Tim Tan Huynh

V has come to

31 Aug 2015Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will finally be in stores tomorrow. I think I'll buy a PS3 copy on its launch day, but in any case, the game marks the apparent end of my favorite series, period.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid 5 is the first game in the series that uses Roman numbering in its logo. The “V” on the cover resembles the exclamation marks that have been staples of the games.

For other people, it’s Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or, nowadays, Game of Thrones. For me, it’s Metal Gear. I’ve been obsessed with these games and their universe for the past 14 years. My level of obsession has varied over this period, in a predictable and inversely proportional relationship to my age. In other words, I’ve become less interested as I’ve gotten older. One constant has remained, though.

Metal Gear Solid for the original PlayStation inspired me to design, build, and write a basic web page that led to a web site, which became popular among fans. I played the much-hyped Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty a couple of months later over the Christmas holiday with a friend. The sequel inspired me to keep reading and writing about its world and the real world. The series motivated me to learn web coding and Photoshop editing.

The anticipation for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was exciting too, partly because it was a prequel starring the series villain and partly because I was all-in as a fan. Ironically, I shut down my fan site during this time and then as the launch approached, I avoided all online information until I finally played the game several months later. I bought a PS2 from a friend, the same friend who had loaned me a PS2 to play MGS2.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots by comparison had less hype, in my view. By this time, the web in general was more sophisticated; hastily-built fan sites via free-hosting services were rare. I watched all of the official E3 trailers per tradition, but I avoided everything else about the game. I finally played the game two months after launch while visiting relatives. MGS4 was suitable as the series finale, as intended.

However, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was released two years later and, at the time, exclusively for the PSP handheld. As another prequel, a so-called interquel, it added to the Metal Gear mythos. Then, a few years later, there was the confusion about Metal Gear Solid V until MGSV: Ground Zeroes was established as the standalone prologue to MGSV: The Phantom Pain. Both are prequels to the original Metal Gear released in 1987.

I bought a used copy of Ground Zeroes several months after its launch; like a lot of people, I was disappointed by its initial price. That disappointment is in the past: The Phantom Pain is now almost upon us. Unless it’s another silly publicity stunt, like the Moby Dick Studios charade, the apparent business-divorce between Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima and developer-publisher Konami seems real.

There might be future games with the Metal Gear brand, but if Kojima goes, then so goes the true series.

I’m going to buy a PS4 and a PS4 copy, eventually, but I feel compelled to play it on my PS3. Regardless of the console, I’m sure that the game will be intuitive to play and its cutscenes will be captivating to watch. Besides these things, the one constant about the Metal Gear series for me, after all of these years, is that it has inspired me to do intellectually demanding tasks—analysis, researching, and writing—on my own and share it on the web.

I have tried to catalogue the series lore, to ultimatley publish it online, but with my obsessive-perfectionist nature, I eventually abandon the project because it would take at least a couple of years to complete. This time will be different; I’ll focus on a small project and then add others however and whenever I see fit. My main goal is to showcase my skills, but I also want to keep Metal Gear alive and repay Kojima for 14 years of inspiration.