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The Metal Gear Series Is Ending And That’s Okay
For as many Metal Gear Solid games there are, we’ve heard that the franchise was coming to an end. Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima uttered the vow so often it practically became an afterthought (or maybe even a tradition) whenever a new Metal Gear title was released. This time, however, it seems the Metal Gear franchise may truly come to an end.
After Konami severed its relationship with Kojima, speculation arose about what would become of the Metal Gear series, which the publisher retains the rights to. Last week, Konami announced that, among almost every other major IP it owns, the Metal Gear series will be no more (aside from Metal Gear Online). There have been lamentations and outcries, and many have been calling for Konami to turn the rights for Metal Gear over to another publisher.
I’m here to say they shouldn’t. It has nothing to do with my sentiments toward the Metal Gear series, either. Though it’s been a while since I’ve forayed into a Metal Gear title—something I hope to remedy soon—I can say with confidence I’ve waited for this day for a long time. While Metal Gear Solid was a mind-blowing game for its time and Metal Gear Solid 3 remains one of my favorite games, the convolution that has riddled the overarching story has been nigh disastrous.
The truth of the matter is Kojima had sought to end the series over a decade ago. Whether it was his inability to leave the franchise or pressure from Konami, he never kept his word and we subsequently received an entire subseries of games focusing on Naked Snake’s transformation into Big Boss, as well as a conclusion to Solid Snake’s story with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
Another truth is the series may have best been served by ending after 3 or 4. Sure, we wouldn’t have gotten amazing installments like Peace Walker or the recently-released Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but by the time I got around to 4 the entire story seemed like a thick haze which only the most devoted Metal Gear fans would be able to see through.
Regardless of those opinions, though, the franchise did continue, and as noted, some truly spectacular games have resulted. Had Konami and Kojima remained amicable, I’ve no doubt Metal Gear Solid V would not have been the end of the series—but it is perhaps the best time for the series to finally conclude.
Having not played The Phantom Pain (or Ground Zeroes, for that matter), I cannot attest to whether the story caps off in a satisfying manner or throws another one of Kojima’s off-the-wall curveballs in a post-credits sequence. However, it’s clear from the critical and fan reception that The Phantom Pain is perhaps Metal Gear’s magnum opus. It has received perfect scores or near perfect scores from almost every major publication. You couldn’t ask for a better sendoff for a video game franchise as venerated as Metal Gear.
Without Hideo Kojima at the helm, I do not believe the Metal Gear franchise would be able to thrive or even really maintain the level of intrigue he created. Like Bioshock 2, I expect there would be something missing, resulting in a bland, derivative sequel (or series of sequels). And if, somehow, Konami managed to create an engaging gameplay experience without Kojima’s direction, I’m confident his zany blend of sci-fi and realism would escape the franchise, sapping the essence of what made these games truly remarkable.
As sad as it is, the time has definitely arrived for Metal Gear to take its leave. I for one will enjoy what remains of the series, but bask in the happiness that an amazing saga has finally concluded. And, without a doubt, I am waiting with anticipation to see what Hideo Kojima blows us away with next.