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News: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – The Complete Official Guide

Metal Gear made its first appearance on the MSX2 hardware 28 years ago. That was the era of the “shoot ‘em up”, a genre in which you defeat endless waves of enemies through sharp eye-to-hand reflexes. What I wanted to create at that time, though, was not a “shoot ‘em up” but a new type of intelligent, strategic action game, one in which you would sneak into enemy territory alone.

Nowadays, Metal Gear is known as the forerunner to the “stealth” genre. But my original goal was somewhat different. The primary concept was not only to progress in the game undetected; my goal was to design an “infiltration simulator”, in which you penetrate enemy territory alone, constantly having to figure out how to complete your mission and survive – an experience further enhanced by the presence of a plot similar to those of adventure novels.

The problem was that creating a game where each player could freely infiltrate enemy bases was impossible with the technology and hardware available at the time. There was no background loading, and even scrolling the screen was not possible on the MSX2. I therefore introduced the concept of “field of vision” to the game system – a simple algorithm that led enemies to attack as soon as they detect the player. This was a historical moment and the birth of the “stealth” genre.

What I really wanted to accomplish, however, was to offer the player the possibility of “free infiltration”. Stealth is only one aspect of infiltration. In mathematical terms, this might be expressed by the formula: “free infiltration ⊃ stealth”. From that perspective, the original Metal Gear was simply the first step in a much longer process.

Later, the polygon-based Metal Gear Solid on PS1 was the first of the series to offer three-dimensional environments, with a musical score and voice-over. This made it possible to introduce real-time cinematics. Metal Gear Solid 2 was released on PS2 with effects such as rain and wind, further fleshing out the environments required to enable proper infiltration. In Metal Gear Solid 3, the survival aspect was added to the formula, allowing the player to infiltrate different types of terrain, from jungles to buildings. Metal Gear Solid 4 pushed the boundaries further by applying real-time changes to the battlefield. With Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker we introduced the Mother Base, where you manage your own logistical support.

Throughout these 28 years the series has evolved as new technology has become available, although to date all previous games were linear. And so we developed the FOX Engine for Metal Gear Solid V, which made it possible to create an open world. Finally, I could revisit my original concept of “free infiltration” from all those years ago.

The result is a game where you look at your map and wonder: “Which route should I take? How do I reach my objective? At what time of the day? With what equipment? How do I complete this mission? How do I leave the hot zone once I’m done? And how do I run my own base?” Metal Gear Solid V is the culmination of all those “infiltration games” that started with the first in the series.

Metal Gear is also credited as one of the first linear action games with an extensive story and exploration of themes, and this has remained a big part of the entire series. But as Metal Gear Solid V is a “free infiltration” game, the number of cutscenes in missions has been reduced. Rest assured that the total story length is as before; I simply introduced a new narrative style. In this game, you play with a high degree of flexibility, and the story progresses incrementally as you complete missions. If previous installments were each a movie, Metal Gear Solid V is an episodic TV series.

It has taken me 28 years to perfect the formula of combining non-linear infiltration with adventure novel storytelling, and the result is MGSV, a game with unprecedented freedom of action and a new narrative approach. As you can imagine, the astonishing depth and complexity of the full experience begs for an extensive guide. This book is the result of many months of love and labor from our great friends at Piggyback and our team. Enjoy!

Hideo Kojima
Director, Metal Gear Solid V

The Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Official Guide is available now in two different editions in North America, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand:

- The softcover Standard Edition guide includes a map poster covering the immense game area, is printed on high-quality paper, and has 372 packed pages.

- The Collector’s Edition guide is printed on high-quality paper and bound in a premium hard cover. It includes an extra-large map poster as well as an exclusive lithograph by Yoji Shinkawa and is limited to just one print run. The extra 48-page art gallery includes commentaries from the development team.

Test the guide now and download 53 sample pages for free. Click here!