There are many potential Metal Gear games that have been ‘imagineered’ by fans which will probably never be made into proper, full fledged titles. They range from further outings in the AC!D franchise to remakes of the first two 8-bit MSX titles. There are various reasons why Kojima Productions cannot or will not create such titles. Sometimes the ideas just aren’t that good. Sometimes series creator Hideo Kojima refuses to undertake a project. Sometimes Kojima Productions are simply too understaffed to take on many multiple projects at once. Here are five of the best ideas lifted from the internet and fans of the Metal Gear series. [Originally posted at Metal Gear Scholar]

 

 

5. Further PlayStation Portable titles
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops faced surprising backlash from hardcore fans of the Metal Gear series due to what many called a “convoluted story” and poor gameplay mechanics. Outside of the core community, Portable Ops proved popular amongst younger gamers, and was even appreciated by the media. This should come as no surprise, as Hideo Kojima publicly stated that he was making Portable Ops for a younger age group, as evidenced by the lack of blood and the simple, fantastical story.


Old Snake in action from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus.

There’s still room on the PlayStation Portable for a Metal Gear title that follows the simple Metal Gear Solid mechanics, and that has a solid story which will appeal to hardcore fans. Consider, perhaps, a side story in the Metal Gear canon, such as Naked Snake’s time in Vietnam (as had previously been suggested by Ryan Payton), or even something involving other characters such as Raiden, Revolver Ocelot or Gray Fox. There’s no particular need for new Metal Gear titles to be in the same canon. Metal Gear Solid for the Game Boy Color (known as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel in Japan) is not in the main canon of the series, but still retains solid story elements that make a Metal Gear game. It’s also surprisingly good.

And while the PlayStation 3 outing is more action-focused as opposed to stealth-focused, PlayStation Portable titles could return to the much more traditional, simplistic control scheme and gameplay style of the first two Solid titles. It could even be possible to remake Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake in such a format: these titles would surely be popular. And with Sony rumored to be announcing a UMD-less PlayStation Portable at E3 2009, could there be a better time to release a title on the PlayStation Store?

4. PlayStation 3 downloadable content
What about the possibility of a downloadable VR Missions game? There was no VR Mission add-on in Metal Gear Solid 3 or 4, and it doesn’t seem like Konami has any plans to release a Metal Gear Solid 4 ‘update’ any time soon. The VR Missions in Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions were quite playable and successful, and they evolved with the inclusion of more fleshed out level designs and mission types in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.


Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions was an add-on for Metal Gear Solid,
featuring only VR Missions and other exclusive modes
.


Players could play as “Tuxedo Snake”, who featured in
VR Missions in
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.

A release such as this distributed as downloadable content could be a big hit. The engine from Guns of the Patriots could naturally be utilized; the only thing necessary would be new level design. They wouldn’t necessarily have to be VR Missions – even side missions using maps from Metal Gear Solid 4 or Metal Gear Online, in the same vein as the ‘Snake Tales’ from Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, would be interesting to see and play. Having a collection of interesting and challenging missions to play through, with a $9.99 or $19.99 price point certainly makes sense, and there’s little reason not to do it. I’m reminded of the side missions in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, most of which were generally monotonous, but some of which were quirky and fun. One, for example, had the player navigate through a maze of steel containers – on top of them and around them – in order to reach an item in a hard to locate place. Think of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but with Metal Gear’s climbing mechanics. Although those mechanics were perhaps not best suited to that style of game, it was certainly interesting for a time. Releasing a pack of missions, some of which are VR based (probably off of the same maps seen in Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions and Substance), some of which are special missions (i.e. ‘take down Genola’), some of which are ‘Snake Tales’-esque, and some of which are just plain puzzle fun would be an interesting and compelling gameplay package sure to occupy for five to ten hours.

3. Metal Gear/Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake remake for consoles
It seems that this is the question most often asked of Hideo Kojima at press conferences. Whenever it’s asked, the man always gives a slight chuckle before repeating the same mantra – he doesn’t want to revisit the past, he doesn’t want to remake the old.

While I respect his position, I also respectfully disagree with it. Remaking the first two games in the series is a fantastic idea. Not enough fans of the series are willing to touch the two MSX titles, and why should they? They’re incredibly difficult, and archaic in their game design – which is not to say that they’re bad in any way, for I personally regard them as some of the best in the series – but they’re not accessible for gamers of a younger generation. There’s also the interesting idea of making the games and their story survive. Metal Gear, for instance, has no explicit story to vouch for, and the game rarely features exchanges more than three or four statements long between characters. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake has almost as much story as its future three dimensional progeny, but no real way to communicate it effectively due to the limitations of the format. Remaking Metal Gear would also give many the first chance to play the original outside of the half-baked port for the Nintendo Entertainment System.


The NES version of Metal Gear re-imagined with Lego pieces:
probably better than the original?

While the two games were released in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, the sheer difficultly of the games meant that few outside of the hardcore fans of the series actually played them. There’s no need to point out how popular remakes of the two games for current generation home consoles would be amongst fans of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, particularly if the games made use of a similar style engine. Updating the games would also give Kojima Productions a chance to update the story, which has several holes in it after the large makeover the series arc underwent in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Some state that they would prefer it if the games were left as is, taking the same line as their creator. It’s not as if attempting to rebirth them into a three dimensional world would destroy any power the originals held. It’s worth an attempt, none the less.

2. Snatcher/Policenauts remake or re-release
The Snatcher and Policenauts titles are not actually related to the Metal Gear series in any major way (aside from the fact that they were created by the same man), but they are one-time Konami/Kojima Productions titles nonetheless, and the outcry from fans of the two original games wanting to play up-to-date versions has been tremendous. There’s a compelling reason to remake or re-release these two titles: few have played Snatcher, and almost nobody has played Policenauts.


Policenauts – Hideo Kojima’s “interactive cinema” title.

Policenauts was an “interactive cinema” adventure game with a hard science fiction, released for the NEC PC-9821, the 3DO, the PlayStation, and the Sega Saturn. One could probably count the few western gamers that have played this game using fingers and toes. It’s a shame that Policenauts continues to undergo re-release after re-release in Japan, but no English translation or modern port has ever been announced. In 1997 Policenauts was reissued for the PlayStation under Konami’s ‘The Best’ range, and in 2008 it was released as a PSone title on Japan’s PlayStation Store. Back in the western territories, it’s been left to fans to translate Policenauts. Unfortunately, there’s been no word on the project since September 2008.


Snatcher, known for being secretly awesome with its often risque subject matter
(seen here, here, and here, but don’t say I didn’t warn you – and apparently here,
which also comes up when you type
Snatcher into Google Image Search).

Snatcher is much better known amongst the gaming community. Unlike Policenauts it was released in the United States for the Sega Saturn. Snatcher, also an adventure game, has at least received some further attention from Konami. ‘Project S’, a rumored collaboration between Hideo Kojima and killer7 director Goichi Suda promises a future game and a confirmed radio play based on the series.

Both of Hideo Kojima’s older works are acclaimed; Snatcher certainly more so due to its albeit limited U.S. release. The same applies to a possible remake of the first two Metal Gear titles as it does to these two games – the potential for amazing current generation games to be born is almost limitless. Arguably there is even more pressure to at least re-release Policenauts and Snatcher, due to their not being released and limited release in the west (respectively). Until then, fans of Hideo Kojima’s older works will be forced to wait for fan-based translation projects, as they once were with Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.

1. Metal Gear AC!D sequel/expansion
The Metal Gear AC!D series has always been in a strange place, generally revered by fans of Metal Gear and the critical media, but denounced by most gamers who are not strict followers of the Metal Gear series. More complaints seem to be hazed at the base gameplay mechanic of playing with cards than at anything else unique to the game. Indeed, it seems that it is in fact a case of ‘love it or hate it’ – where those who love it do so with a passion, and those who hate it want nothing more of it.

Technically the Metal Gear AC!D series is in fact quite sound, and allegiance for it or against it tends to come down to whether or not one is predisposed to card-based games in general. Because of the range and depth of the cards (numbering over 500 in Metal Gear AC!D 2) and the actions that are possible – in particular Metal Gear AC!D 2 with the advent of different card types – the games can actually become quite deep.


Metal Gear AC!D 2 featured excellent cell-shaded graphics.

Fans of the AC!D games have long been clamoring for a new title. Even the gaming media want a new sequel: Shane Bettenhausen, once-executive editor of Electronic Gaming Monthly and now Director of Business Development at Ignition Entertainment, stated in 2008 that he hoped any further Metal Gear releases would include a new Metal Gear AC!D title. So why has there been no expansion of the series? Considering the relatively simple turn-based gameplay mechanic, it doesn’t appear to arduous a task to make one. Providing they continue to release them for the PlayStation Portable platform, they wouldn’t even need to create a new game engine or graphics engine – why not just continue to release new mission packs or maps as downloadable content? With the proliferation of the PlayStation Store and the already strong XBOX Live Marketplace, it seems that a low priced Metal Gear AC!D title will do well, particularly if at a similar price to games such as Megaman 9 ($9.99 as of June 2009 on the PlayStation Network).

In fact, Hideo Kojima has already commented on the possibility of coordinating with online distributors as a means of releasing future Metal Gear AC!D titles. When Eurogamer asked about the status of the series, Kojima responded: “I’ll say yes to that idea, but not because it is already running or anything …. I’m just saying yes because it’s possible, I think it is possible. Sorry to say we don’t have specific plans at the moment, but it is possible, yes.”

It seems like releasing new mission packs for Metal Gear AC!D 2 or creating a new game based on 2’s engine would make easy money for Konami and Kojima Productions. There are many possibilities for what future titles could hold in store: completely new stories, or even a whole game based around the Arena Mode from AC!D 2 (which I’ve sunk more time into than the entire game). Another brilliant idea would be remaking older titles in the series as AC!D games, or even potentially remaking every title in the series in a similar vein – the possibilities are endless. As long as next installments include a deck recipe save function and maybe even a level editor, they have the potential to be fantastic. [Originally posted at Metal Gear Scholar]

Image credit (in feature order): GameSpy; GameSpot; GameSpot; Funny Old Planet; Kotaku; IGN


GamesBeat Black Friday Gift Guide: Everything we recommend this holiday season