Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes – what our experts expect from Big Boss’ latest game

MGS: Ground Zeroes is going to be one of the biggest PS3 games of 2013. But what should you expect from Big Boss’ latest title? Our Metal Gear experts confront the four biggest questions from Hideo Kojima’s newest game.

 

Is MGS: Ground Zeroes one big VR mission?

Dave Meikleham on why Kojima’s latest game could all be a computer simulation

I’ve completed MGS4 14 times. Yes, as in more than 13 and just shy of ‘cart me off in a straitjacket because I’ve taken to calling myself McOcelot’. So the idea that Ground Zeroes might be about to ape Assassin’s Creed and stick its head up its Animus by setting the action inside a virtual reality could be construed as the ravings of an Metal Gear madman. But bear with me.

Firstly, VR missions (for those who don’t know their Liquid Snake from their La-li-lu-le-lo) were a series of virtual reality mini-games in the original MGS. Now that’s cleared up, go watch the 14-minute extended cut of Ground Zeroes’ incredible trailer. If you observe the action with the sort of watchful peepers usually reserved for dudes who hide in bushes with binoculars and a homemade camo suit, you’ll notice strange lights occasionally hover over the screen.

The first set appear when the group of XOF soldiers enter the helicopter, then when Big Boss takes out his holo-map gizmo, and finally as our hero boards his Black Hawk. Look extra closely and they start to resemble the sort of computer code that might emerge from, oh I dunno, a virtually replicated PC program glitching out. Also, each time the code pops up an accompanying computerised-sounding flicker is heard, further suggesting the latest Gear is getting its Matrix on.

It sounds like I’m clutching at all the straws, right? Well there’s more. In MGS canon, VR missions were used as a military training tool that turned a young moaning-faced Raiden into a… um, slightly older moaning-faced git. These combat simulations were designed to transform Raiden into a Solid Snake clone as part of MGS2’s deeply convoluted plot. Throughout Sons Of Liberty, the future ninja continued to prattle on about VR missions being indistinguishable from real combat scenarios.

One of MGS4’s background story strands concerned the rivalry between Big Boss and his former friend Major Zero, who founded those pesky, globe-controlling Patriots. Zero was obsessed with Ivan Eye Patch acting as the icon for his organisation. He was so desperate to perpetuate the legendary soldier’s myth that he ended up cloning his pal’s DNA as part of the Les Enfants Terribles project that created BB’s three serpenty sons, Snake, Liquid and Solidus. If Ground Zeroes was set in the near future, rather than the presumed late ’70s time period, a new group could be trying to mould a fresh icon by forcing a rookie solider to play through some of Big Boss’ toughest assignments as VR missions.

The idea of cherry-picking our hero’s greatest moments could tie into the game’s open-world mechanic. At the game’s demo event, Koj revealed Big Boss would be able to travel to different countries via helicopter. If the latest MGS really was all set in a supercomputer, then globe-trotting in a whirlybird could act like the memory portals that transported Desmond to different cities throughout Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

Still with me? Have a stealthy gold star. Add to all of the above the fact Kojima is a noted Assassin’s fan (he even included an unlockable Altair costume in MGS4) and it’s entirely possible he’s been influenced by Ubisoft’s Neo-aping virtual worlds for Ground Zeroes. That, or I’m simply talking out of my Animus.