Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain launches tomorrow and is highly anticipated by many as one of the biggest games of the fall. This is astonishing considering Konami’s current stance on gaming, with gambling quickly becoming their main focus along with a vested interest in mobile titles. Perhaps this is why Konami is acting like The Patriots, controlling and censoring information with an iron fist and a cold heart. Everyone following games have been inundated with news about Konami concerning The Phantom Pain, and there were just enough bits to add onto the pile today to make summarizing the entire ordeal make some sense.
We began in March of this year, where we heard the first signs of trouble from Konami in the form of Hideo Kojima’s sudden silence on social media. It was clear that he and the company would be parting ways in short order when Konami decided to remove his name from Metal Gear Solid titles wherever they could, including the final box art of The Phantom Pain. This also explained the sudden cancellation of Silent Hills the previous month. In response to the controversy at the time, Konami confirmed that Kojima would be leaving, and then in the next sentence attempted to put out feelers for developers who would be willing to come in and develop the next game in the Metal Gear franchise. One that would be without its guiding voice and no doubt riddled with modern AAA business practices. But more on those later.
There was some good news to be had in August when The Phantom Pain‘s PC release was pushed up to match the date that console gamers would get to enjoy the game. Little did we know at the time that this move meant that programmers would go without vacation in order to get the game out on time. Just a few days later, there were several leaks from inside the company that revealed harsh working conditions for the company’s employees, particularly in the case of Kojima Productions in the later days of MGSV development.
Fast forward a bit and we come to the last few weeks, where several outlets have released glowing praise for the game. These reviews were composed from playtime at a “boot camp” review event that GamesRadar went into detail about in their efforts to explain why they couldn’t give a score to the game despite their extensive time with it. This also revealed that the game would have microtransactions in its online portion, something that wasn’t available to these reviewers. This brings us to the last few days.
Contents on disc for the physical retail PC version of #MGSVTPP:
– Steam installer (8.78 MB)
And… nothing else. pic.twitter.com/TcFskpSZ8O
— graphμre (づ・8・)づ (@graphure) August 30, 2015
For those who still wish to purchase physical games on PC, Konami hears your pleas but refuses to acknowledge them. Instead, they put out a retail release of the game that includes an 8MB Steam installer on disc and absolutely nothing else. Not only does this mean that Metal Gear is basically digital only on PC, which could become a preservation problem down the line, but it means that retail customers have to get online right behind digital customers to download the game on release.
Other AAA titles, like Metal Gear‘s scrappy opponent on Tuesday Mad Max, allow gamers to pre-load game on Steam to ease server traffic and allow those with slower speeds to get at the game as soon as possible. Konami decided instead that all their customers should attempt to dogpile onto Steam at once. Fingers crossed that the servers don’t explode in the mean time! It’s fine though, because while you wait for the game to install, I’m sure Konami would love if you perused the microtransactions they have prepared for you.
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That is an $80 bundle of in-game currency to be used expanding your Mother Base in the game. Konami has been unclear if these coins will also be available in game, with some sources such as that tweet stating that MB coins can be earned in game. However, community manager Robert Peeler mentioned in an interview that there were two currencies, and MB coins to expand your base and increase item production could only be procured through expending real life funds. In any case, even if you were impatient enough to spend more than the price of the game itself on coins, you’d better hope you can also earn them in game if you want to unlock everything, because $80 is not enough to do it. Not even close.
To be realistic, it is highly likely that no one player will ever need all this extra content. There is confirmation that the initial FOB platform will not cost anything. That doesn’t subtract from the fact that it is an enormous price to put on a complete experience that some will feel they need. It adds a burden to an otherwise pleasant pastime that isn’t necessary in the slightest, even for players who solely want to focus on the single player campaign.
Fans of Metal Gear have had it hard enough these past few weeks. There have been exclusive Let’s Play videos that force dedicated fans to decide whether they want to see more of the game and possibly ruin their initial experience with familiarity. There have been rampant spoilers across the Internet for days now, making each comments section and social media site a minefield. Even some of the biggest fans of the game were in trouble this week, as the ones who bought the collector’s edition on PS4 opened their packages to find missing DLC codes, later learning that they had to go through an arcane process to redeem the content that they paid for. All this isn’t helped by Konami, a company that seems to be reveling in their own fall from grace.
All this weirdness and controversy, and Metal Gear Solid V will undoubtedly still be an amazing experience that we will all remember for years to come. Perhaps not only as a great game, but also as a eulogy for Konami as a AAA publisher and as a reminder of their past greatness.
Oh, and they misspelled the admittedly uncommon word “ ” on the collector’s edition MGS PS4. Because of course they did.
Will you be accompanying Big Boss on the final true Metal Gear adventure tomorrow? Will you indulge in buying obscene amount of coins to fund Konami’s future Metal Gear efforts? Or will you just continue to mourn the death of P.T.? Answer these questions in the comments la le lu le below!
UPDATE: Added an additional source about microtransactions in the game thanks to Reptile in the comments! Also added an additional bit about collector’s edition DLC woes thanks to @RingJ5 on Twitter!