Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Impressions

PSP-only MGS slated for 2010 release; four-player co-op hinted.

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It was widely rumored to be coming, but famed developer Hideo Kojima confirmed the news at this morning's Sony E3 press conference--that a new Metal Gear is in the works for the PSP. Titled Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the game will apparently be set 10 years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3 and will feature Big Boss as the main protagonist.

Whilst on stage at the press conference, Kojima stressed that Peace Walker would not be a casual throwaway spin-off--in fact, Kojima said he was closely involved with Peace Walker, writing the script and helming the project as the producer. He also said that many of the team members who worked on Metal Gear Solid 4 were on board for the PSP title, making it a true sequel in the Metal Gear universe.

While Kojima didn't delve into too many specifics about the game, he did say that it would use all of "the PSP's elements." And the trailer he showed directly after his speech seemed to confirm at least one of those elements--that of four-player co-op play.

The trailer began as soldiers in a bunker looked up and saw a nuclear blast, while a voice-over explained that the concept of mutually assured destruction thanks to nuclear weapons has driven the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of economic collapse. It then went on to say that in 1974, an "unknown power" unleashed a massive weapons deployment in the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, and it seems Big Boss--along with what seems to be the Outer Heaven mercenary organization--is going in to stop the mayhem.

What then followed was a series of vignettes showing Big Boss navigating beaches, tropical jungles, and rooftops of small towns. Plenty of sneaking action was to be had, with Big Boss hiding behind crates, hanging off bridges, and creeping up behind enemy soldiers for quick kills. A new mechanic was also shown off--Big Boss crept up to an incapacitated soldier and attached a small balloon device to him. When it deployed, the soldier was quickly hoisted high into the air, and we can only assume an orbiting aircraft latched onto the chute for a quick extraction.

But what was most exciting was the apparent confirmation of four-player co-op. Near the end of the trailer, four Big Bosses lined up to take on a gigantic Metal Gear (and we're assuming this is the titular Peace Walker). In the final scene, we saw Big Boss sneaking behind a soldier and then hiding inside a large cardboard box (as you do in Metal Gear). A second Big Boss then snuck up and also hid in the same box. The soldier got alerted by the noise, prompting the two Big Bosses to quickly sneak away whilst still crouched in the box.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is slated for a 2010 release, and from what we saw today it looks to have all the hallmarks of what made the MGS franchise great. For more from the show, check out GameSpot's complete coverage of E3 2009.

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