Metal Gear Solid’s iconic red exclamation point, appearing above the heads of suspicious guards when alerted to the player’s presence, almost fell foul of series creator Hideo Kojima’s push for realism in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
In an interview with Famitsu (Japanese only), Kojima suggested that perhaps a giant punctuation mark appearing above the heads of guards wasn’t the most subtle way of expressing their surprise, given the graphics capabilities of modern systems.
Reportedly he was shot down by his team, saying that longtime fans of the series would be in uproar over the small aesthetic change to the game. Kojima had hoped that facial expressions and gestures would be enough to satisfy gamers and, judging by the footage we’ve seen of the game thus far, that would have been perfectly possible. The graphics are photorealistic and having to rely on facial expressions and body language when dealing with the guards, LA Noire-style, would have added an extra layer of tension to what is already looking like a nail-biter of a game. How that would have worked in low-light environments though is unknown.
Given the in-roads the team are making into such realism, it’s difficult not to wonder how far that will go. One thing that makes the series so appealing it just how batshit insane the games are, with mystical baddies and things that just would not be possible in real life. Hopefully it won’t become another ultra-realistic Call of Duty-alike. That said, Kojima did confirm one MGS trope that was never in question – the cardboard box. The lump of cardboard that has so often protected players from the gaze of the guards is definitely making a return to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, for which we can be thankful. Even though, when you think about it you don’t really use it that much.