How do you recreate a game like MGS3 without a director like Hideo Kojima?

Recreate in many ways Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is an obvious choice. The game is an almost universally loved PS2 classic, one of the best stealth action games of all time, and is packed with iconic moments and set pieces. And the remake – titled Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater – is being announced at a time when audiences and critics alike are eager to revisit gaming’s past. Several of this year’s biggest and most critically acclaimed releases are remakes and remasters, including Resident Evil 4, Empty space, Progress warsAnd Metroid prime.

Redo MGS3 feels uniquely challenging, however, because of how inseparable the Metal gear games are from series creator Hideo Kojima, who parted ways with Konami in 2015. The events and chaotic news surrounding his departure made it look like a less than amicable divorce, and Kojima’s name was conspicuously absent from Konami’s press release announcing the MGS3 redo. It begs the inevitable question: how well can a Metal gear game, even if it’s a remake, without the involvement of its sole creator?

“A Hideo Kojima game”

Kojima is an unusually prominent figure for a game developer, one of the few who can be considered a household name in the industry. Many might tell you that Shinji directed Mikami Resident Evil 4but almost everyone who played a Metal Gear solid game can call Kojima. Resident Evil 4 feels like a Capcom game and Metroid prime feels like a Nintendo game, but Metal Gear solid 3 feels like “a Hideo Kojima game.”

Yes, part of this comes down to the way the series has been marketed. Many, but not all, Kojima-directed games came with the words “a Hideo Kojima game” printed front and center on the box, and its development team within Konami was even named “Kojima Productions” for subsequent entries in the series.

But it would be short-sighted to argue that Kojima’s fame is the result of cynical marketing. The director has a special and unique style, not to mention a sense of humor, that permeates his games. It’s hard to imagine a returning character who can’t stop shitting himself, a level where you’re forced to play naked, or a mask that makes your character look like the maligned protagonist of a previous game in anything other than a of Kojima’s games.

It is these more bizarre elements that often dominate discussions Metal gear games today. A boss inside MGS1 you could read PlayStation memory card and comment on other games you were playing, and you could only beat them by plugging your controller into the second controller port. Another fight in MGS3 is either a tedious cat-and-mouse game played for over an hour, or can be skipped entirely if you wait for your enemy to die of old age.

Kojima’s work post Konami suggests that it was the director, rather than the publisher he worked for, that was the source of much of this weirdness. Death stranding let you make grenades from your own piss and blood and showed a character dying every 21 minutes. In the meantime, Surviving Metal Gearso far the only one Metal gear game produced by Konami after Kojima’s departure received mediocre reviews and has been largely forgotten.

Konami has so far said little about how it plans to address the issue Metal Gear solid 3 recreate, too Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater. It is said that the delta symbol (Δ) in the name should stand for “‘change’ or ‘difference’ without changing structureadding in a press release that the remake will “play the original voice characters,” suggesting we’ll see David Hayter reprise his iconic role as Snake. Otherwise, the teaser trailer focused more on the dog-eat-dog world of the forest ecosystem, rather than giving specific hints about the game’s structure or gameplay.

We can draw some clues as to which direction Konami might take Delta from an earlier one Metal gear redo: Twin snakes. In 2004, Konami teamed up with Silicon Knights to recreate the original Metal Gear solid for the GameCube, which largely kept the core structure of the PlayStation game, but recreated it in the style of the PS2 sequel, MGS2.

It’s not hard to see how Konami could take a similar approach Deltainspired by the graphics and mechanics of later Metal gear games like the one from 2015 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

But the big difference between Twin snakes And Delta is the involvement of Kojima. The designer has several credits to his name twin snakes, but there is no mention of his involvement in it Deltaand his work Dead stranding 2 and rumored Xbox title Overdose suggests he’s not struggling to keep busy.

The original director’s involvement doesn’t completely shield a remake from criticism. Twin snakes was criticized by some fans for the stylized action it added to the game’s cutscenes and the addition of new mechanics that subverted the structure of the original game. But it still serves as a vote of confidence, a stamp that suggests Kojima approved of the project, even though many fans still prefer his original, and the critical reception to Twin snakes was generally positive.

Remaking a game is never easy (just ask Ubisoft). Even a seemingly simple task like modernizing a game’s art for more powerful modern systems involves making tough decisions about how to use the extra graphics horsepower. Are you going in a more photo-realistic direction, or are you retaining aspects of the original game’s simplified style?

And that’s before getting into the specific weirdness of Snake eater, a title full of mechanics that I would call “clumsy but endearing.” I distinctly remember constantly hopping through menus to change my camo outfit as I painstakingly crawled through the levels, endlessly changing my clothes to best suit the surface I was writhing over. Yes, it may have been annoying and clumsy, but it’s also one of my most important memories of the game. Same with the way it asked you to dive into its menus to manually heal certain injuries. Undoubtedly inconvenient – but also an essential part of the Snake eater experience.

Then there’s that ladder. That uninterrupted, unbeatable, minute-plus climbing marathon. To write for Polygon in 2018, Allegra Frank called the ladder “more break than break.”

Metal Gear solid has always been about mind games, but to put us in a tube that has nowhere to go but up – or all the way down – sequesters the battlefield in our own heads,” Frank wrote. “The fear builds when we think about what we’ve already seen, the bosses we’ve taken down, the levels we’ve crawled through (or shot wildly”). So god help me, if the remake’s ladder takes anything less than a full minute and 47 seconds to climb, I’m going to rebel.

No remake can please everyone. There will always be those who see the bugs and rough edges of an original game as essential parts of the experience that would be sacrilegious to remove. It’s also legitimate to want a remake to go in the opposite direction – to take bigger swings and create an identity of its own that can be separate from the original game. And lest we forget, plenty of people playing Delta will not have touched the original Snake eater and just want to play a game that is accessible to a modern audience. Konami will have to thread an almost impossible needle, and it will have to do so seemingly without the input of an author who has guided the series for nearly 30 years.

The first three Metal Gear solid games are also being brought to modern systems.
Image: Konami

So I’m reassured by the fact that Delta won’t be the only way to experience Snake eater on modern platforms. When the remake (eventually) releases, it will sit alongside a port of the original game that the company will release on modern platforms later this year as the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection. The implication is that Delta is an alternative, not a replacement, for the classic game of Kojima. That’s more than can be said for some of the other remakes.

Regardless of how Konami’s attempt to recreate one of its best games goes, at least in theory, we still have the original game to enjoy. Warts and stuff.

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