If I’m going to play another game as Solid Snake, it damn well better be a retirement home simulator.
Dear Mr. Kojima,
I think it’s pretty obvious that you are definitely going to read this open letter. And I think it’s even more obvious that, after reading it, the mad ramblings of a crazed Metal Gear fan who isn’t particularly smart will completely change your mind and alter the future of your productions. With this in mind, please forgive me if I come off as a bit harsh, as I love everything you’ve ever touched.
While speculation has been rampant since the day MGS4 came out, and you’ve heavily implied that Metal Gear Solid 5 is something you definitely want happening as soon as you can figure out what to do, you finally confirmed the game’s existence to IG Magazine fairly recently. And you’ve confirmed that it will feature Solid Snake, a man who, by all accounts, should be dead. Come on, HidHid, put away the teat; there is no need to milk this bad boy any further.
From a business standpoint, of course it makes sense. The Metal Gear Solid series is a best-seller, with each entry winning numerous awards and changing the way stories are told in videogames. MGS4 was the sole reason many people bought the then-struggling PS3 back in 2008. Considering you are as much a businessman as you are creative genius, a fifth entry in the main series makes perfect sense.
But you are still a creative genius as much as you are a businessman, and from that side of the equation, this is something that should not happen.
I have no problem with the Metal Gear franchise continuing, but not the main series. Not the main, super-important plot with Solid Snake and Otacon and the Patriots and all the wonderful characters and events that shaped gaming culture for over a decade. Make all the side-games and remakes you’d like. Metal Gear Rising looks like good fun and shouldn’t impact the legacy you’ve crafted. A remake of the original MSX Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake would also be warmly welcomed. But continuing the story of Solid Snake? Absolutely not.
Metal Gear Solid 4 did an exceptional job of something game franchises rarely do even well – it finished the story. It fully, wholly completed the entire story of the Metal Gear Solid saga. The Patriots are gone. Zero is dead. Big Boss is dead. For a third time. Solid Snake has a few months left to live and is going to finish his life in peace. The amount of closure MGS4 brings is unbelievably satisfying. What few questions are left unanswered are both unimportant and far too nitpicky to justify an entire game.
If you choose to make Metal Gear Solid 5 and tell yet another story of Big Boss, well, you’ll be beating a dead horse. Portable Ops and Peace Walker told two good but wholly unnecessary stories of Big Boss in the period between Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear for the MSX/NES. Those are great games, portable or not. But whatever is left that we REALLY need to know about Big Boss could only be properly told in remakes of the original two titles. Which would be nice, but again, isn’t entirely necessary. Even the rumored project focusing on The Boss and the Cobra Unit during World War II is a story we don’t really need to be told. Sure, it’d be cool, but why risk further muddying up the canon?
Hideo, you dashing devil, you’ve given the games industry so many bright ideas and have paved the way for so many developers and visionaries. You revolutionized stealth gameplay. You redefined how stories can be told in games. You gave us characters and moments that we will absolutely never forget. You’ve made us feel emotions we never thought games could make us feel. And you are one of the very, very few game designers that gave closure to a series at just the right time.
Do the games industry one more massive favor and let Metal Gear Solid, like its protagonist, live the rest of its life in quiet solitude. The MGS games will never be forgotten, and adding new titles to the series that aren’t necessary will only do damage to its great legacy, not broaden it. In an industry where franchises live forever, where there are multiple series of the same franchise and sequels that just never stop, lead the way one more time and show the world what it’s like to just end it. The world won’t get mad at you.
I’m glad we had this talk, Hideo. I’m glad you definitely listened to me and read all these points I’ve made that no one has ever made before ever. I’m glad my words have convinced you to move on to something new and exciting, before people accuse you of being senile at your tender young age.
Can’t wait for the sleepover next weekend. Text me when you get out of work and we’ll figure out what time to meet up.