I’m sure that you’ve all had a chance to watch the trailer for the recently announced “The Phantom Pain,” and I’m also sure that you’ve already jumped to the conclusion that it’s 100% definitely a trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5. It seems I’m the only person who disagrees with this conclusion. “The Phantom Pain” could be almost anything else, and it’s certainly a Kojima game, but it’s not Metal Gear Solid 5.
First of all, Kojima stated during a recent interview with EGM that he wants to work on original properties and doesn’t want to be known as the “Metal Gear guy.” Although it’s sometimes difficult to tell which answers are genuine or false in his interviews, this certainly falls in line with his desire to abandon the MGS series around the time of MGS4. Why then, would he announce MG Rising, announce Ground Zeroes and then announce ANOTHER MGS game before Rising has even been released? It just makes so little sense to have so much Metal Gear on people’s minds when he wants to prove himself away from the franchise.
Why then, would he pack the trailer for “The Phantom Pain” with so many obvious references to MGS? Well, let’s go back to the pre-release hype for MGS2. Every trailer for that game featured Solid Snake in dark, moody environments being cool. Remember what MGS2 was actually like? Yeah. Those trailers proved one thing about Kojima: He knows the expectations of his fans better than they do. He knows exactly what clues to give and how to build up certain expectations in people’s minds. In the same way that just showing Snake in the MGS2 trailers made people think that that game would be all about Snake, showing a man with a facial scar and a guy who looks a bit like Volgin has made people jump straight to MGS5. If this is old fashioned Koijma manipulation, it’s worked, to the point where even suggesting that it might not be MGS will earn you mucho abuse on the Internet. To me, the clues feel too obvious. I’d say they’re red herrings, designed to build up hype for his new game and to either pleasantly surprise people or violently undercut their expectations, depending on what kind of mood Kojima’s in. This isn’t official, obviously, and I’m assuming that’s he regained some of the creative freedom he lost on MGS3 and 4, but if he has then it’s nice to see him up to his old tricks and toying with people’s minds again.
So if it’s not MGS then what is it? Well, it could be any number of things. There’s been very little information given on the subject of the mysterious “Project Ogre,” in that we only have a name so far, so it could very easily be that. Kojima also recently expressed interest in creating a Silent Hill game, and given the surreal and supernatural vibe of TPP’s trailer, this is also a possibility. There’s every chance that it could just be a brand new IP, which is a much more exciting prospect to me than the announcement of a new Metal Gear game, given that we already have 2 on the way. Kojima has said for years that he wants to work on new properties, and finally seeing him do so would be fantastic.
If anything, this trailer and the reaction it’s garnered is a very positive sign that people are starting to look into the small details and question the things that they’re seeing. After seeing people ignore the themes of MGS2 and the overwhelming signs of Kojima’s hatred of MGS4 in the pre-release hype and the game itself, it’s nice to see people noticing the tiniest details of the trailer and attempting to work out the meanings behind them.
Of course this is all just speculation, as we’ve seen that Kojima’s trailers can be entirely misleading. All I’m saying is that, assuming this is the playful Kojima of old, there’s almost certainly more to this whole thing than is immediately apparent. In the words of TPP, “Open your eyes, already!”