hunter to hijack the SOP system and to lead an insurrection, although his motives aren't explained yet. It can only be assumed that he's trying to create the Outer Haven that Big Boss attempted to make: a utopia for soldiers, where they can battle forever without interference from forces such as politics.

Director Hideo Kojima appeared on stage at Konami's booth and started off by talking about the new bosses in MGS4. Although they were revealed to the press last month, this is the first time that Kojima directly showed them off to the public himself.

"In the first Metal Gear Solid, we featured a special forces unit that consisted of elite active soldiers," he explained. "In MGS2, we needed an even stronger team, and after a while of thinking, we went with a special forces unit that trains and instructs other special forces units. We decided to give superhuman abilities to those characters, kind of like in American comics. In MGS3, we had to make even stronger characters, so we went with a 'legendary' special forces unit."

"MGS4 was really tough since we had to go beyond legendary soldiers, so we thought that it might be better off if they weren't human. We made [a unit of] monsters, called the Beauty and the Beast," said Kojima, outlining the birth behind the oddly shaped new set of bosses in MGS4.

As GameSpot reported last month, Beauty and the Beast is a unit of four monster-like ladies that are, for an unknown reason, named like the special forces unit in MGS1: Laughing Octopus, Crying Wolf, Raging Raven, and Screaming Mantis.

The team members all look like bionic monsters, but they're actually women. Each has distinct characteristics. Laughing Octopus is constantly laughing as she makes her deadly rounds with bionic tentacles made of the same technology as Solidus Snake's appendages in MGS2. Octopus can also use the same thermoptic camouflage that Old Snake uses throughout the game, so finding her could be prove to be tricky.

Raging Raven is constantly in a state of anger. As her name suggests, she has wings, which are made of the same technology as those of the biomechanic bomber creatures called sliders seen in previous trailers of MGS4. Raven is strong enough alone, but she can also call out the sliders, which makes her an even tougher opponent. Crying Wolf is always crying, and she's the fastest monster in the unit, being able to use all four feet for running.

Finally, Screaming Mantis should be quite an interesting character for series fans. Leaving aside the fact that she's always screaming, she's got extra hands and she carries marionettes that allow her to control soldiers in the war zone. Her two marionettes are modeled after Psycho Mantis from MGS1 and The Sorrow from MGS3, and we expect the reasons to be explained in the game.

According to Kojima, the player's objective against the Beauty and the Beast unit is not to kill them. Much like the "little sisters" in BioShock, the monsters were originally girls with pure hearts, and it's up to the player to rescue them from their misery.

"There's the old fairytale about the beauty and the beast, where the character gets enchanted in the forest and gets turned into a beast," said Kojima. "These girls have been turned into a beast by the forest known as the war zone. It's up to the player as to whether or not they can break the spells on the girls."

For players that can lift their curses, there's a little bonus. As previously reported, Kojima used live actresses to model the Beauty and the Beast unit, and he also took 3D data of their faces. If the player can rescue them, they'll be able to unmask the beauty inside the beast and see what they actually look like.

Kojima confirmed that Raging Raven is modeled after actress Yumi Kikuchi, who's also doing the motion-capture acting and voices for the Japanese release. He kept the rest of the voice actor identities a secret, saying that it'll be up to the player to discover them.

Kojima then went on to give some details on the new characters that were shown in the TGS trailer: Drebin, Sunny, Big Mama, Johnathan, Ed, Johnny, and the Haven Troopers. Drebin is an arms wholesaler who delivers weapons registered to a corresponding solider with matching SOP nanomachines in them. Since he is able to modify these weapons, Drebin will play an important role in the game: delivering various kinds of arms to Snake.

As can be seen in the trailer, Drebin has a hairless pet monkey in shorts named Little Gray. According to Kojima, the motion-capture actor who played Raiden was extremely good at monkey impersonations, so Kojima decided to add one as a sidekick to Drebin, especially given that Drebin seemed a bit plain compared to the other characters in the game.

Kojima and art director Youji Shikawa explained that Drebin was one of the first characters to be written in MGS4's plot, but they had a hard time making him stand out. The developers decided to make him a master of magic tricks, and they hired a real professional magician for Drebin's motion captures. In the Japanese release, Drebin is voiced by Keiji Fujiwara, the same man who did Sigint in MGS3.

Sunny is a 9-year-old genius who is also the daughter of Olga, who died in Metal Gear Solid 2. Kojima joked that this is the first time a little girl is appearing in the series, and that she's been extremely vital to uplifting the spirits of the MGS4 developers because the other characters in the game are all old. In the Japanese release, Sunny will be voiced by Kikuko Inoue (Rosemary in MGS2, The Boss in MGS3).

"Sunny plays a central role in MGS4. Like her name says, she's like the sun, with the other characters in the game revolving around her. She's extremely important," said Kojima.

Another thing that the Metal Gear Solid series hasn't had up until now is an aged woman. Eva from MGS3 returns to the game as a strong lady that's around 80 years old. She's now known under the code name of "Big Mama," and she's fighting against the Patriots.

"She's called Big Mama. Her name might suggest something, but I won't comment anything further on it," said Kojima, who also noted that Big Mama carries a Mauser C96 just like she did back in MGS3. The gun is one of Kojima's favorites.

Kojima also gave some additional details to Meryl Silverburgh's teammates, who remained more or less nameless until now. The soldier with the Mohawk is named Johnathan, and he's mainly in charge of backup support. Johnathan's Mohawk looks like an exclamation mark when he's seen from the back, and as that might suggest, he isn't too fond of anyone catching him from behind. According to Kojima, Johnathan's motion captures were done by the MGS series' military advisor Motosada Mouri himself, so he moves a lot more professionally compared to the other characters in the game.

Meryl's other teammate, Ed, is the team's subleader. His specialties are in communication and sniping. If Johnathan and Ed's names seem familiar to old gamers, it's because Kojima named the two characters after the protagonists in his old adventure game, Policenauts.

Meryl's third team member is Johnny. The name should ring a bell to MGS fans; this is the same soldier who had stomach problems in the restroom, back in the original MGS. Kojima commented that Johnny is the least useful member in Meryl's team, as depicted in the last few seconds of the TGS trailer.

In the TGS trailer, Meryl's team gets assaulted by a group of armored soldiers. Kojima revealed that they're called the Haven troopers, and they're Liquid's special forces units. The Haven troopers wear the same enhanced muscle armor gear that Vamp wears on his legs, which allows them to move beyond normal human capabilities. Kojima also noted that the Haven troopers look a bit busty, hinting strongly that they are female.

Going on to talk about details in the game's system, Kojima introduced three new additions in MGS4: the Threat Ring, which acts like a radar and alert indicator; The Psyche Meter, which replaces the traditional stamina meter from previous MGS games; and the Baseline Map, which looks like the traditional radar map on the top of the screen but with a resizing circle in the middle that visualizes the presence of Snake. When Snake makes a noise or moves around, the circle gets bigger, which means that he's in an easier-to-discover state. If he crouches or lies on the ground, the circle becomes smaller.

Kojima and art director Shinkawa took their time to mention that there's going to be over 70 weapons in MGS4. What's more, players can customize their weapons by adding parts, such as a scope.

At the end of his presentation, Kojima showed off a trailer for Metal Gear Solid Online, and then announced that the game will be included in MGS4.

"We often get asked whether Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Solid Online will be sold separately," said Kojima. "Metal Gear Solid Online will be included in Metal Gear Solid 4, in the form of a 'Starter Pack.' Once the service launches, it'll keep on going with additional new stages, new rules, and so on. So in the end, MGSO will outlast MGS4."

Kojima's ended his presentation after inviting the audience to try out the MGS4 demo at Konami's booth.

As Kojima has said in the past, MGS4 is going to be the last adventure for Solid Snake, and most likely the last in the franchise that he'll direct. The thick Metal Gear Solid booklet given to visitors included some comments from Kojima, who seemed adamant as ever about his decisions.

"Solid Snake's story is really going to end in MGS4," explained Kojima in the booklet. "Using cloning [as a plot device] was really cheating. I wouldn't be working on [MGS4] if I thought there was a sequel� I've said it numerous times, but Solid Snake fought against a lot of strong foes back on the MSX, so we should've started from scratch when we worked on the PlayStation. But we released it as a sequel, so we had to bring out even stronger enemies. As a result, we had to create an adversary with the same strength [as Snake] and we decided to go with a clone storyline, but that's where things got difficult."

"One of my ideas [for MGS4's ending] was that, since Snake and Otacon are breaking the law in order to fulfill their justice, I was thinking of having them turn themselves in, and for the sake of justice, they'd get convicted and executed by the law," he explained. "But all of my staff went against the idea, so I decided not to go with that."

But even if Snake doesn't get executed at the end of MGS4, Kojima seems firm that he doesn't want Snake back.

"As long as there's a game called MGS5 and it's a game where you sneak around, it doesn't have to be Solid Snake, right? I'd like that to be created by the younger developers," he said. "To put it another way, Solid Snake is one character that I don't want to entrust to other people."

Shuyo Murata, one of the co-directors of MGS4, agreed in the booklet that Solid Snake just wouldn't be authentic if someone aside from Kojima depicted his continuing story.

"When someone other than director Kojima is writing, they can make scripts that sound like Solid Snake," Murata said. "But they can't write up a Solid Snake that's growing up. Snake in MGS4 really grew up [since MGS2], but only director Kojima can write that kind of material."

Whether a new hero will star in MGS5 remains to be seen, but if there's one thing that fans can be certain of, all the unsolved mysteries in the past three MGS installments will be answered in MGS4. "It's the concluding chapter, so we've even went around our own staff members to ask if they wanted anything answered," explained Kojima in the booklet. "It turns out that there's a lot."

Discussion

297 comments
Shroker123
Shroker123

Lol, TheSilverArrow, the PS3 is not a failure. Simply poor management on Sony's half has caused it to crash upon having no games lined up for its release. It's DVD/Blu-Ray playing is excellent. It has great upscaling. You are among many who look at PS3 as a gaming console and only as a gaming console. I got it for as a DVD player replacement and Blu-Ray player. And I must say it upscales really well. Yes the PS3 has some flaws but oh well. I can go on forever about that. Cloning plot devices has been used in many stories. And some have been great. Ya need to get your head out of the gutter.

Arayziel
Arayziel

@frankfurter- Probably, although Kojima is a master of pretention so gamers will adamantly defend his stories as the greatest thhng since Shakespeare. Oh well, the MGS games are fun as hell, so I can pass on the ridiculous story.

sparta30000
sparta30000

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

chewy317
chewy317

=-0 Silverarrow you are a racist.... asians arent any different then anyone on earth......... metal gear is a great game. Its too deep for u to understand sadly...

i_r_amazing
i_r_amazing

ummm, TheSilverArrow, i dunno y u r here. either u r trying 2 start something up and then laugh at us "ps3 fanboys" trying to defend ourselves, or you have been living in some hole underground in a forest somewhere. Either way, u need 2 wake up and smell the roses. First of all, mgs4 is ps3 exclusive, just to wipe that smirk of ur face. Second of all, Asians are awesome (and i say so dispite the facts that im not Asian) and deserve way more respect than that, I mean, how would u feel if someone said "God, retards are so annyoing". Third of all, blu-ray has won the format war, thus meaning that in the video aspect, sony (coincidentally an asian company) owns microsoft. Fourth of all, Ps3 is better than 360 in a lot of ways and anyone who think they can find a good reason to prove otherwise is just some loser whos too scared to change face in front of the other losers nit-picking at the consoles tiny, almost unnoticeable flaws. I can think, off the top of my head about 10 huge, annoying and really stupid problems with the 360, but none for the ps3, and with all these awesome exclusives coming out, this world where ps3 has failed is all in your head. Oh and my fan-dom of mgs is waaay greater than yours. I own every single one, have played through them all at lest 20 times each by now and have practically memorized the story, so don't ever try to put your self in front of anyone in that sense. so in conclusion ,you suck, ps3 rocks, and mgs4 rocks harder, so go play halo, loser

Phantom_2
Phantom_2

silverarrow, lets see you make a game u 360 fanboy. y r u even on here, go play your violent fps games and kill innocent ppl in gta. this isnt fps, its mgs

Phantom_2
Phantom_2

i feel sad that snake is leaving after this. He is a true soldier and ppl are right, snake doesn't feel the same with another person directing him.

Ja-nem-ba
Ja-nem-ba

I really don't get you TheSilverArrow. How exactly is his plot device of cloning "the most juvenile plot device he could have chose"? What, do you want some Tom Clancy storyline that goes nowhere but has terrorists in it so it must be good? Or maybe in MGS they should have changed it from Snake is Big Boss's genetic counterpart to "No, I'm really your roommate from your college years". What the hell could have made MGS a better series in your eyes? I really see nothing wrong with a cloning storyline, and I doubt an eighth grader could think of the Patriots storyline, and if you say thats weak writing, then what the hell is good writing? Some backward-thinking where simple writing is best? Like Splinter Cell: At the start of the game you're up against Svenska Adamka, or some dick, and by the end you're up against him and maybe some help from a corrupt Asian government. Yawn. What great development in the story. Is this what would make MGS better? I guess I'm simply asking, what WOULD make MGS good in your eyes? You haven't really elaborated on anything in your comment and therefore, I have no reason to believe you're nothing but someone who hasn't actually played MGS or MG but knows about the cloning storyline and its surrounding properties and decided that because its so popular, you have the right to insult it. By the way, I'm just saying what it seems like, If you do actually have as much knowledge of MGS as you say, then answer my questions and enlighten me.

oumir
oumir

mgso likes great. so it's coming with mgs4 right? what i don't get is how we get the full version. do we download it for psn or do we have to buy every new instalment at a store? anyway this game looks so good, i feel sorry for xbox fanboys. they are so up on the xbox cloud that they we miss the great party down below. this one is got to be THE MUST NOT MISS GAME! but gs will most likely give it a 8.9 or at lest a 9.0, gs is so one sided. i'm tired of seeing that over and over on this site.

borninvincible
borninvincible

your funny silverarrow... and yes, i have been into the series as long as you. as im sure alot of people have... your way off with kojima and the way the series is headed. there is much to be said about the newest installment... wait and see!

TheSilverArrow
TheSilverArrow

Its about time Kojima talked about his "plot devices". Its so weak. And so is his writing. If youre not some little teenager, you'd see his use of the whole "Im your Father, no....Im your gentic counterpart" as the most juvenile plot device he could have chosen. The whole series has become increasingly insulting. Little kids love it. To anyone with a brain, you see right through Kojima. He's an egotistical Asian who uses 8th grade plot devices and thinks he's cool. He sucks. And the failure of MGS4 alongside of the failure of the PS3 is a funny thing to me. And I boutgh MG1 for NES in the first week it was released. Have YOU been with the series longer than me? No. So shut it. MGS is a pathetic joke these days.

HellraiserMC
HellraiserMC

I read it again. The story is crazy, I think Hideo is a lunatic. I can't find any meaning whatsoever. No offence.

HellraiserMC
HellraiserMC

I've only played MGS2, but again, the story seems like a very big mess. And if the game is anything like 2 (which I think it will be), with the very long cutscenes, this may turn out to be one large interactive movie. At least let's hope the AI is better...

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

theJZA, if you get this one without having played MSG2 and 3, you'll most likely be very, VERY lost, especially with all the names and throw backs to its predecessors. My suggestion - at the very least rent MSG2 and 3 to catch yourself up on the story. The concluding chapter of this tale will be a lot more rewarding to you if you do.

usmo_
usmo_

That MGS4 Gameplay trailer looked mindblowing. The graphics were the first thing that hit me - the textures, shapes, speed of rendering, motion blur, dynamic lighting and smoke looked absolutely amazing; anyone who has seen the gameplay trailer would know. I havent played any previous MGS games but i think i am going to have to now because this is a must-have in my mind, along with MGSO.

illrepute
illrepute

I grew up on this game and I know that if I dont get a ps3 I will not stop crying ever (well maybe if they came out with a really good wii game or I got xbox360)

theJZA
theJZA

After metal gear solid (PS) I never really followed the series. I guess I got tired of it... I wasn't even planning to buy this one... until I saw the online component. Oh jeeze, it looks so awesome! I'm gonna get it!

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

This is how FPS should be done in the first place, at least the character model is human like. Awesome!!!

major_zero25
major_zero25

it all comes down to this the best gaming series is about to end im really gonna cry when i finish this game ive been waiting so hard since it has been announced and after evry trailer i get more exited when is it coming i cant wait ny more

uk_beny
uk_beny

well its metal gear news its good with me shame about snake not coming back though

daleyboy928
daleyboy928

As far as Metal Gear "SOLID", yea this is the last. But Kojima said that depending on how this game does, another Metal Gear installment may materialize, courtesy of Kojima Productions. He won't be directing it tho...

sicscum
sicscum

I really hope that this is the LAST metal gear ANYTHING. I love the series, easily in the top 5 of all the games ever created. But i feel that if they create another metal gear game it'll just stretch it out too much. Like Hideo said, the characters are just getting too mighty. The next step up is practically gods. I love that every character has a story of their own, but if they make another game to the series that'll just be milking it too much. After all the best part of an epic series of movies, books, or anything is when you finally have all your questions answered and you can finally let it go from your mind. If they continue people will probably get too exhausted and the story will lose momentum. The story is already VERY drawn out, (beautifully done) but it is certainly time for closure.

Lordofultima
Lordofultima

WHOA, Metal Gear Solid has some of the best voice acting in a video game. You sir are out of your mind.

Total-KO
Total-KO

"wow, stealing the little sister bit from Bioshock, that sucks." What are you on about?

Cbordi
Cbordi

me need this game!!

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

wow, stealing the little sister bit from Bioshock, that sucks. lol At least he admits it, good for him. I really hope with all this money spent, they do something about the terrible voice acting of previous games. Bring in voice over actors that are paid because they have a great voice. Not that chooch who did the last one.

lociefer
lociefer

this game is gonna go through history :D

daleyboy928
daleyboy928

I think you're right about the Snake/Liquid matchup being in Shadow Moses. Damn, Kojima is the man. Snake's probably gonna be all over the globe in this game...

tophat666
tophat666

if this doesn't come out for the 360 i need to get a PS3 no matter how much i have to pay. 600 for the system and 60 for the game + tax makes this about 700+$, wow i got to start saving up and get a job.

dudeglove
dudeglove

I'm happy to sit and watch the trailer videos to be honest, even if I don't get my hands on the game for quite some time. The whole thing looks freaking amazing. Snake and Liquid will surely die (is that a Rex/Ray face off at Shadow Moses, or is that my imagination?). I just can't see any other way the game will end without those two dying in spectacular fashion.

M-ManLA
M-ManLA

I just hope to God that Kojima Productions would release a special pack like they did with Halo. We don't get special things like that most the time in the US.

daleyboy928
daleyboy928

Kojima Productions will rule 2008... I'm glad they got David Hayter back. Now it's official...

Gadeos
Gadeos

I've said this like a thousand times... this is one of the two reasons I'll get a PS3 (the other is FFXIII). Damn I wanna see this game's story through. What's with "Big Mamma"? Why Meryl's with Oscelot? What's the deal with Snake's DNA?... man, those questions are only the tip of the iceberg... (did I hear "Patriots"?... anyone?... Who tha fu*** talked to Raiden at MGS2's closing chapter?...)

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

lctpp2 i agree with your marathon 100%, but lets not forget MGS: PO so there is no story line gap, because without it MGS4 would seem incomplete when in reality it is complete because questions were answered in MGS: PO

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lctpp2
lctpp2

aww man.....the only reason so far why ill be getting a ps3 since ive got a 360 for now. hehehe! this is a game that has a lot of effort and emotion put into it. ive never played the ol MG games but i was able to play the first mgs (i was pretty young back then to be honest) and i've never even came across a game of that caliber in the past. great storyline, great easter eggs, interesting bits of humor, odd boss beating strategies (remember psycho mantis?). Kojima - san and his dev team have been consistent with delivering that kind of gaming experience with every MGS game, while still keeping it fresh every time. hopefully by next year, ill be able to experience this game for the last time along with everyone else. (ive got an idea.weeks or days before release, anyone who has every MGS title should have an MGS gaming marathon, starting with MGS 3, then MGS and finally MGS 2...just to keep ourselves busy for the mean time. hehehe!)

kazya_mishima
kazya_mishima

Im glad he has devotion to his characters, and doesnt anyone tarnishing the name of Solid Snake

milnet
milnet

MGS helped redefine cinematic presentation in modern games. I just hope that whoever takes on the next game will deliver the same quality and memorable characters.

Silicon_Noob
Silicon_Noob

Man if this is gonna be the last in the series I hope it's the longent and most complete of the mgs'

daleyboy928
daleyboy928

The release date says Q1 2008, but I dont see Kojima releasing it till that summer. For one, Dualshock 3 isnt comin out till Q2 2008 (I think). And Kojima's a perfectionist. I bet if Konami didnt give him a deadline, he would delay it for another year cuz I know theres still A LOT more he wants to add to that game being that it's his last. Hopefully, it can top MGS3 cuz that was a masterpiece...

OseanLight
OseanLight

goodbye enemy airship the landlord is dead...

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

well all that may be true... but lets not forget we still get to wait for the movie so solid snake story isnt done just yet...

maxgoh
maxgoh

Let's just wait and see whether the storyline able to be greater than the third one.

lsny
lsny

This is possibly going to be the greatest game ever...can't wait.

NandoSupes
NandoSupes

Solid Snake is one of the greatest video game characters ever created. and if this is indeed his last appearance in the MGS series this game is going to be something special,can't wait for next year to pick this epic game.