Over the last few years, Metal Gear fans had started coming to terms with the fact that in all likelihood, the series was dead forever- or if not forever, at least a very, very long time. The one-two punch of series creator Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami and Konami’s own shifting business priorities made it incredibly unlikely that there would be a new mainline Metal Gear Solid game anytime soon. Recent developments, however, have give fans hope that things might go a little differently.
Rumours of a Metal Gear Solid revival have been floating around for some time now, with many developer names being bandied about as potential candidates for a supposed remake or collection of remakes. Reports have indicated that Konami is willing to license out some of its biggest properties – including Metal Gear – to external developers, which is something that Konami itself has hinted at as well. The fact that series veteran David Hayter, known as the voice of Solid Snake and Big Boss, also seems to buy into these reports has only made them seem more credible, while Konami has suggested that it’s at work on a number of major projects, adding more fuel to the fire.
But while many have assumed that this means a sequel of Metal Gear Solid 1 is in the works, a recent report by VGC suggested that that’s not the case. According to that report, it’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and not the first game, that’s getting the ground-up remake treatment, with Singapore-based port and remaster specialist studio Virtuos supposedly leading development. Not long afterward, it was discovered that the LinkedIn page of one Zhiyang Li, who was Lead Software Engineer at Virtuos until June 2019, also said that at the studio, he worked on an unannounced AAA remake of an action-adventure game.
And as I’m sure most Metal Gear fans would agree, that’s a far better choice for a remake for a number of reasons. Obviously, the original Metal Gear Solid is a much older game, and many might argue that it’s in greater need of a modernization than Snake Eater, but the context of the situation this series finds itself in makes MGS3 a much better choice for a game being remade. And that’s not just because it’s the first game in the series’ chronology (though that helps, of course).
The biggest reason is that, honestly, a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake would be a far less risky proposition, and risk is the last thing this franchise needs right now. A remake of Metal Gear Solid 1 would be forced to diverge from its source material quite a bit, primarily because the original game is a pretty short experience, and a hypothetical remake being just 5-6 hours long in today’s day and age just wouldn’t fly with most people. Any developer remaking that game would have to expand upon it and add new gameplay and story content, which, as I mentioned earlier, would be a huge risk (which, incidentally, is why a flat-out new mainline entry in the series probably isn’t something Konami is thinking of just yet either).
Metal Gear Solid 1’s legacy is monumental, and people hold that game in very high regard (rightly so), so messing with that experience or with that story with additions that may or may not work out seems like an unnecessary risk. Metal Gear is in a place where its comeback, no matter what form that takes, will already be under intense pressure and scrutiny, especially with so many people wondering if there would even be a point in bringing the series back and Kojima isn’t there to steer the ship. That, of course, means that when the series does come back, it will need to be that much more exceptional in order to win over fans and firmly establish the fact that this series still has quite a bit of life left in it, still has a lot to offer.
That, in turn, means that Konami and whoever is developing the next Metal Gear game will be looking at surer shots of that level of success- for which a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake seems like the perfect fit. Of course, by its very nature, that, too, is a risky proposition (basically any new Metal Gear game will be a risk at this point), but doing a ground-up remake of 15-20 hour game will give the developers the license to stick to the script and focus on modernizing it rather than adding to it and expanding it.
And there’s the fact that Metal Gear Solid 3’s gameplay lends itself very well to what could potentially be an exciting, ambitious remake. While it’ll be better for a hypothetical remake to not deviate too much from the original where the story is concerned, the potential in expanding upon its gameplay systems is exciting. We don’t know whether this remake (if it does exist, that is) will use the Fox Engine or if Konami has just completely given up on this toolkit by now, but either way, if it attempts to expand the series’ stealth gameplay formula similar to how The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes did it, it could do some really interesting things within the framework that MGS3 provides.
From larger levels to a greater focus on exploration to, most importantly, a much greater emphasis on systemic stealth than most other games in the series (with all the survival elements and camouflage systems and what you), Metal Gear Solid 3 was already a game with surprising mechanical complexity when it came out. Expanding on those ideas in a remake that emphasizes emergent gameplay and perhaps even opens things up even more for a more open world-eque approach could work out very well for a remake.
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not like a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake won’t have a lot to prove either. The original is widely regarded as one of the best stealth games ever made, one of the best Metal Gear games ever made, and just one of the best games ever made, period- remaking a game with that kind of a legacy is never easy no matter what approach a developer takes. Then again, the risk here is very much worth the reward, if things go the way they hopefully should. Of course, it’s possible that an MGS3 remake ends up being a rather faithful 1:1 recreation in order to minimize that risk we’ve been talking about, and a whole contingent of Metal Gear fans would probably be very happy with something like that. But if Virtuos – or whoever is working on this remake, if this remake does indeed exist – can deliver that same story in an experience with much more expanded gameplay and actually do it right, they might end up bringing the series back in the best way possible. Here’s hoping.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.