Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been a long time coming. In fact, it first began as Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes with its initial introduction at PAX Prime 2012, followed by a mysterious Phantom Pain trailer reveal during the Spike Video Game Awards last December. By the time GDC 2013 rolled around, director Hideo Kojima announced that the projects were one and the same – the next highly anticipated chapter in the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Fans of the Metal Gear games will be thrilled by the return of the infamous Snake, aka "Big Boss", but may also be surprised by some of the new elements included in this sequel, powered by Konami's Fox Engine technology. The company unveiled gameplay footage from the sequel during E3 back in June, which you can watch below.
The story picks up shortly after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, in the year 1975. Having successfully completed that mission, Snake is called upon to infiltrate an American black site known as Camp Omega, on behalf of the Militaires Sans Frontieres – or MSF for short. A couple of prisoners are being held at the camp that could be of use to them, including a member of the mysterious Cipher organization – who Snake fought against for some time – and a former ally from the Peace Walker mission.
However, before he can carry out his mission, all hell breaks loose. Snake enters a comatose state after sustaining injuries taken during the mission, and MSF's base of operations, Mother Base, is destroyed soon thereafter under strange circumstances.
The story continues nine years later, when Snake awakens from his coma, only to find a prosthetic limb in the place of his hand and soldiers infiltrating the hospital he's in. He takes on a new codename – Punished Snake – and vows to get even with the saboteurs at any cost, with the help of a new mercenary group known as Diamond Dogs. It's here where the majority of the game takes place, as you travel to Afghanistan to figure out what's going on – and if the Cipher organization is once again involved.
What you will notice about Metal Gear Solid V is just how vital stealth is. Snake is a soldier who relies on blending into his environments and not stirring up trouble, and utilizing the Fox Engine, you'll have better maneuverability than ever before. In addition to sneaking around, Snake will also be able to dive quickly into areas, should he be on the run and need to avoid detection.
In addition, Metal Gear Solid V will introduce an open-world environment – a first for the series. This enables players to use items in the area to his advantage, whether he finds another way around the base or uses a vehicle to get somewhere faster. These include aerial vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, and if you prefer riding in with gusto, horses. Kojima stated this is a nice change of pace from the usual "point-A-to-point-B" set-up that prior games in the series have taken.
Metal Gear Solid V works on a day and night cycle that runs in real time. When you're traveling from one location to the next, the time of your arrival will shift automatically. If you leave one spot during the day, it'll be night by the time you get there, and vice versa. However, nighttime infiltration can also be used to your advantage, since guards have limited visibility compared to being out in broad daylight.
Base building will also play a huge role, just as it did in Peace Walker. You'll be able to create weapons and items that you can use over the course of your missions, building your arsenal in no time flat. When you're not playing the game – or stuck at work or elsewhere – you'll also be able to access your base with your smart phone or other mobile devices. Konami has yet to explain just how well this works, but we should know more in the months ahead.
A lot of details revolving around Metal Gear Solid V are being kept in the dark at the moment, as the game is still in development. However, things look great thus far, thanks to the stunning Fox Engine. Snake is also getting some fresh blood in the vocal department, as actor Kiefer Sutherland is doing voicework and motion capture for the role, replacing long-time Snake veteran David Hayter.
More details are likely to be revealed in the months ahead as the game makes its way to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and perhaps Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next year.