Sunday, June 30, 2013
Many MGS fans were disappointed when the The Phantom Pain trailer at this year's E3 gave no additional information about its release date. Recent tweets from Kojima about visits to motion-capture studios have suggested, however, that it might be some time before players get their hands on this highly anticipated game.
But just how long will we have to wait? Of course. short of a crystal ball or telepathic access to Kojima's mind, one can only speculate as to the release date of MGSV. That said, I have some fairly good evidence, including leaked info and past patterns, to make a prediction.
First, Kojima has strongly hinted that the Ground Zeroes portion of the game, which he has repeatedly described as a prologue, will be released before The Phantom Pain proper as a kind of introduction to the new gameplay style. He has never actually said this outright, but his constant emphasis on it as prologue and tutorial makes it hard not to read it that way, especially when one considers the past example of MGS2.
For those not familiar with it, the prologue release structure has been used by Kojima in the past to great effect. The highly anticipated MGS 2 was shown to fans at E3 2000, but was not released in full until November 2001. To tide fans over during that long wait, Konami included the Tanker chapter (a prologue to the game proper) as a playable demo with Zone of Enders, which was released in March 2001.
So what could this mean for MGSV? Well, if history is a guide, the fact that we saw the MGSV trailer at E3 2013 might mean that we will get a GZ prologue demo around March 2014. The full game would then be released in November 2014 (which is fiscal year 2015 for Konami).
Interestingly enough, this prediction is corroborated by some recently leaked information. As reported by the Examiner , industry analyst David Gibson tweeted in March this message:
"Konami- MGS5 Phantom Pain wont be out until Fiscal Year ending March 2015!a prologue will come in Fiscal Year Mar/14 to keep interest going."
I contacted Gibson myself about the source of his information, and he informed me that his contact is someone working for Konami.
One last bit to add to this theory is the manner in which we will get access to the GZ prologue demo. To conform to the evidence I've laid out, it would have to be a Konami game that would be released before the end of March 2014. As it turns out, there is just such a game: Castlevania Lord of Shadows 2. At E3, it was announced that the game would be out this winter (which begins in Dec. and ends in March).
So, if history repeats itself, we might find a demo included with the next Castlevania that will give us our first hands-on taste of MGSV to hold us over until the full game comes out in Novemeber 2014.
Here's to waiting!
Thursday, June 27, 2013
The Decoy Octopus Hypothesis--Including Why Keifer Sutherland is Not Big Boss and the Return of David Hayter
Last post I promised to introduce an alternative hypothesis for the body-double theory advanced by pythonselkanHD. To cut to the chase, I think that there is good reason to believe that this body-double is legendary Foxhound operative Decoy Octopus. I believe Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear creator and director) has hinted at this in several ways through coded messages, daring us to see through the deceptions, which I will cover.
But first, as I mentioned in the prior post, pythonselkanHD offers some persuasive evidence for the possibility that the new voice of Snake, i.e., Keifer Sutherland, is not actually Big Boss but someone else impersonating him.
One of the great virtues of this theory is that it clarifies something that has disturbed most MGS fans greatly: the replacement of David Hayter, the iconic voice of Solid Snake and Big Boss, with Keifer Sutherland. MGS fans were up in arms over this decision, baffled as to why Kojima would do such a thing. Many pointed out the switch presents a serious inconsistency for the series' narrative, considering that Hayter voices Big Boss in all MGS games (except MGSIV, where older Big Boss is played by Richard Doyle), including MGS Peace Walker, which takes place right before the prologue of MGSV. Still more confusing, Kojima has kept the Japanese voice actor, Akio Otsuka, from the previous games. Kojima's official reason for doing this is that he wanted an actor that could take full advantage of the face-capturing technology used in MGSV. According to him, the face-capturing will only be done once, so Otsuka's voice will just be dubbed in for the Japanese version of the game as "good enough."
This explanation has never sat right with many MGS fans (myself included). For one, it implies that the Japanese game will be inferior to the English language version. Secondly, Kojima is not actually using Sutherland's likeness for the game, so this raises the question, why couldn't Hayter's voice have been dubbed in after face-capturing just like Otsuka's?
Perhaps the reason why things don't quite make sense is because we haven't been told the whole truth. There is much that is suspicious in what we've been shown and told thus far. Most strikingly, in none of the trailers released to this date have we heard Sutherland voicing Big Boss in the Ground Zeroes segment of MGSV. We have only heard the Japanese voice actor. Conversely, we have yet to hear Otsuka voice Big Boss in any post GZ material. Why is this?
The body double theory explains this in one fell swoop. The reason why we haven't heard Sutherland voice Big Boss in GZ is because he is not Big Boss, but someone else. The reason why Otsuka is still voicing Big Boss is because Big Boss's voice will not change. So when we finally get to hear Big Boss's voice in GZ, it will be the one we already know, i.e., David Hayter.
So who is Kiefer Sutherland voicing? PythonselkanHD hypothesizes that it is Gray Fox. He offers several interesting points of evidence to think this way, and people can watch his videos and judge them for themselves. But I find his idea implausible in the end for a couple of simple reasons.
First, to serve as Big Boss's double, Gray Fox would have to have his arm surgically removed and replaced with a prosthetic one. For me, this is too extreme and bizarre a turn. This is especially true when I consider the most obvious alternative for the doubling mission: Decoy Octopus.
Impersonation is Decoy Octopus's specialty. He routinely undergoes reconstructive surgery to better mimic his targets. He had his ears and nose shaved off to make recreating others' faces easier. He is even willing to have a complete blood transfusion to make his simulation more convincing. For me, these reasons make Decoy the clear choice for serving as Big Boss's double.
There is more behind my reasoning than this, however. Kojima has already given several coded hints that we will be playing Decoy Octopus. The first is the Seiko watch prominently featured in the E3 trailer for MGSV.
Kojima was seriously disappointed that no one noticed him wearing this watch at E3. He went on Twitter to state this as well as tell people more about the timepiece. It turns out is was popular in the 80s, the decade that the Phantom Pain is set. Today it is a veritable collector's item. Why? Because it was worn by James Bond in one of the 007 films. Which film? An infamous one starring Roger Moore (who replaced the original Bond actor Sean Connery). Its title? Octopussy!
In an interview reported by Game Reactor , Kojima made another statement that builds onto this clue. When asked again about his controversial decision to replace David Hayter with Keifer Sutherland, Kojima once again was evasive and said he did not want to elaborate on what he already said during the Konami E3 pre-show. But then he went ahead and compared it to when Roger Moore replaced Sean Connery as James Bond, saying, at least according to the indirect translation given, that it was nothing like that. In other words, Hayter is not being replaced by Sutherland. Rather, he is playing a new role.
Since E3, Kojima has given further hints that point to a body-double in MGSV, involving Star Trek, Richard Matheson, and demonic dogs. I will discuss this and more in my next post.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
In recent days, an intriguing theory regarding MGSV: The Phantom Pain has been advanced by youtube users pythonselkanHD. The video has prompted at least one lengthy counter-response from MGS commentator YongYea. And the debate continues. Just yesterday, pythonselkanHD posted their own counter-counter-response to YongYea.
PythonselkanHD's argument, in brief, is that the "Snake" of the Phantom Pain portion of MGSV that we have seen thus far (the one voiced by Keifer Sutherland) is NOT Big Boss, but rather a body-double, standing in for him. It is this body-double, pythonselkanHD suggests, that we will play as in the Phantom Pain, not Big Boss. Presumably, we will only play as Big Boss in Ground Zeroes prologue of the game, which takes 9 years before the Phantom Pain proper.
PythonselkanHD offers a number of intriguing observations as evidence for this claim. Most notably, they point out that in the Phantom Pain portion of the game, Snake's eyes are green. Big Boss's eyes, on the other hand, have been firmly established as blue in previous installments of the MGS series. It is a detail that Kojima could hardly have overlooked and thus points to something suspicious about this incarnation of Snake. Secondly, they observe that in the GDC 2013 trailer for The Phantom Pain, we clearly hear Keifer Sutherland voicing the bandaged man named Ishmael, who helps Big Boss escape a hospital. This is strange, they point out, because we have been told that Sutherland is the "new" voice of Snake, and we have assumed that this meant Big Boss. But if that were true, then Sutherland would be voicing two characters in the game, Ishmael and Big Boss. This doesn't make much sense, unless one of two things is true: 1) Ishmael is a mental projection of Big Boss's self or 2) Sutherland is the new voice of Snake in the sense that he is not big Boss but another character taking on the codename Snake.
PythonselkanHD further speculates that this new Snake is none other than the legendary member of Foxhound, Gray Fox. Big Boss's most trusted lieutenant. Their evidence for this claim is suggestive, and I encourage readers to view the video themselves, but I won't go into the details of it now.
YongYea's response to pythonselkanHD's theory offers several counter-points to the claims presented by the latter. In general, he adds some much needed skepticism to a number of pythonselkanHD's more fanciful claims. For example, pythonselkanHD point out that Snake is never shown pulling out binoculars when he zooms in on enemies in the E3 trailer. PythonselkanHD use this as evidence that Snakes's eyepatch is actually functioning as a kind of SolidEye. YongYea rightly points out that such abrupt transitions to binocular vision are a well-established part of MGS games, and its presence in Phantom Pain is simply a continuation of that tradition.
On the other hand, YongYea's attempts to debunk the body-double theory itself are weak. The main points of evidence often by pythonselkanHD (which I outlined above), YongYea concedes are strange aspects of the trailers that he can't explain. Furthermore, YongYea tries to dismiss pythonselkan's use of the third person in the opening hospital scene in the GDC trailer for Phantom Pain (the one Miller gestures towards when he asks, "What about him") by showing that Kojima says in an interview that this third person is himself, representing the director's point of view. Knowing Kojima, taking his word at face-value like this is just naive. In my mind, Kojima is more likely playing with words. Keep in mind, right before answering this question, he was wearing his now infamous bandaged-man mask. So yes, the third person is Kojima, aka, the bandaged man, Ishmael.
There is plenty more discussion offered by pythonselkanHD's counter-response to YongYea's counter-response, which I will let readers evaluate for themselves. I will simply say now that I think pythonselkanHD have gone off the deep end with their Vapor Snake theory and need to rein things in a bit.
In my next post, I will build off what has been already advanced regarding the body-double theory and offer an alternative to the Gray Fox and Vapor Snake hypotheses that presents new evidence on the subject.