So Skyfall came out recently and having loved it so much the first time I decided to see it a second time last Tuesday. Being a huge lover of Casino Royale and a huge hater for the bowl of faeces and puke that is Quantum of Solace I was pleased to leave the cinema satisfied, giddy and full of thoughts! But then a certain thought became apparent to me, why hasn't there been an earth shatteringly insanely awesome James Bond game?
For some this might be Goldeneye but I can't speak to that due to having small vague memories about it from my childhood. To me I compare the idea to the Batman Arkham games, before Arkham Asylum came out Batman games weren't much to talk about, but then a Developer came along bursting with creativity and love for the franchises mythology and BOOM! We then got two of this generations best games and two of the best Batman games ever. To me this proves no matter what the previous history you can still milk gold out of the teats of an ancient cow and James Bond should be no different.
The series is sort of like a smartphone in that it has a stupid amount of functions, it has drama, tension, thrills, action, romance, terror, suspense, humour, campiness and even balls being whipped. Whether you're a hardcore fan or indifferent to the series they at least have something no matter how small for everyone. Then it hit me, the perfect candidate to take hold of such an ambitious video game project, a man who certainly has a license to thrill, a man who knows to never say never to Metal Gear, a man who comes from Japan with love. Incredibly awful jokes aside the man I speak of is of course Hideo Kojima.
To me there is no more suitable person to take on James Bond and there's no one more suitable than myself to tell you why this is a fact. After all I am British and I'm constantly doing all the coitus to the ladies, driving all those radical bodacious cars and killing the bad foreign men who dare oppose my beloved majesty the Queen. So sit back dear reader since this post is forever for your eyes only.
One of my absolute favourite things about James Bond films is the prologue and the title sequence, at they're best they effortlessly set the scene, tone and mood for the entire film, but even more so I'm excited to see what they've done with the title sequence visually and creatively. They can be gloriously over the top and exciting, themes like Live and Let Die really pump you up and makes you want to dance naked whilst on fire punching holes into pure fucking concrete GRRRR! Then we have themes like the recent Skyfall which has a certain melancholic sombre feel to it whilst reaching grand dramatic orchestral heights that takes you on an intense journey
So you can't have a James Bond game without an eyes and ears pleasuring title sequence. Then I read GlowBear's blog post on 007 games and saw him mentioning the abysmal title sequence of the latest 007 game '007 Legends' (a post well worth a read by the way.)
It basically fails on everything I want from a god damn James Bond title sequence. Let's just grab a bunch of iconic imagery from the films but not bother to do anything creative
and interesting with the idea. Eurgh I think not sir, we clearly need someone who's demonstrated the skills to deliver a satisfying title sequence, oh hello there Snake Eater.
Now I've already made my feelings perfectly clear on the Snake Eater opening theme, so allow me to take the opportunity to gush about it even more. You see we just went through a prologue that introduced to some all new game mechanics and ideas whilst introducing us to the environment we'll be getting oh so cosy with in the upcoming hours. But it also sets up everything for the story, with a strong shot of action, betrayal and mystery we've perked up and engrossed to dig deep into the game, then the title sequence starts. This is a song I can't get enough of listening to and this is a song that has a woman bellowing "SNAKE EATER" and declaring that someday I'll come across a tree frog. It has the fantastic elements of campy silly lyrics twisted to fit in the name of the title whilst reaching powerful emotional and orchestral depths to my little human brain. Even better is that the title sequence is visually pretty interesting to watch, splicing in clips with wonderful creative ways along with a the skeleton of a snake slithering around and the staff's credits also slithering into view.
To me this is proof that Kojima and his crew know exactly how to nail down a near perfect prologue and title sequence of the likes which I'd love to see applied to a James Bond game.
The 007 series is no stranger to the weird looking and disturbed villains. Never mind Skyfall's Javier Bardem with his terrifyingly blonde hair but what about Die Another Days villain who changed himself into a British White guy because that's what you do when you're hurled over the edge of a waterfall. With Kojima you don't have to dig far to find his fair share of odd and interesting villains.
Forgive my constant flowing love of Snake Eater but I must once more refer to it, specifically one of it's boss fight characters, The Fury. This guy parades around in an Astronaut suit in which I like to imagine he doesn't take off even when sleeping. He also carries along with him a god damn flame thrower and jet-pack, what part of that doesn't sound awesome? It ticks all the boxes for a campy, over the top silly fun villain. But he was only small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, he doesn't fill that main antagonist role, the main source of all the conflict, so let me not talk about Snake Eater for once here and go back 14 years.
Liquid Snake is a villain that fills me with an indescribable amount of joy to watch. He's a villain who will walk around with pride delivering grand silly speeches that will make you hang on his every campy word. He constantly has a presence about him that is unique and distinct among the colorful cast that he's grouped with and suitably doesn't seem all there in the head. In fact I'm now thinking Javier Bardem should definitely play Liquid in the Metal Gear movie, just look at that blonde hair he has in Skyfall, then imagine that voice shouting out "BROTHER", Kojima and I are onto something here...
The point is Kojima knows how to write interesting bad guys whether it be in the small roles or the big roles. He can bring us some of the most gloriously silly villains ones that we can't help but love to behold but he can equally provide us with villains grounded in serious issues and conflicts, inspiring great levels of hatred or villains so well written with twists that will pull at your heart strings, The Boss and Volgin are prime examples of this
and I reckon Kojima would have a ball coming up with villain perfect for the James Bond series.
For some people they associate the concept of James Bond with crazy ass gadgets, this can range from mobile phone controlled cars, exploding pens, invisible cars with machine guns and a little ring that smashes glass when twisted. But with Casino Royale this idea was dropped and has remained on the floor of unloved ideas ever since, now they focus on a much more real world so you can say goodbye to shoes with knives shooting out of them. So despite MGS's campy and silly moments the items and weapons used stay relatively simple and believable.
In fact the one weapon you'll find yourself using the most is a silenced tranquillizer/handgun. In terms of spying and stealth Kojima has this area perfected with items to aid our escapades, items such as heat seeking and night vision goggles are very much in line with the world of James Bond that we're currently use to. But admittedly Bond doesn't really get up to much spying but often opts for great action set pieces which can require heavy fire power. Moments such as shooting down enemy soldiers off their motorbikes as a madman chases you in a big super fast robot tank thing or firing off missiles at a helicopter on top of a tower are classic action set pieces which requires such heavy power.
Kojima doesn't even have to follow the current Bond formula though and could opt for a completely campy journey instead which he's also dabbled in with the items. You need to look no further than the iconic cardboard box featured throughout the MGS series. He's also given us a little remote controlled missile to play around with before, perhaps such a weapon does exist today but it's pretty goofy in nature but fun to have! Not being completely tied down to such gritty realistic ideals also provides us with the chance to see Kojima go nuts with ideas, I'm sure we'd all be more than happy to see what he'd do with the weapons and gadgets.
As I just mentioned above Bond tends to opt for the more aggressive less than subtle way of getting things done which is a bit of a departure to what we're use to in Metal Gear. But then it's also no stranger to grand action set pieces either.
Bond's action pieces can range from chasing a guy who's crazy ass good at parkour through a construction site and on top of a crane, or getting into a digger, latching onto a train then proceeding to fight a dude on top of the train. Then we have Metal Gear which provides with such moments as fighting Liquid on top of Metal Gear Rex or shooting down enemy soldiers off their motorbikes as a madman chases you in the Shagohod although somewhat silly in a certain view provide those action filled thrills.
Also it'd be interesting to see Kojima try his hand at such action filled sequences, I'm certain he could provide plenty of unique twists to the classic on foot chases and we saw with the reveal of MGS: Ground Zeroes that he's now toying around with vehicles that we can drive around in, so if he also gets that right then I'm excited to see what he'd do with car chases. I'm also sure he wouldn't turn a blind eye to the tense, adrenaline fuelled action set pieces set in bizarre locations, for such inspirations he could look at the Uncharted series.
I'm not the biggest fan of the Uncharted games but I'm rather fond of moments from Uncharted 2 which involved me running around in a building shoot down soldiers as a god damn helicopter was shooting down the building with missiles which led to me stumbling about in it as it fell in real time. It's a pretty intense short thrill ride but certainly managed to leave an impression. Uncharted to me is basically the exact concept of an action movie, not a bad one or an amazing one just one that ticks every single trope and concept of the list. The small ideas I feel are great to take away and use with Bond, just don't take anything from the story or characters Kojima, those aspects are Bond, I mean Bland.
Kojima may have only proven himself with action pieces minimally but I want to see him challenge himself because whether it be good or bad we're sure to get something interesting out of it.
It wouldn't be a James Bond movie without a woman somewhat grossly named as a "Bond Girl". This is one aspect of the Bond franchise that I'm not overly fond of, never mind the potential sexist issues but I just find it incredibly dull to watch unfold. This is because they rarely seem to leave a lasting impact on the story and just pretty much feel like they're there to fill the role of woman who James gets to do all the flirting and sex with.
But there is one 'Bond girl' that I'm rather fond of, Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale is my absolute favourite from all the movies I have seen and I find her unmatched ever since. Yes she may fill the roles of being flirtatious with Bond and eventually sleeping with him but she was the one who truly left a mark, she was the one who clearly mattered to Bond, she was more than just being there to fill the role of generic romantic interest. To see Bond interact with a woman that didn't just feel like as a means to advance to sex helped foster my interest in the series and Craig's Bond. This was the first time the romance aspect mattered to me in a Bond flick, and Kojima has managed to make it matter to me easily before as well.
MGS features Meryl who somewhat out of her depth, despite her military training once she's out in the field it becomes clear war, betrayal and murder isn't something she can easily turn a blind eye to. It's something that Snake consistently does throughout the game however, he'll express his distaste for it but won't hesitate to pull the trigger, it's in his nature after all. However the more time they spend together the more Meryl begins to unfold and peel away the layers of who Snake is as a person, a lot of which he covers up for the mission. We see a slow, subtle transformation and evolution to his character who started off with a pessimistic bleak view on life but came out of it all with a brighter outlook and a solid belief in change.
Instead of being an irritating out of place love story it becomes the central emotional core of the story lifting the game to heights of unmatched praise and love. Both Casino Royale and MGS manage to show us a love story done right can become one of the most endearing parts of the story, two female characters who aren't just there to be eye candy and to be the generic love interest lead, they fulfil a bigger role which allows me to become heavily invested in their conflicts and budding relationship.
However just to be on the safe side I'm going to sit next to Kojima whilst he inevitably designs the game and every 10 minutes shout in his ear "HEY JACK DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT DAY IT IS TODAY?!" so he understands the gravity of emotional distress I felt as I had to sit through his awfully written couple of Raiden and Rose from MGS2. That's not how to do it Kojima, I know you're fond of Raiden but no don't do it, don't even think about it, stick to what you got so right that I wanted to write 16 love letters to you. That's a good boy.
Bond films typically take place or at least feature exotic locations, whether this be places such as the Bahamas, Cuba, Iceland, Venice and most recently Shanghai. This gives us some lovely environmental eye candy to keep things visually exciting and interesting, because let's face it England looks like a dog turd that's then be pissed on by the dog responsible. At least that's how it looks in the eyes of this home country loathing British man. But this staple of the Bond franchise allows for the games to never grow bland or tired to look at and provide us with a world worth playing in.
Having seen Skyfall and then watching the recreation of it in 007 Legends I was somewhat...disgusted. The game just looks ugly, piss poor pathetically ugly! Of course we all know graphics aren't everything but to me they go hand in hand with gameplay, if one is brilliant and the other grating then it will take away from the experience. Kojima has made games that stand the test of time and in some cases look much, much better than 007 Legends does. Even in its blocky PS1 era hideous glory I find MGS1 more pleasing to look at, they used the colour palette to great use so that it never looked dull whilst never looking too overly colorful to clash with the mood. I have problems with how MGS2 looked but it never looked ugly at least and aged well so that it didn't grate on me. Snake Eater on the other hand looks absolutely beautiful still in my eyes, especially concerning the jungle settings and the ending battle is a real treat for the eyes.
Skyfall to me with its cinematography really cranked up things a notch and made the exotic locations we expect all the more beautiful, they even managed to present Britain in an appealing manner, for once Britain didn't look dull and grey to me. Kojima doesn't always have the luxury to choose exotic locations in his games when he does he leaves an unforgettable impression, when he can't and has to work with such locations as military base even then I don't find myself bored with the view I'm presented, he manages to ensure no matter what that familiarity doesn't creep in.
Besides did you see that Ground Zeroes trailer? LOOK AT THAT, it looks eye wateringly beautiful, Kojima looks set to be doing impressive things with his new FOX engine so think of all the things he could do with a Bond adventure.
This is more of a personal point in some ways, you have to like Kojima to understand this I suppose I just feel like its time we give the guy a break. I'm loving the Metal Gear series and there's so much of it to dig into both in present and future but at this point I feel sorry for the guy. The fact he's received god damn death threats is quite disheartening and depressing for a guy who's given us so much to treasure and love.
But above all with all creators that I adore and no matter how much I love a certain line of their work I always wish for them to do what they want to do, to do where their heart is at, to do what they're most passionate about. If Kojima continues making these games out of obligation or threats then I'd rather he not make them at all. Granted that I don't know the guy personally, maybe he's 100% ok with still working on these games but from various interviews I always get the impression he's trying to claw away from it.
I guess I want to see him get out of his comfort zone a little, try all new things and experiment once again. Also let's face it if Kojima makes the game then we know a good amount of effort and money will be backed behind the project. Looking at the 007 Legends gameplay and trailers alone is enough to tell me hardly any time, money or love has been put into it. Metal Gear features numerous references, jokes and aspects from the James Bond franchise that I find it hard to believe Kojima hasn't watched a single one especially considering how he makes clear his undying love for movies.
So there you have it, 007 contrived messy reasons as to why Kojima should definitely make a Bond game, I've never been so sure of something in my life before, probably. I want to see a developer and publisher that can properly and efficiently produce a 007 game, we hardly need to worry about following existing novel or movie plots, they simply need to follow what Skyfall did. Take various parts, pieces and aspects from the mythology and re-work them for the current age to bring us something new and unlike something we've never seen the likes of which before.
If not that then at least give Ground Zeroes an opening title sequence, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE I WANT SOMEONE TO SING ABOUT GROUNDS AND ZEROES! Do it for me Kojima, do it for Christmas, after all it only comes once a year.