The sudden demise of Metal Gear Solid has been painful for fans to see. The Phantom Pain, though an excellent game from a gameplay perspective, wasn’t necessarily the best note for the series to sign off on, while other situations – such as the embarrassing Metal Gear Survive’s release, and the fact that Hideo Kojima has cut himself off from Metal Gear and Konami altogether – have done nothing to make the series’ future look any brighter. There’s a large number of people who believe that Metal Gear simply shouldn’t go on if Kojima isn’t involved, and honestly, it’s easy to see why that’s such a popular belief- but it’s Metal Gear. An incredible series with an incredible track record, and if handled properly, an equally incredible future. Of course there are many who want to see the series come back.
And if recent rumours are to be believed, come back it will indeed. Rumours have indicated that Konami is looking to outsource some of its biggest IPs, Metal Gear included, to other developers in the industry, and some insiders have suggested that remakes of Metal Gear Solid games are in the works at Bluepoint Games, the studio behind the stellar remakes of Shadow of the Colossus and Demon’s Souls. This sounds like a classic case of a “if it sounds too good to be true, it just might be” situation, but if it is true, we’re in for some exciting times. And in the spirit of that excitement, here, we’ll talk about the fifteen things we’d like to see in a rumoured Metal Gear Solid remake.
Let’s start with the obvious stuff. Metal Gear Solid is a timeless classic as far as game design is concerned, but seeing as the game launched in 1998 for a system that’s underpowered even compared to the calculators of today’s day and age, it’s not surprising that from a tech and visuals perspective, Metal Gear Solid hasn’t exactly aged too well. A remake would have to reimagine the game’s look and aesthetic heavily, recreating all of its environments and characters with modern assets and models. That can be made to sound relatively simplistic on paper, of course, but it’s crucial that the look and tone of the original game is retained, rather than just delivering something that looks like a generic modern-day 4K experience.
IRONING OUT THE NARRATIVE INCONSISTENCIES
The Metal Gear saga is a long and convoluted one, and that statement only became truer and truer with each new game in the series. Kojima and Konami made multiple games set earlier in the series’ timeline following the launch of MGS1, and while they were, by and large, pretty good about maintaining consistency as far as the smaller details were concerned, some relatively minor plotholes slipped through the cracks here and there- like Liquid telling Snake that Big Boss was in a coma when the Les Enfants Terribles clones were made, even though the coma that he was referring to would come many, many years later. A remake would, of course, have the perfect opportunity to iron out these inconsisties and make sure that things are kept consistent on an overarching series-wide level.
MORE NARRATIVE CONNECTIONS TO THE SERIES’ LORE
Of course, a remake would also be a great way to add little nuggets, callbacks, and references here and there, and through these elements, make MGS1’s story much more intricately and blatantly connected with aspects of the series’ lore. For instance, certain added lines or scenes with Liquid and Psycho Mantis could call back to Eli and Tretij Rebenok in The Phantom Pain. New scenes could show Master Miller talking about his younger days in MSF and Diamond Dogs (though that might be a bit more complicated, since he’s later revealed to be Liquid Snake in disguise). New dialogue with Hal could include additional references to Huey, and the messed up past of the Emmerich family. There’s a lot of potential here, and series fans would absolutely love stuff like this.
This one might prove to be tricky for any developer making a potential remake, but honestly, it’s going to be more or less necessary. The original Metal Gear Solid is roughly a 5-6 hour long game on average, and while that was more than acceptable back when the game first game out, in today’s day and age, that sort of a runtime just doesn’t cut it. People want longer, more fleshed out games, which means that any remake of MGS1 would need to add new content of its own to pad out its runtime. Expanding upon areas or adding entirely new locations might be one way to do that, but if a developer does indeed do that, they would have the unenviable task of ensuring that not only does the new content feel right at home in the game without messing up the original’s pacing and structure, but also that it is, from a quality perspective, up to snuff and on the same footing as the original content- which is really saying something.
FLESHED OUT BACKSTORIES FOR BOSSES
Metal Gear Solid games have always done a stellar job of establishing the bad guys that you fight in boss battles not only as mechanically interesting and challenging encounters, but also as actual characters. MGS1 was, of course, great at doing that as well, with the likes of Psycho Mantis, Vulcan Raven, Sniper Wolf, and more receiving proper backstories, motivations, and personalities to turn them into actual characters. With a remake, that could be taken to the next level. A remake would, of course, need to be longer, and having the game spend more time on each boss, fleshing out their characters ad backstories a little bit more, could be one way to do that. With some, such as Revolver Ocelot and Psycho Mantis, the game could actually hit two birds with one stone, by fleshing out their backstories while making meaningful connections to games set further back in the series’ chronology at the same time.
Metal Gear is synonymous with the stealth genre, and with each new game, the series took stealth games to greater heights. Metal Gear Solid 1 is still an excellent stealth game, more than twenty years after its launch, but a remake would probably need to expand upon its core gameplay mechanics in significant ways. Thankfully, whoever is developing the remake (if the remake does exist) won’t have to look too far for inspiration. Taking mechanics from later games in the series would be the best way forward. The Phantom Pain’s emergent and systemic stealth gameplay is some of the best this genre has ever delivered, and seeing that applied to an MGS1 remake would be a dream scenario.
Expanding upon what we just talked about, one of the ways a Metal Gear Solid remake could improve its gameplay and make it more expressive would be by introducing new gadgets and tools for players to mess around with. One again, The Phantom Pain was full of gadgets and items that players could use to help them out in any given situation, and seeing some of those brought over to MGS1 – like the bionic arm or inflatable decoys, for instance – would improve the gameplay significantly.
NO VISION CONES
Vision cones were a staple of the stealth genre back when MGS1 first came out, and are still used by stealth games today, but as effective and efficient as they can be, they do make for an experience that feels less organic. Metal Gear Solid 5 showed that conventional, rigid vision cones are by no means necessary for a Metal Gear game to do stealth effectively, and seeing that same blend of organic stealth gameplay in an MGS1 remake would be the perfect way to modernize this classic.
OPTIONAL OVER-THE-SHOULDER CAMERA
3D visuals and game design were in their infancy back in 1998 when MGS1 first came out, which meant many games, in spite of having 3D graphics, still used game design inspired by their 2D precursors. Metal Gear Solid, with its top-down view, was one of them (though it did, of course, have a dynamic camera that could change depending on what you were doing in-game). That style was, honestly, perfect for the kind of game that MGS1 was- so what do we want for a remake? Well, not for that to go away. What would instead be the perfect scenario would be an in-game option that allows players to switch between a more modern over-the-shoulder perspective and a classic top-down view.
GOOD MIX OF LINEARITY AND OPEN LEVELS
MGS5’s open world design is something that divides series fans to this day, but regardless of which side of the fence you fall on in that debate, there’s little doubt that a hypothetical MGS1 remake absolutely shouldn’t be an open world game. That would mess up so much stuff from the original, from the pacing to the level design. A remake, if a remake does ever get made, needs to retain the linear design and progression of the original- though that doesn’t mean it has to be narrow. Certain levels and areas of the game could easily be expanded to make them much more open ended, while if the remake does indeed decide to add new locations or expand upon older ones, it would also have the freedom to implement larger or more winding levels.
PLAYABLE GRAY FOX SECTIONS
Gray Fox was one of the best characters in the original Metal Gear Solid, whether its characterization you’re talking about, or visual design, or a personal narrative arc. Any remake would of the game would, of course, have to do a good job of portraying that character- and an excellent way to do that would be by making him playable in some sections. Perhaps we could have sections that run parallel to Snake’s own story that show what’s going on with Gray Fox at those times, or perhaps we could have flashback sequences that could show how Gray Fox wound up at the base. Either way, we’d love to see Gray Fox take on an even bigger role if MGS1 ever gets remade.
REDESIGNED BOSS FIGHTS
Excellent boss fights have always been a defining trait of Metal Gear for as long as the series has been around, and MGS1 in particular had some really good boss encounters. A remake could make them even better though. Some fights, such as the one with Psycho Mantis, might be better left untouched, but others could do with some improvements. The encounter against Sniper Wolf could take place in a larger, more intricately designed arena. The fight against Revolver Ocelot could be made longer and more intense (though it would hopefully stay away from the stuff that Twin Snakes tried).
AVOID THE TWIN SNAKES’ PITFALLS WITH THE MUSIC
Music is yet another area where Metal Gear has always excelled, but that doesn’t mean the series hasn’t stumbled here and there with this. Metal Gear Solid 1 has already been made once with The Twin Snakes, and that, as we all know, was a game with a lot of issues. And the music was definitely one of them. It wasn’t bad per se, but it almost vastly inferior to the original game in almost every way. Any new MGS1 remake would have to make sure that it does justice to the original game’s iconic soundtrack. Striking a balance between remaining faithful to the original and being appropriately modernized can be quite tricky, but that’s exactly what this new hypothetical remake would have to do.
BRING BACK DAVID HAYTER
That David Hayter should take on the starring role of Solid Snake once again if Metal Gear ever comes back is the one thing that every single series fan agrees on- ourselves included. David Hayter’s gravelly portrayal of Snake has become iconic over the years, and any MGS1 remake that doesn’t see him returning to voice the super agent would be incomplete. In fact, we’d say that most of the voice cast needs to come back for a remake to reprise their roles.
If Bluepoint Games are indeed handling the rumoured MGS1 remake, and it it will indeed be exclusive to PlayStation like rumours suggest it will be, it would be weird if the game didn’t support VR. Why? Well, because there’s such an obvious way to add VR support to the game- through the VR Training missions. Of course, the ideal scenario would be the entire game being playable in VR, but if whoever is making the remake decides that’s a bit much, they should still at least consider making the VR Training missions playable in VR.