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Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes revealed by Hideo Kojima at PAX in first footage

"I want to make it clear that Snake is back, but I'm also back."

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Game designer Hideo Kojima attended his first PAX ever today to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear series with fans. In addition to touching on the history of Solid Snake's stealth adventures Kojima debuted footage of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, the next entry in the franchise.

Kojima first talked about the engine that powers Ground Zeroes, the Fox Engine.

"There are a lot of amazing game engines out there — CryEngine, Unreal — but we wanted to get in there and tweak things ourselves," Kojima said through a translator. Kojima Productions wanted to make their game development more efficient, he explained, in terms of creating a cross platform game engine that also supported cloud-based technology.

"You can use it to make an FPS, an adventure game like Uncharted, or something on rails," Kojima said, including an open-world game — which is the genre he's making now.

"A Silent Hill, possibly," he added.

"This is not a tech demo, it's a real game running on the Fox Engine," Kojima assured. The demo was shown running on a PC with specs that were comparable to the PlayStation 3, we were told. The gameplay, Kojima said, would be slightly different than the one shown in Japan earlier this week, with steadier controls, thanks to calmer gameplay demonstrators.

The 15 minute demo opens in a rainy military base, with soldiers patrolling a compound filled with hooded prisoners and guard dogs. Wind and rain whipped through the raincoats on those soldiers. Wind physics, the glisten of rain on rubber, and the animation all looked like a generational leap beyond the Metal Gear Solid games we've seen to date. Those soldiers were highly detailed, accessorized with helmets, backpacks, gloves, and radios. Rain water dripped believably down their faces, curving over cracks and folds.

Those soldiers, their identity a mystery — but clearly disguised to look like Fox soldiers — in the early portion of the demo, rolled by in a convoy that passed by tanks and soldiers on foot. Spotlights and headlights flared on the screen, everything animating in great detail. Their leader, a man with a cowboy hat and a horribly disfigured face lead them toward a helicopter and away from the base. They ripped their Fox patches from their clothes, tossing them from the chopper.

The demo then cuts to Snake, scaling the side of a mountain. Pulling a pair of night vision goggles from his face, he reveals an eyepatch. "Kept you waiting, huh?" he says to the man on the other end of his radio (and to the player).

"I want to make it clear that Snake is back, but I'm also back."

Snake enters the same base to recover Paz and Chico, his targets for this mission. What follows is some traditional gameplay of stealth traversal, with Snake paying close attention to the sweeping of spotlights, trying to avoid being spotted. But this is a "completely open world," Kojima says, offering new freedoms. For example, Snake can steal and pilot vehicles, like helicopters and jeeps.

For now, Snake simply takes out a guard manning a spotlight with a supressor-mounted gun. Then he commandeers a vehicle, driving a jeep toward the base. He's in danger of being spotted, so he quickly backs up — generating laughs from the crowd. Kojima also touched on another new gameplay tactic for Snake, air support.

"You can use a flare to call in a helicopter at any time," Kojima said, offering covering fire if needed. In swooped an attack chopper, complete with a "Flight of the Valkyries" soundtrack. Kojima promises that players can choose which song they want to play when their helicopter flies in.

To end the demo, Snake entered that helicopter and took off from the base, watching from the window as he flew off in the distance. Kojima says the helicopter can be used by Snake to fly to other missions and other countries, a hint at the expanse of the open world of Ground Zeroes.

Following the demo, Kojima said that Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is not necessarily Metal Gear Solid 5. He's not ready to call it that, he said. Instead, Kojima called it a "prologue," leading to speculation that the Snake of Ground Zeroes might be Big Boss.

"One thing I want to make clear is that Ground Zeroes is something I'm making myself," Kojima said, adding that he's focusing all of his energies on Snake's next adventure.

"I want to make it clear that Snake is back, but I'm also back."

The next level of puzzles.

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