What the Hell is The Phantom Pain?
Posted by Jaime "Paco" Sifontes
Okay, maybe it’s not worth a “What the Hell is?” but I feel compelled to talk about this recently announced game. People have been talking their heads off about a game that many of us know virtually nothing about. The game became public knowledge after the Spike VGAs and caused mass speculation. However, thats all it is at the moment: speculation. If you want a break down regarding why people think it’s a Metal Gear Solid game, click here. If you want to know more about Moby Dick Studio’s own “Joakim Mogren,” click here. The former is an investigation, while the latter is… we’ll call it speculation for George’s sake. However, beyond this information, the rest is anyone’s guess. How many predictions about this game can we have? Not enough! I have a few theories of my own and I am going to share them with you fine folk.
Theory 1: “The Phantom Pain = Ground Zeros”
This seems to be the most likely candidate at first glance. When you break down the trailers, it is obvious that one has had some influence graphically. This is partly because they are using extremely similar character models and lighting effects. While I, to this day, say Ground Zeroes (which I will now call GZ because I am lazy) looks leaps and bounds better than the “in-game” trailer that the Phantom Pain (which I will call PP, same reason) provided, its obvious to pinpoint the source of their similarity: the new Fox Engine. Kojima has been working on this new engine for years and loves to praise it; he tweets about the engine almost as much as he tweets his lunch. Despite that, from these two trailers, the engine is certainly worth praise. Not to mention the fact that the two games are rumored to be running on current-gen systems; that would make them even more praiseworthy.
However, as each day passes by, it seems less and less likely that this trailer is in anyway attached to GZ, outside of being a Metal Gear Solid game. Look at it this way; why would Kojima go through all this trouble to just promote a game that has already been announced. This type of marketing tactic better serves a game that hasn’t been announced. So if it hasn’t been announced…then what is it? What the hell is The Phantom Pain?! (See what I did there?)
Theory 2: “Metal Gear Solid V: Wait, When Kojima Star Using Roman Numerals?”
Ah yes, the Metal Gear Solid 5 hypothesis. It really is an educated guess considering all signs point to this juggernaut of a title. Well all knee-jerk signs point to that title. I would never rule out the fact that PP is Metal Gear Solid 5, but I will acknowledge the fact that it seems rather obtuse to announce anything about the game so soon. Let face it, prior to this announcement, we were all excited about GZ after that amazing trailer Kojima showed off just a few months ago. What would compel anyone to announce two huge games on current consoles concurrently? Another thing I would add to that argument is what Kojima said regarding GZ.
When asked about his latest game, Kojima stated, “One thing I want to make clear is that Ground Zeroes is something I’m making myself. I want to make it clear that Snake is back, but I’m also back. I’m putting all my effort into that.”
Unless Kojima is putting all his effort into both games at the same time, which I doubt, the concept of MGS 5 having been revealed just a few weeks ago seems more and more improbable. And yes I realize that the PP title leave gaps and lines that form Metal Gear Solid V with some letter filling. But that is also the biggest question in everyones mind: What does that V stand for? At first everyone think it’s the number 5 (V is the roman numeral for 5, as we all probably know), but some have thrown ideas saying it might stand for a character. A new protagonist? Volgin? Vectorman? The possibilities are endless. However, this seems to point to something else in my mind. Granted, it seems extremely unlikely, but hear me out. What if…
Theory 3: “Metal Gear Solid Vita: And then all the readers left…”
I mentioned this earlier, but I have to stress this again: Why would Kojima tease an MGS 5 announcement after Ground Zeroes was shown off? He has been quoted saying GZ is the prequel to MGS 5, so why would he tease the next installment when we know virtually nothing about a huge release like GZ. Companies (especially Konami) don’t splinter two titles of the same franchise in one year. You might say its teasing a next gen announcement, but their is virtually no need to when the next gen titles (or consoles for that matter) aren’t even announced. On top of that, they have a new title like GZ on the horizon. I also recall Kojima advocating how he thinks more can be done with PS3. So if there is already a PS3 title in the works, why would you make two and announce them so close together?
It is quite possible that PP has no ties at all to the PS3 or Xbox 360. (I mention this because the “fake site” has both these consoles attached to PP) When many of us saw the trailer, some pointed out some roughness in the product; some edges were unclean, the hairs on “Snake’s” face were less impressive than that of the Ground Zeroes demo, and it just didn’t scream next gen. Why is this? Well, look at official screen shots from GZ and PP. While the lighting is great and textures seems smooth, I don’t think it holds a candle to Ground Zeroes. The caveat to that is that I don’t know if the Vita can run this kind of tech, but it has only been out a year. Furthermore, I’d argue nobody has scratch the surface of what the little handheld can do. And if someone were to bring out the best in vita, it’s Kojima.
I want to mention those screenshots again.
All the official screenshots for PP were 960×540, while GZ screens were 1280×720 (720p). The native resolution on Vita is 960×544; small difference, but strange.
Since then, new screens were re released at 720p. Why was it 960×540 to begin with? Possibly an error, but it was a rather erroneous one to be frank.
Then there are a few other issues. Kojima loves the Vita, and mentioned his desire to make most his games “transfarrable,” but so far, only MGS HD has done that. Have to imagine that he has another title in mind for this service.
I wont argue the fact that the least amount of money would be made during the present state of the Vita. However, wouldn’t that be something? To hype a game that appears to be current gen, and have it pan out to reveal the PS Vita. That is what Sony wants, and considering it needs a killer app, I think this would more than fit the bill. Currently, the line up PS Vita game for 2013 is rather small, but more will come in time.
Do I think it is a PS Vita title? Maybe.
Personally, I have no standing on what this game becomes. I know I am going to play it, as do most other Metal Gear fans plan to do. However, the talk and hype behind this game is crazy. I just wish Konami would say something soon… Well how about next Thursday (12/20/12) on the Famitsu pages?
If nothing else, Kojima is getting his wish. For some damn reason, none of us will shut up about this game. Myself included. Oh, the power of viral marketing, how powerful you are.
Jaime “Paco” loves to think outside the box, and more often then not, he is wrong. He accepts that, but doesn’t stop his own unorthodox research. He has fun doing it, and hope you had fun reading it. If you wanna keep up with Phantom Pain news, bookmark Analog Addiction! If you contact Paco, hit him up on Twitter @RTBL1990