Invent

Unpacking The Box


Thanks to GamePitches.com, we’ve got our hands on the original design document for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, written by Hideo Kojima. Or is that Metal Gear Solid III?


Indeed, one of the first bullet points made in the document is that, “Instead of proceeding on to MGS2, as one might expect, we are making MGS3. The question in peoples’ minds, ‘Why is it 3 and not 2?’ will have a big impact,” with the Roman numerals symbolising the three tallest skyscrapers in the game’s setting – Manhattan.

There are a whole bunch of gems in this one which we’ve pulled out below. Download the design document and have a read through yourself!

Snake. In a box. As he is wont to be.

  • Raiden was created as a means of appealing to female players. Kojima writes, “With Raiden… instead of Snake, as the main character, we will have a character in which women can more easily empathize. He is the antithesis of the older, hard-boiled image of Snake.” This is closely followed by the quote, ”The 21st century will be the age of women, when women will protect men”.
  • The developers opted to refrain from pushing the graphical fidelity of Sons of Liberty to the PlayStation 2′s limit, in order to have features like dead bodies remaining on-screen, which “will force players to rethink the way they play the game, as they will have to hide a soldier’s body after they have been taken down. This will increase the tension of the stealth aspect of the game.”
  • “Displaying enemies’ and the main character’s shadows in real-time will add a new method of detection to the game. With the introduction of complete shadow rendering, the stealth aspect of the game will become even more realistic.” It’s been a while since I’ve played Sons of Liberty, but as far as I recall, shadows didn’t affect detection (whether hiding in them, or your own shadow being cast alerting enemy soldiers).
  • Kojima wanted to add an analogue element to the enemies’ senses, with their sight deteriorating in the dark and being unable to hear as well in loud areas like an engine room. He also intended to “add a sense of smell depending on the location and certain conditions as well.”

My personality! It's melting!

  • A running theme is the intent to give each individual guard a name and unique personality. The former was accomplished with the dog tag system, but the latter… not so much. The developers even wanted to injured soldiers be taken away to a medical room, returning to the game field after a set period of time – complete with a bandage texture depending upon where you shot them.
  • “Otacon could be likened to 007’s M. He develops new sneaking suits and equipment for Snake.”
  • The “Big Shell” plant was originally named “Big Blue Apple”. Both names are still silly.
  • The design document states an intent to let players enter first-person view during cutscenes – but this would not be implemented until Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
  • There are details for something called “Mantis Mode”, unlocked by obtaining an item called “Mantis’ Mask” (yes, that’s Psycho Mantis we’re talking about). If equipped, it would allow the player to read the truth in a character’s mind. As Kojima intended the game’s story to be one where everyone betrays someone, and everyone is hiding a secret, the mask essentially functions as a “WTF is going on” item.
  • There was going to be multiplayer. A two-player versus mode, to be specific. “Players can either fight each other or play a hide-and-seek type game,” the document reads. “An examination of successful titles in America makes it clear that this an essential mode for this type of game.”

Daniel Hindes

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