Is Konami in Damage Control Mode over Metal Gear?
By Yung Namahage • 1 month ago

Some time ago, I made it my mission to play through the entirety of the Metal Gear franchise, bar most of the non-canon spin-offs. With the Metal Gear Legacy Collection on a PS3 I borrowed from my cousin, I started from the very beginning: Metal Gear, the 1987 MSX title that was originally meant to be standard beat 'em up until a young Hideo Kojima figured it'd be interesting for players to avoid fighting guards as much as possible rather than batter every one in sight. Nobody was expecting it to become one of the most iconic and influential series in gaming history, but that all started with the first time Konami screwed over Kojima.

In 1990, Kojima was told by another Konami employee that he was asked to work on a sequel to the original Metal Gear, titled Snake's Revenge and aimed at the western market. Even the developer knew it wasn't fair that the company was making a follow-up to the well-recieved original game without consulting the man behind it, so he asked Kojima to make a true sequel to Metal Gear. That same year, Konami released Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which expanded the series' lore and refined its primitive stealth mechanics. Fast forward to 1998, and Kojima gave the world the first 3D stealth game: Metal Gear Solid on PS1, and the rest is history. 

However, after Kojima attained true rockstar status and Metal Gear became one of Konami's most profitable franchises, they started having second thoughts during the development of Metal Gear Solid V. Kojima had missed deadlines and gone over budget, and Konami were aiming to distance him from his creation. This led to Koijma and his team's famous exodus from Konami, releasing Death Stranding as an independant studio. 

Admittedly, I put off MGSV for the longest time for 2 main reasons: I had the big twist spoiled years ago, and Snake was no longer voiced by David Hayter. Now that I've played it, Kiefer Sutherland does a pretty good job as Big Boss/Punished "Venom" Snake (unlike some Hollywood actors in video games), but just like Kojima's batshit plot points and Yoji Shinkawa's sleek character designs, Hayter's gravelly baritone is one of the most iconic parts of the franchise in my experience.

With the release of Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 last year and the upcoming remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Hayter is back in the limelight. Even if he doesn't record any new voice lines for the remake, Konami have asked him to promote the new releases in a series of videos summarizing the convoluted narrative threads woven over the last few decades. The first video is a fun recap of the games up to MGS3 and I'm glad Hayter is back, but there's one glaring omission that I can't help but notice.

Hayter brings up "the developers" of MGS, but he doesn't mention the developer. Talking about the history MGS without name dropping Kojima is like talking about the history of shonen anime but glossing over Dragon Ball. Or doing a speech on western movies without bringing up Clint Eastwood. I'm sure Hayter himself didn't write the script, and to be fair Kojima did screw him over by not asking him to reprise his role as Big Boss in MGSV, but it feels like there's still bad blood between Konami and Kojima, and it was a conscious decision to not associate him with his life's work. It sucks to see, but I hope if there's a Master Collection Vol. 2 with a remaster of MGS4 plus others, they're able to bury the hatchet and celebrate the franchise's history alongside the man behind it.

What do you guys think of this? Can Konami ever make a good Metal Gear without Kojima, or will they all be like Snake's Revenge and Survive? Leave your thoughts below!