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.

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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.

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