Kojima teaser ends in countdown timer

Konami's "Next" Web site updated with clock set to expire on May 21; Flash animation reveals what could be a "5" or an "S."

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Those hoping that Konami and Kojima Productions would today reveal Metal Gear Solid 5, a Metal Gear Solid 4 for the Xbox 360, or even Metal Gear Solid Touch 2 for the iPhone are in for a bit of a disappointment. After launching Kojima Productions' "Next" Web site as part of a teaser campaign on Wednesday, the publisher today updated said Web site with...a new teaser campaign.

Is that an S or a 5?
Is that an S or a 5?

Prominently featured on the new teaser site is a countdown timer that is expected to end at 6 p.m. PDT on May 21. The background art of Konami's site has also changed. Whereas the first site showed two remote figures standing on an open, dreary field under an overcast sky, the art has been replaced with Flash animation of turbulent storm clouds and the audible rumble of rolling thunder. Most interestingly, the site also briefly flashes what appears to be either a "5" or an "S" as lightning rips through the roiling clouds.

Several theories have already cropped up regarding what this ambiguously blocky character could refer to. Immediately and most obviously, the "5" could be in reference to a sequel to last year's top-rated PS3-exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots--which creator Hideo Kojima teased at his Game Developers Conference keynote address in March. This theory is supported by the Web site's page info, which lists among other keywords "MGS" and "Metal Gear."

Alternatively, the "S" could refer to Kojima's long-dormant Snatcher franchise. The cyberpunk adventure game was most recently released in North American for the Sega Saturn in 1996. Yet one more option is that the teaser campaign could somehow tie in to Metal Gear Solid 4 + Oxide, the widely rumored Xbox 360 port of MGS4 that may--or may not--cap Microsoft's Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference on the morning of June 1.

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