Metal Gear's lead designer Hideo Kojima and its publisher Konami went through a notorious and much publicized breakup last year, leaving the fate of the stealth action game series in question.
At first, it seemed like our worst fears were coming true, when Konami, a company that is quickly pulling back from the AAA game business, announced that it was making a pachinko machine based on Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Would the legendary series forever be relegated to free-to-play mobile apps and thinly-veiled slot machines? Not quite yet, as today Konami announced a new entry in the series named Metal Gear Survive.
It looks like a AAA game, but it's not what we've come to expect from Metal Gear games either. Whereas Metal Gear games usually let players control Solid Snake as he crawls around military facilities, choking out guards and fighting the eponymous walking tanks called Metal Gears, in Metal Gear Survive up to four players will work together to fight off hordes of zombies.
That doesn't really sound like any Metal Gear game we've played before, but there's no reason why it can't be good. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain had an amazing engine that could render huge, open terrains, and a large number of enemies on screen. I could easily imagine how Konami could leverage this technology to create a game that was more about multiplayer, crafting, and managing hordes of enemies than crawling around in the dirt. It looks cool! It would certainly make sense for Konami to reuse Metal Gear Solid V's tech (which reportedly cost the company $80 million to develop) and tap into the hugely popular zombie survival genre defined by games like DayZ.
The real question is if Konami can really make a successful Metal Gear game without Kojima, who's currently working on a mysterious project for Sony called Death Stranding. I'm sure that many people like me will play it just to find out.
Hey, at the very least it's not another pachinko machine.