Can Metal Gear Survive Without Kojima?
Fans have been vocal in their dismay over Konami’s treatment of Kojima and their other properties, so the announcement of Metal Gear Survive was always going to be met with scorn. It didn’t help the concept of the game revolved around soldiers being sucked into a wormhole and forced to do combat with zombie-style creatures.
It didn’t particularly look or feel like Metal Gear Solid, and the backlash to the first trailer in August 2016 was swift. Now the game is finally out, the overall reaction is mixed. Common complaints focus on the how Metal Gear Survive is essentially a mod of The Phantom Pain and recycles all its assets from that title. The generic zombie enemies and sheer tedium of the early sections have also been singled out, though some reviewers claim if players stick with it, there’s fun to be had. Survive is also retailing for a reduced price, reflecting its spin-off status.
It appears Konami can’t help whipping up controversy, especially in light of news that if players wish to create a new save slot without deleting their present character, they’ll be charged $10 to do so. While the game has its defenders, praise for Metal Gear Survive is lukewarm at its hottest. Perhaps fearing a vocal fan backlash Konami did little to promote it prior to release - which the sales reflect. The game debuted at a disappointing number 6 in the UK, which was down 85% from the last spin-off Revengeance. It then plummeted to 17 on the chart in its second week; the game isn't doing so hot on Steam either.
So the question is, what happens next for the series following Metal Gear Survive? Given the venom the title attracted, Konami will likely leave the franchise alone for now. Another game would want to be something very special, but it would take nothing short of Kojima’s return to soothe fan fears. That’s unlikely for two reasons; the scorched earth breakup between the creator and Konami, and Kojima’s desire to move on to other projects.
Kojima is hard at work on Death Stranding, an original title reteaming him with Silent Hills collaborators Guillmero del Toro and Norman Reedus. In typical Kojima fashion, the game is shrouded in mystery, though it certainly carries his flair for the outlandish. In spite of the bust-up during its development, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is still considered a fantastic game, and Kojima is likely content to end his run on a strong note.
While Konami has stated their commitment to continuing their other franchises, that hasn’t been reflected in reality. The last Silent Hill console game was released 2012, and since Silent Hills' cancellation there’s no sign of a new entry. Castlevania hasn’t had a new title since 2014, though the recent Netflix series drew acclaim; season two is arriving summer 2018. Outside of the Pro Evolution Soccer games, the company’s future is very much focused on mobile gaming. A Metal Gear Solid movie is in development by director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island), though it doesn’t have a cast or release date set.
So, is Metal Gear Survive the last game in the franchise? For now, sadly, it appears it could be. Money talks and frankly Konami's focus on mobile games has really paid off for them. Survive won't be any kind of blockbuster, and given the company’s treatment of their other properties, they’ll be in no rush to prioritise an expensive sequel. With no creative vision or driving force behind the scenes, maybe it's for the best to end on The Phantom Pain. That's the completion of Kojima's vision for the series, and its doubtful fans want to see it continue with titles like Metal Gear Survive, and become a literal zombie of itself.