WHAT I'D LIKE TO SEE IN Metal Gear Solid 5
The following would be the first level, or tutorial, in MGS5. For extra points, put it on the main menu under "Mission Briefing"
We open on a jungle military camp at night, bustling with activity. We see squads armed with assault rifles, lights, and dogs preparing to canvas the immediate vicinity, while another group is loading onto transport trucks to support other locations. As the trucks load up and depart, we see the station commander issue a familiar order to a subordinate, "Stay alert, he'll be through here. We're going hunting." The camera follows him as he boards the last truck, but as it departs the camera stays on a rack of shelves against the wall in the garage. The camera pans up, revealing Solid Snake calmly perched on a support beam. As he watches the soldiers nearby move away he reaches for his radio.
On the other end of the transmission is Campbell, and as usual he commends Snake on his sneakiness and urges him to get on with his objective: rescue Gray Fox and discover Outer Heaven's plans. We realize now this is a flashback to Snake's first mission. Snake proceeds to locate Gray Fox, whom he's tracked to this location. This opening scenario would be very basic, with Snake (clean-shaven and bandana-less) relying entirely on stealth and utilizing 1999-era equipment.
Only able to he approach the cell directly, Snake is spotted and captured. Gray Fox uses the commotion to put his own escape plan into motion, and intervenes to save Snake. However, immediately after he disarms and pins Snake, demanding his identity. After Snake credibly establishes they're on the same side, Gray Fox lets him go. He unapologetically looks him over as he hands back Snake's weapon. They introduce each other, with Snake revealing his name, David. Gray Fox sticks to "Fox". He says grimly, "You're pretty good. You'll need to be, to survive."
The scene now changes to Old Snake, reminiscing on his past as he transports to a monitoring outpost. He is about to oversee a crucial phase in the training of an operative. The exercise is a live one, with real consequences, and already Otacon's chatter is feeding hims the details. Despite his confidence in the subject and the operation, Snake has qualms about their overall goals, as well as personal doubts about his ability and worth as a mentor. All this is quickly sidelined, however, as the operation is beginning.
Now the perspective changes to the Operative, a young woman disguised as a townswoman in the Middle East. Dressed in a burka, she is able to move unnoticed in crowds and communicate via Codec. This allows her to transmit while remaining silent to those around her, but for now she is mute altogether. She moves to intercept a small group of men, two guarding a third, making their way across a square. A large number of security personnel overwatch from the surrounding buildings in key positions, making sure the target is extracted safely.
As the Operative prepares to plant on a tracking device, her own transmission is hacked and used to detonate an explosive placed on the target's route. The bomb explodes, killing the target and many others around him. The death toll is high. The Operative is undamaged by the explosion, but surprised and shocked at the scene. The hack creates some malfunctions, forcing her to abandon her disguise. She is revealed as human wearing an advanced infiltration suit, and she is now conspicuous and vulnerable. Furthermore, the surrounding security personnel are now learning from their people that the activation signal came from nearby. The Operative sees what's happening and takes off, with the security in pursuit.
She outruns all but one, a grizzled Vet who anticipated her escape route. He was a devoted follower of the target who was just assassinated, and he fights bitterly to capture the Operative to make her pay. The Operative is able to defeat him in combat, but only by nearly overloading her advanced hardware to disable his cybernetic body. As he writhes bitterly, unable to get revenge, the Operative stops and addresses him. And now we too hear her voice for the first time, a hardened voice that belies her youth. "You think I murdered your leader. You are wrong. Someone wants us to be enemies."
Wary and in pain, the Vet asks, "Who are you?"
The Operative gives a knowing and bitter smile and says, "I am like you. My name is meaningless." Then she escapes.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. Or at least I hope I didn't make it too groan-inducing. But I wanted to present it like that, a little more cinematically, to get into the Kojima vibe. In any case, I just want to close by explaining why certain things made it into my Tutorial.
You'll notice I essentially have two playable sections right after one another. The thought behind this is to have a preliminary introduction that gets you used to moving and sneaking on its basic levels, without some of the more advanced gadgetry you'll use later in the game. The second section will be faster-paced, with some combat and set in the game's actual modern setting, so after the brief acclimation you get a taste of what the game has in store for you in terms of both story and gameplay.
On a story level it works because it starts with the familiar, Snake infiltratin' like he does, and a little bit of story-ground that hasn't been covered for a while. From there it moves those elements to the present and frames them in a new but relatable way. Most importantly, it ties the past to the new protagonist, in a personal way. This would be an efficient way to get started that hooks the audience and allows for details to be filled in later.
As for the Operative, our female protagonist, I left her name out because I'm not clear on who she should be. There's some options as to the Operative's identity. Sunny, grown up and fighting to protect what Snake and her mother fought for is believable, and her computer skills lend themselves for perhaps an evolution in the gameplay mechanics. It also occured to me that a clone of the Boss, recovered by Snake and Otacon would provide sufficient reason for Snake to feel like he has to do what he can to stop a new threat. It would also provide a compelling moral quandary for Snake to find himself training a clone of the woman who trained Big Boss, especially if at the start of the story Snake and Otacon have elected not to tell her her true origins. I think Meryl is a little played out at this point, besides she got hitched at the end of MGS4. But I wouldn't mind seeing her in a support role.
Also, I think that last line works because it sounds like Gray Fox's line to Snake in MGS1, but it's different enough to usher in a new era for Metal Gear. And I think Snake's relationship to Gray Fox is a good thing to explore for MGS5. There's a lot left to go over there, as Frank Jaeger was so central to Snake's coming up and the events that sealed his fate. It's always been hanging over the story, but it wasn't explicitly developed.
As for what the threat is? Well, Metal Gear was always a weapon that had far-reaching capabilities. First it was global first-strike capacity, then the ability to manipulate data. I think now we should be afraid of...Metal Gear Apollo, an orbiting system of offensive satellites able to target any point on the planet and set it ablaze with powerful energy weapons harnessed from the sun. Sure, it may sound a little hokey, but I think it'd be awesome for the last stage to have you pilot an experimental rocket to infiltrate the control satellite for Metal Gear (captured by the terrorrists, of course). Then you have to space walk and enter the facility, all to fight the last boss for control of the most dangerous weapon ever created!
In light of that, I think the villain should be a very straight-forward antagonist. Of course you want something like a Dead Cell/Cobra Unit to provide a cast of interesting bosses. I envision a group tied to global anti-terrorist activity but also plugged into heavy weapons. The leader of this group has seen the failure of anti-terrorism in a world where globalized nations are too greedy to open its doors to the rest of the world. He has become convinced that the only way to bring peace is to control the world. For that purpose he conspires to take control of NATO's new weapons system, Metal Gear Apollo. He secretly funds terrorist groups, amassing a secret army, while painting a dire picture of the situation. When frightened governments decide to gamble everything on Apollo, they play right into his hands.
I think this provides for a villain that is somewhat sympathetic.
The cherry on top would be in the end the Operative being granted the right by the United States to form the new Fox Hound Unit!
Okay, what do you think?