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MGS: Ground Zeroes – Kojima discusses his open world

Thursday, 27th September 2012 16:42 GMT By Dave Cook

Metal Gear Solid:Ground Zeroes’ open world and base-building features have been discussed by Hideo Kojima at Eurogamer Expo. VG247′s Dave Cook was there to learn more.

Metal Gear turned 25 this year. That’s a hell of a long time for a franchise to sustain without completely going off the rails, even if many gamers consider the second game to be a bit of a wobble.

Staying power like that doesn’t just happen overnight, so something is clearly working. But in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, series creator Hideo Kojima has opted to change the format and base his next game in an open world setting.

It’s a gamble, but from what we’ve seen and heard, fans needn’t worry. After Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes was revealed at a recent 25th anniversary event, the internet hype that followed proved that fans have welcomed the idea.

With his Japanese tour out of the way, Kojima headed West to Eurogamer Expo and publicly showcased Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. VG247 was there, hiding under a cardboard box to hear everything he had to say about it.

FOX Engine FTW

Kojima opened his presentation by showing off the same cut-scene and gameplay footage that he unveiled in Japan, except this time, and seeing it with your own eyes, it’s clear that Kojima Productions is looking far into the future with FOX Engine.

The visuals are superb, and as Kojima explains, his studio had to make some concessions in bringing the game to current formats. “Being an open world game we realised that we had to make some sacrifices with the graphics to fit it all in there, but one thing we are focusing on is lighting.”

Seeing the game running in real-time, it’s clear that the lighting engine has been meticulously designed to impact on gameplay. We’re not just talking about enemy spotlights following more organic routes – rather than static patterns – but in a much subtler capacity.

As Snake crawls towards a sprawling military compound, an armoured truck can be seen circling the perimeter, and as it faces the player’s direction, the lens flare makes the screen light up.

It hampers Snake’s vision, making the rest of the terrain and enemies harder to see. So for the first time actual, dynamic lighting really will force you carefully consider your surroundings. You don’t want to run into a pack of guards you couldn’t see due to being blinded, after all.

It’s an open world game, and Kojima is quick to point out just how much freedom this will give players, “because it’s open world you can move freely, and infiltrate the base any way you want. But this area here is just a prologue of the game.”

“You can call in a chopper any time, anywhere you want,” Kojima continued, “and the way the game system will work, is that when you call in a helicopter, you can return back to your base, or head to another mission. It is also possible to use helicopters for support as well.”

Mother Base 2.0

That’s right, bases are back. Similar to Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Snake will have a base that he can return to after missions, and it’s here he will regroup, research new weapons, fortify his defences and more. Best of all, you can walk around it in real-time.

Kojima revealed that the game’s base-building element could go hand-in-hand with smartphone integration, Kojima reflected on the base-building element of Metal gear Solid: Peace Walker, “We liked the concept of developing weapons and creating new things at your base, and how that influenced the gameplay.”

“That was a really cool idea,” Kojima continued, “and something that was very popular. Furthermore, nowadays they’re making new ways to access games. You’re not just playing on your game console, you can also access them from your cellphone and other devices to access that same game.”

Kojima added, “So I think that type of ‘Mother Base’ system would work very well in that kind of system, and it’s something we’re planning on in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. I can’t reveal too much about what happens after you get in your chopper, but you get in and fly to your base.”

“Then you can walk around your base all in real-time,” Kojima continued, “it’s the base that you create. But if you want to focus more on the main missions, you can do that, so you don’t have to customise the base if you don’t want to.”

Base-building, an open world and all of the research elements from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker all amount to one huge experience, and we’re only just scratching the surface of its world.

The Big Bad World

But just how big is that open world? Kojima couldn’t give us specifics but he did shed some light on how the environments will co-exist. Using the chopper as a means of fast-travel, you Snake is ferried between each of the game’s open worlds. You can also project a map in first-person from Snake’s radar device and look at it at will.

So it’s not actually one big open world like Skyrim – instead – it’s a interconnected selection of environments. “This particular stage is a small sample of the open world we have in mind,” Kojima explained, “and again, this is just a prologue. But what happens is that there will be larger open worlds, and you can use the helicopter between those open world stages.”

“You have to be careful about where you call the chopper, because if it gets spotted it can be shot down,” Kojima added, as the helicopter starts to land while blasting out Ride of the Valkyries. It’s a nice touch, and the dynamic wind effects as the vehicle lands looks superb, whipping foliage around violently.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes will also feature a day-night cycle, but it isn’t scripted, and gameplay will be affected by what time it is, “Later on in the game, time will pas in real-time,” Kojima explained, “so depending on how you travel between one stage to the next, that travel time will effect the time of day when you arrive at your destination.”

“The sun will travel across the sky,”Kojima added, “and that will create subtle differences in gameplay when approaching a base, if it’s first thing in the morning, noon or later in the day.” We’re intrigued to learn more about how things will change, but Kojima wasn’t keen to go into much more detail.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is already looking impressive, and given the nature of Kojima’s output, we’re certain there will be many more secrets and details yet to come, and as always VG247 will be on-hand to bring them all to you. Stay tuned.

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8 Comments

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  1. Dragon246

    @Dave,
    You can put up the link to the all-access vg247 page for mgs ground zeroes for new readers.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. sb319

    “Kojima discusses his open world”

    “So it’s not actually one big open world like Skyrim – instead – it’s a interconnected selection of environments.”

    Hmm.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. diego-rbb-93

    3#, you can actually consider it as a Open World, but not as a Sandbox.

    We understand that “Kojima´s Open world” as he gives the player a lot of freedom in a big scenario, that never happened before on the saga. Even MGS4, being the biggest of all in level´s size, was all passage-driven.

    The idea is still really cool. Beside we dont need a Skyrim map´s kind for a game like this.

    That idea would be awesome in a MGS with that Normandia mission with the Cobra Team, that would fit. But for the moment, I dont see it necesary.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Kuwabara

    Being an ” open world” like game does not make you feel like you are in a actual world if you keep changing environments in a short span. Basically mgs5 will play out like mgs4, different chapters separated by a helicopter. not one massive location. which is a shame. mgs3 felt like a world because u were progressed by foot in one massive environment split into sub areas, which gave it a a realistic feel, kinda like going through a journey. I just hope the environments in mgs5 are within the same “world” environment, not days of travel from each other please kojima atleast within the same country .

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Deacon

    Still sounds amazing to me. I care not if they are separate ‘zones’ which you have to flip between.

    I’m picturing a chopper drop-off on the outskirts of the zone and then the player deciding whether they head straight to the ‘super-secret complex ahead’ (or whatever), or flank round to the side and look for an alternate entrance. MGS has always been pretty linear, so giving choice of approach will be a great step forward (providing they can still keep the cinematic flair of previous titles). Hopefully this’ll also mean there are more side-quests and / or hidden areas that you’ll have to explore to find.

    All sounds very promising so far.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Gadzooks!

    If it’s nothing at all like previous MGS ‘games’ then I’m in.

    If it’s several hours of shite cutscenes linked by a few minutes of rubbish linear gameplay like MGS4 was then it deserves to be fired into the sun along with that hack Kojima.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. eugeneastig

    WE WANT METAL GEAR ONLINE!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Paulo munir

    Say there´ll be Metal Gear Online again I’ll be already buying it.

    #8 2 years ago