Last week Hideo Kojima said that he’d like to see a developer use the new FOX engine to remake the original Metal Gear Solid for next-gen consoles. To this I say ‘NO!’. Now let me set the ground rules here. Metal Gear Solid is a masterpiece. It’s one of the most important landmarks in gaming and one of the original Playstation’s best games. I’m not down on the game. What I am down on is people constantly trying to rehash the same old thing over and over again. I can’t figure why they do it… Money probably, but that’s not the point.
Games, more than most other types of media, are very much of their time. They’re technology based, meaning that they date very quickly (it’s also why they’re one of the few mediums where sequels are usually better than the originals). If you look at Metal Gear Solid it’s groundbreaking because of what it did for it’s time, not necessarily for what it is. It was one of the first games that had completely mastered videos, and fully acted dialogue, making for a truly cinematic experience. It also featured a lot of grey corridors, and a confined setting. If you look at the footage that’s been shown off for the new Metal Gear Solid 5, it’s all about wide-open spaces where you are able to tackle the situation as you see fit. In other words, the industry has changed a lot since MGS was first released.
Another thing to note is that MGS has already been remade once, as ‘The Twin Snakes’ on GameCube. TTS took all of the new gameplay enhancements found in MGS2 (first-person aiming, hanging off ledges, dragging bodies etc) to refine the experience of the original. It’s a great game, but is also as advanced as MGS needs to be. Just let it exist in it’s time as one of the PS1’s great titles.
A good example of a remake is a game I’m actually not that fussed on. Ocarina of Time. When Nintendo remade OoT for the 3DS, it opted to not make it as visually stunning as it could be with the hardware but instead to make the game look like the developers originally wanted when setting out to make the game for the N64. When I played it on 3DS (the only time I’ve played OoT) I was stunned by how visually impressive the game was, not in terms of detail, but in art-style, and that will never date. Also by making the game a handheld game, Nintendo didn’t need to completely change the formula, as it was impressive enough that a handheld device running off a battery was playing a full N64 game. They let the game be what it always wanted to be, which is what, arguably, TTS is for MGS.
If a remake does happen, MGS will still be the same game but one a console 3 gens later than it was designed for. It will feel old and dated, with level design that will qualify for a bus pass. Let’s leave MGS alone and remember it for what it is, a ground breaking masterpiece, not as a dated has-been.