How do you remake a game like Snake Eater without a director like Hideo Kojima?

In many ways, redo Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is an obvious choice. The game is an almost universally loved PS2 classic, one of the best stealth action games of all time, and is packed with iconic moments and settings. And the remake, titled Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater – is announced at a time when audiences and critics alike have a wide appetite for revisiting gaming’s past. Several of this year’s biggest and most critically acclaimed releases have been remakes and remasters, including resident evil 4, Dead space, advanced warsand first metroid.

Redo MGS3 feels exceptionally challenging, however, due to how inseparable the two are. metal gear the games are by series creator Hideo Kojima, who parted ways with Konami in 2015. the evThe chaotic events and messages surrounding their departure made it seem like a less than amicable parting, and Kojima’s name was conspicuous by its absence in Konami press release announcing his MGS3 Redo. It raises the inevitable question: how good can a metal gear game, even if it is a new version, without the participation of its singular creator?

“A Hideo Kojima game”

Kojima is an unusually prominent figure for a game developer, one of the few who can be considered a household name in the industry. Many could tell you that Shinji Mikami directed resident evil 4but almost someone who has played a solid metal gear The game can name Kojima. resident evil 4 feels like a Capcom game and first metroid looks like a nintendo game but solid metal gear 3 it feels like “a Hideo Kojima game”.

Yes, part of this is due to the way the series was marketed. Many, although not allMost of the games Kojima directed shipped with the words “a Hideo Kojima game” printed front and center on the box, and his development team within Konami was even called “Kojima Productions” for subsequent entries in the game. the Serie.

But it would be reductive to say that Kojima’s fame is the result of cynical marketing. The director has a singular and unique style, not to mention a sense of humor, that permeates his games. It’s hard to imagine a recurring character who can’t stop shitting himself, a level where you’re forced to play naked, or a skin that made your character look like the maligned protagonist of a previous game in anything other than one of The Games. from Kojima.

It is these stranger elements that often dominate discussions about metal gear Today’s games A boss in MGS1 he could read his PlayStation memory card and comment on other games he had been playing, and he could only defeat them by plugging his controller into the second controller port. another fight in MGS3 it’s an arduous game of cat and mouse that is played for the better part of an hour or can be skipped entirely if you wait for your enemy to die of old age.

Kojima’s job publication, Konami, suggests that it was the director, rather than the publisher he worked for, that was the source of much of this oddity. death stranding it allowed you to make grenades out of your own urine and blood and featured a character dying every 21 minutes. Meanwhile, metal gear surviveso far the only one metal gear The game, which was produced by Konami after Kojima’s departure, received lackluster reviews and has been largely forgotten.

So far, Konami has said little about how it plans to approach its solid metal gear 3 redo, also known as Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater. The delta (Δ) symbol in the name is said to represent “‘change’ or ‘difference’ without changing the structure” and in a press release added that the new version “will star in the original voice characters”, suggesting that we will see David Hayter reprise his iconic role as Snake. Otherwise, the trailer focused more on the world of the forest ecosystem, rather than offering specific hints at the game’s structure or gameplay.

We can get some clues as to what direction Konami could take with Delta from a previous metal gear Redo: twin snakes. In 2004, Konami collaborated with Silicon Knights to remake the original. solid metal gear for the GameCube, which largely retained the core structure of the PlayStation game but redid it in the style of its PS2 sequel, MGS2.

It’s not hard to see how Konami could take a similar approach with Deltadrawing inspiration from the graphics and mechanics of later metal gear games like 2015 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

But the big difference between twin snakes and Delta is Kojima’s involvement. The designer has several credits in twin snakes, but it has not been mentioned that he is involved with Deltaand his work in death stranding 2 and rumored Xbox title Overdose suggests that you are not struggling to keep busy.

The involvement of the original director doesn’t completely shield a remake from criticism. twin snakes it was criticized by some fans for the stylized action it added to the game’s cutscenes and the addition of new mechanics that undermined the structure of the original game. But it still serves as a vote of confidence, a stamp that suggests Kojima approved of the project even if many fans still prefer his original, and the critical reception to twin snakes it was generally positive.

Redoing any game is never simple (Just ask Ubisoft). Even a seemingly simple task like modernizing a game’s art for more powerful modern systems involves making difficult decisions about how to use the additional graphical power. Are you going in a more photorealistic direction or are you keeping aspects of the simplified style of the original game?

And that’s before we get into the specific weirdness of snake eater, a title that is full of mechanics that I would call “clumsy but endearing”. I distinctly remember constantly jumping into menus to change my camouflage outfit as I painstakingly crawled through its levels, endlessly changing my clothes to better blend in with whatever surface I wriggled across. Yes, it was arguably annoying and complicated, but it’s also one of my key memories of the game. Same with the way he asked you to dive into his menus to manually heal certain injuries. Possibly clumsy, but also an essential part of the snake eater experience.

Then, there’s that ladder. That non-stop, impossible-to-jump marathon of over a minute climbing. writing for Polygon in 2018Allegra Frank called the staircase “more intermission than interruption.”

solid metal gear It’s always been about mind games, but getting into a tube with nowhere to go but up, or down, hijacks the battlefield inside our own heads,” Frank wrote. “Anxiety mounts when we consider what we’ve already seen, the bosses we’ve taken down, the levels we’ve crawled (or shot wildly) through.” So help me, God, if the remake’s ladder takes less than a minute and 47 seconds to climb, I’ll riot.

No remake can please everyone. There will always be people who see the bugs and rough edges of an original game as essential parts of the experience that it would be sacrilege to remove. It is also legitimate to want a new version to go in the opposite direction: make bigger changes and create its own identity that can be differentiated from the original game. And lest we forget, a lot of people who play Delta will not have touched the original snake eater and I just want to play a game that is accessible to a modern audience. Konami will have to thread a nearly impossible needle, and apparently will have to do it without input from an author who oversaw the series for the better part of 30 years.

the first three solid metal gear games are also being ported to modern systems.
Image: Konami

So I take comfort in the fact that Delta it will not be the only way to experiment snake eater on modern platforms. When the new version (eventually) launches, it will sit alongside a port of the original game that the company will release on modern platforms later this year as the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection. The implication is that Delta is an alternative, not a replacement, for Kojima’s classic game. That’s more than can be said some other remakes.

In theory at least, regardless of how Konami’s attempt to remake one of their best games goes, we’ll still have the original game to enjoy. With all its flaws.


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