The biggest and most controversial Metal Gear news stories of 2013

2013 – A Year in Review

The year is almost over. And what a year it has been! Looking back, it’s hard to believe how much has transpired during 2013. Here is a countdown of the five biggest, most controversial Metal Gear related news stories of the past year.

The tumultuous road of MGSV’s Next Gen versions

Hideo-Kojima-London-2013-Steve-Key-Ground-Zeroes-Premium 

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes was originally announced for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. But given the fact that next gen consoles were already around the corner, many people were hoping for and expecting a release for the new systems as well. For a while, Kojima didn’t want to deny or confirm the existence of these versions, until E3 2013. However, it was in an interview in Dubai, as early as January 21st, that Kojima first hinted at the possibility.

After that, it was quiet for a long while until just before E3. On June 7, after Konami’s pre-E3 show, GTTV published an interview with Hideo Kojima, hosted by Geoff Keighley. During this interview Kojima once again hinted at next gen releases, but this time it seemed pretty much a given that they would be announced at the E3 show.

One last unexpected thing though, was that the first confirmation of the next gen versions was not at Sony’s E3 conference, but at Microsoft’s, announcing the game for the Xbox One on June 10. The day after, the game was also confirmed for PlayStation 4, and on June 14 Kojima talked for the first time about the differences between the various generations.

Now that the next-gen versions had been announced, people were disappointed to learn that the game would release in physical and digital form for 360 and PS3, but only as a digital release for PS4 and XB1. At least outside of Japan, because the Japanese did get not just one, but several physical versions on the PlayStation 4. A petition was initiated and European brand manager Steven Key began lobbying for a western disc release. Finally, on December 10, Konami confirmed retail versions for the next generation systems. But now, a new discussion was born, that of the missing Kaz on the western cover art. In an earlier interview, Kojima already stated he might have to remove Kaz due to the fact that he isn’t as well known in the west (Peace Walker didn’t sell too well). On December 23rd, he commented on this decision again. But there was also some good news: apparently the retail versions will feature some kind of bonus content.

Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain – two parts or one whole?

Metal-Gear-Solid-V-The-Phantom-Pain-Hideo-Kojima-Interview-GTTV-June-7

On March 27, during the Game Developers Conference, it was finally confirmed that Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain were both part of the same thing: Kojima’s new game Metal Gear Solid V. However, this was not the end of the confusion and unclarity. For months, Konami and Kojima Productions were not clear on the distribution method of both projects. Was it going to be one game, made up of two parts? Or two separate releases? And if so, were they both going to release on all platforms? Digital distribution or retails releases? These kinds of questions were at the forefront of the discussion for weeks in succession.

The reason Konami didn’t want to announce their plans, probably was because they simply had not decided yet. But on November 4, Konami finally provided clarity: Ground Zeroes was going to be released as its own game. On December 9, Konami announced the precise release dates. Ground Zeroes will serve as a prologue for players to get into the story and get used to the new open world style. Kojima compared it to the first 15 minutes of a movie, before the title screen. As such, it will be releasing at a lower price. Kojima also explained he initially wasn’t planning to do these separate releases, but The Phantom Pain is such an ambitious project (according to Kojima about 300 times larger than Ground Zeroes) that it will take a while before it’s released, and having unveiled the game as early as August 2012, he felt people needed something to hold them over. Will it be enough to justify its price? Well, that’s for everyone to decide, but according to Kojima Productions, it will offer quite a bit of gameplay if you try to complete it. 

The Quiet Controversy

MGSV-Character-Model-Quiet-Picture

On September 4, Kojima announced he was going to release the full character model of MGSV’s female character Quiet (to help cosplayers out), and teased a snippet in advance. Two days later the full character was revealed. This was the spark for an enormous and ever growing firestorm of controversy. Game developers and journalists expressed their shock and disagreement to the character design, much to Kojima’s dismay. Kojima, and even Quiet’s actress herself (Stefanie Joosten) assured the public that there is a reason for Quiet to look the way she does, but it obviously can’t be revealed yet. Kojima later stated that he feels it was probably a mistake to reveal Quiet like this.

The Elusive Joakim Mogren

Joakim-Mogren

There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about this crazy PR stunt: the so-called ‘Joakim Mogren‘ was presumably the head of Swedish studio Moby Dick, developing their first game ‘The Phantom Pain’. The conspiracy theories were through the roof: people thought it was Cliff Bleszinski and gaming community NeoGAF was split into two: a considerable part actually believed Joakim (anagram for Kojima) Mogren wasn’t a real person but a CG face rendered by the Fox Engine (Team Real versus Team CG). In the end, it was all a ruse: Mogren was nothing more than an actor hired by Konami and Kojima wanted to see how the public would respond to the Fox Engine if they didn’t know he was behind it. But it turned out people figured it out far more quickly then was anticipated.

Kiefer Sutherland is the new Snake

Kiefer-Sutherland-Snake-Mocap

The choice to replace David Hayter as the voice of Big Boss by actor Kiefer Sutherland will probably enter the history books of gaming as one of the most controversial decisions ever made. The reason this was done was because with this new game, the studio will make heavy use of facial capture in stead of words as a means to convey emotions. For this subtle performance, Kojima had to look for a professional actor, whereas Hayter is more of a traditional voice actor.

Hell brook loose as soon as the word got out. While Hayter himself happily threw more oil on the fire with suggestive tweets, a petition to bring him back for the role was signed by thousands, people were bombarding Metal Gear’s official Facebook page for weeks and Hayter became one of the top trending topics on Twitter the day the news broke, ending up even higher than MGSV itself.

In the weeks before their E3 press conference, Konami started hyping the official announcement of the new actor for Snake. Of course many people already suspected it was Kiefer Sutherland – his voice could be heard in the trailer for The Phantom Pain -, but that didn’t stop Konami from dedicating pretty much the entire Metal Gear segment of their show to this decision. Needless to say the discussion didn’t stop, and still really hasn’t.

So, it’s safe to conclude that regardless of the fact if you agree or disagree with some of the decisions made during this game’s development so far, we can all agree on one thing: it hasn’t been boring. Let’s see if 2014 can top this.

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  • Super Anonymous II

    dont forget the gameplay changes like regen health, two weapon limit, optional bullet time and tagging replacing radar

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

      when did he confirm two weapon limit?

      • Super Anonymous II

        Check the gameplay trailers. You’re allowed two guns and two types of grenades (lethal/non-lethal) on the D-pad.

        • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

          Ok, I will, but I’m pretty sure since Ground Zeroes will obviously be made up of more than the mission itself called Ground Zeroes, overtime perhaps as he finds more weapons he can hold more, and if it turns it is only two, perhaps since it’s the prologue to The Phantom Pain, TPP will allow him to carry more weapons since time will have passed for there to be advances in holsters and weapon compartments. Two weapons is too fishy for MGS.

          • Super Anonymous II

            That’s what I’m saying. I hope Kojima regains some sense and retains what made MGS so fun to begin with. The regen health and two weapon limit combined just make me think of Call of Duty, which is not what Metal Gear is about. Here’s hoping for radar too for those of us uninterested in tagging.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            Yes exactly.

          • Guest
          • William of Orange

            Maybe there are suits that allow you to store three weapons, like the battle suit in pw.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            Hope so.

          • Super Anonymous II

            That’s what I’m saying. I hope Kojima regains some sense and retains what made MGS so fun to begin with. The regen health and two weapon limit combined just make me think of Call of Duty, which is not what Metal Gear is about. Here’s hoping for radar too for those of us uninterested in tagging.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            Yeah, that’s what I hope too. The regen health and two weapon limit also turns me off, and I hope in future Metal Gear games Kojima drops it or at least gives the option to turn it off or so. It would be cool it Kojima made radar a hidden item in the environment you find and then can use on succeeding missions there afterwards instead of completely leaving it out, as the tagging isn’t my style either. Let’s hope in the months up to Ground Zeroes release, Kojima reveals more about the items Snake will have this time around and anything else he didn’t cover yet.

        • Rekt

          THERE IS NO 2 WEAPONS LIMIT

          Look at the trailers again, the small menu is most likely a quick-slot deal.

          It’s pretty obvious in the daytime demo, Big Boss wields 2 assault rifles, a sniper, and Tranq gun at the same time.

    • as

      regen health?my goos i miss this part where ration only a savior

  • Janeo

    I really don’t know why people were upset over quiets look its not like she is there just to be perved in by the guys Kojima makes the strongest women characters I know of. Are people still upset over sutherland I’m fine with it now and I only still see a few people going crazy over this

    • DarkCerberus

      Im fine with Sutherland as Big Boss, I think he fits the role. But Solid Snake should be done by David, even if he isn’t very well known for his acting. They should give him a go before replacing him without any notice. Thats what I hated most about the whole thing, the fact they didn’t tell him.

      • Janeo

        I a completely agree but people are blaming Kojima for not telling and I don’t think that’s fair since its not kojimas job. Kojima did say a while ago that he may bring solid snake back so I really think hayter should still voice him and hope he does

        • PrinceHeir

          agree, i don’t know why people are blaming Kojima on this.

          he’s NOT the one who handles the english voice acting department. in fact David Hayter himself already mentioned he wasn’t contacted by Konami US and he himself had the contact them.

          when a company doesn’t contact you at all, that’s just mean they have already moved on with other projects without you.

          i don’t know what David Hayter is complaining about. sure it sucks that your role for 15 years is done and they didn’t contacted you, but that’s just the way the VA industry works.

          lots of VA’s get dropped for the new ones.

          case in point(which is ironic)

          Akio Otsuka, who is Snake’s JPN VA. his role for Batou(since 1995) for Ghost in the Shell has been replaced by a new one in the new series Ghost in the Shell ARISE.

          he has been doing the role for more than 15+ years yet he didn’t complained since he knows that’s just the way the industry works.

          same with Tanaka Atsuko as Major in Ghost in the Shell series. though Maaya Sakomoto did voiced a young child of her in the first movie.

          or with the upcoming JoJo Stardust(Part 3) Anime. the PS3 game all star battle had most of the main characters from part 1-8 voiced already. yet the Part 3 anime uses different voice actors of Joseph Joestar, Kakyoin, Avdol etc

          at least Dio and Jotaro retains the current VA from the game.

          in any case that’s just how the industry is. yeah it sucks, but the company decides on if they want to use a new VA or not.

          that’s why the japanese VA are greatfull every time they reprises their role. they always mentioned on the interviews that they are glad to reprise a role for a long time. especially if it’s more than 5 years since their last role.

  • PrinceHeir

    it’s a shame that Project Ogre was basically MGSV even though back when he mentioned it last 2011 it wasn’t going to be an MGS game.

    as for Snake being Keifer Sutherland, you can pretty much blame David Hayter himself for fueling the fire even more. instead of waiting for confirmation, he basically trolled everyone thinking he’ll be back. especially tweets like “my throat is getting rough” or something like that.

    and please don’t even think he’ll return as a young Solid Snake if he makes an appearance in the game(Phantom Pain). you’ll just end up disappointing yourselves like you did with Kiefer. the voice actor will be pretty much a kid or in his early teens so don’t expect him to return at all.

    Konami and Kojima is pretty much done with the guy. he’s pretty much on his downfall ever since MGS3-4.

    i found it funny how people label him as a top VA. when he only did one voice role and did an okay job on it. here’s no where near top 20 with the likes of Troy Baker, Nolan North, Steve Blum, Ratrick Seitz, Robin Atkin Downes, Crispin Freeman, D.C Douglas, Roger Craig Smith etc.

    Kiefer is good, but i need to hear him more before making any judgement. kinda wish Steve Blum should have voiced the English Snake. he already has experienced as Wolverine in the comics and games so he could do the so called “raspy” voice that David Hayter thinks he could only do.

    • Janeo

      The fact that hayter only voiced snake is what made snakes voice great and unique it wasn’t a voice you hear in like every game. Guys like Troy baker and nolan north are amazing but I hear there voice to often I see Troy baker as Yamato from naruto and north as drake but I hear there voices so many places and it’s kind of annoying. I’m fine with Sutherland taking over but I will say hayter has done some of the best voice acting I have ever heard

    • William of Orange

      I think his downfall started with PW and kojima might’ve been disappointed with David’s mediocre performance.

      • RoderickThe13

        I agree. My theory is that he does a better job when he doesn’t have to force his voice portraying an older Snake. In MGS specially he was great.

        • William of Orange

          You mean mgs 1? Yeah, that’s David’s best performance in the entire mg saga.
          (although I believe he had alot of fun with mgs 3 portraying naked snake)

      • Shrekt

        If they wanted a better VA, then why does Kiefer sound like he’s on some kind of sedative for all his lines?

        “SHE SUVAIF?”
        “KEPTUWATNHEH?”

        • William of Orange

          I agree, I hope he doesn’t go over the top with his performance.
          (snake strangling an enemy sentrie) WHERISKASS!!??
          Sentrie:wow, take it easy! What are trying to tell me?
          Snake: ISWERTOGOT, IFYUDONTELLMUHWERKASSIS!!

        • Super Anonymous II

          Yeah it was a terrible casting.

    • DarkCerberus

      He wont be in MGSV as a young SS, thats pretty obvious. A 13 year old with a voice like that? not gonna happen.

      Snakes voice is unique, and if a guy like Steve Blum (who is a very good VA in other games) took over, it just wouldn’t work. He would be too recognizable, he already does Zadornov in PW and Gene in MPO, and he just wouldn’t fit the role imo.

      David has been in a few other titles, Star Wars The Old Republic and most recently Republique, to name a few.

      By the way…your forgetting Jennifer Hale on your VA list…

      • William of Orange

        Why does everyone assume that a 13 year old solid snake is in this game?
        It wouldn’t make any sense, he’s training and he’s in military school.
        Liquid speaks Arabic fluently and stated in mgs 1: “in the middle east, we don’t hunt foxes, we hunt jackals and instead of using foxhounds, we use royal harriers!”

        • PrinceHeir

          i agree.

          that’s why he could be a teen or Kojima might make a time skip towards the end of the game where we see him training at fouxhound. or even a child.

          but i think Kojima made a mistake on putting the Les Enfant terrible project after Peace Walker.

          it should have happened when Big Boss got severely hurt after Ground Zero and wakes up in Phantom Pain only to learn they have gotten a sample of him when he was in a coma for the test subjects of the brothers.

          that would have been better instead of the project just so happened out of nowhere.

          and they STILL haven’t revealed to why Solid Snake has a bandanna that is similar to Big Boss. i hope Big Boss gives his Bandanna from The Boss to Snake as initiation for passing the foxhound training camp as one of the elites.

          • William of Orange

            And I agree with you, yet the les enfants terribles project started in 1972. There was another big mistake in pw that really bugs me. It’s when you encounter Cecile for the first time. They start the conversation in french. “What’s the problem”,you might ask?
            In mgs 3, Sokolov compliments snake on his Russian although they “spoke” English the entire time. It’s a Hollywood thing, I guess. Sure, there was a codec conversation between otacon and snake in mgs 4 about the amount of languages snake fluently spoke, but this was a “optional” conversation. In PW, Kojima starts to contradict his own work.

          • PrinceHeir

            oh well.

            though i do think this shows that Kojima hasn’t planned MGSV that far ahead.

            but we will have to see ^^

          • William of Orange

            I do have my doubts about the last part of your comment. I guess that it’s symbolic that bigboss passes the “torch” on to the next generation,but that bandanna is way too old.
            But maybe bigboss inaugurates David as Solid Snake in the epilogue of mgs v.

          • PrinceHeir

            as long as they explain the bandanna part.

            seriously don’t tell me Snake just find a cloth lying on his and he begins to wear it :

          • William of Orange

            Sure, but it would be interesting if we see snake getting inspired by big boss ( similar to meryl wearing a fox-hound tattoo in mgs 1) and wears a bandanna. But in mg1, solid snake was a Grenada veteran before he joined fox-hound. So we’ll see if that’s still canon or not. You know what would be awsome? After the credits, the logo appears and you hear big boss sparring with solid snake. Big boss defeats him and compliments snake for his excellent performance and hands him the bandanna. BB walks away and David (who is exhausted at the moment) yells at him: “why are you giving me this?” and BB freezes for a moment and says:” I’m a reminiscent of the old times and so is the person who wore this before me. feel free to wear it, but I didn’t give you this as a momento of me.
            It’s a momento of the paths its previous owners took and it’s up to you to decide what kind of decisions you make to create your own path.”
            “thank you, sir!” (Snake salutes Big Boss)
            Big boss smiles and walks away.

    • Nyxus

      Actually I think MGS4 is one of is best performances. I also don’t think they dropped Hayter because they didn’t think he’s good anymore. It’s just that they wanted to do something new with the new technologies they are using for this game (facial capture).

      • PrinceHeir

        disagree.

        for someone who hasn’t watched any trailers other than the one where Snake hid with the watermelons in the opening. his voiced really felt forced and tries too hard to sound like an old man.

        i even questioned if this was the same guy that voiced the old games. he sounds like someones pulling a rope out of his throat.

        what’s even worse is he even use the same voice in Peace Walker.

        he’s really good in MGS1-MGS2 then MGS3 came and i already knew he couldn’t do a natural middle age man.

        as i play the newer games, the english voice of Snake keeps disappearing to me, he soon became like an Avatar where the player is there to control a character and not Snake himself.

        Akio Otsuka is different though, he seems to be improving in each game. and MGS4 is my role from him, especially towards the end with his conversation with his real life father as Big Boss.

        David Hayter can still improve if he actually attends a school for acting or at least gets some heavy advice from known VA like Crispin Freeman, Troy Baker, Travis Willingham and the like.

        I’m really excited for Kiefer Sutherland, let us see if Kojima really does take this whole Snake without words approach. let’s see if he can really bring Snake’s character to life with limited voice and more on body language and etc.

        • Nyxus

          I think he did really well. He’s not supposed to sound natural (and he never did, really), he’s not just a regular old guy. He’s a clone experiment who is aging rapidly, and his body is pretty much falling apart. I think Hayter captures that very well with his voice. Also, the way he delivers is lines in general, aside from the broken voice, was really well done if you ask me.

          • PrinceHeir

            it depends though.

            i think the Fox virus is a latent virus. meaning you don’t know that the virus is inside of you and how it affects you.

            i don’t mind the coughing when the virus starts to get worse, but when he recovers from it, he still speaks with that ill voice, even in normal conversations.

            if you compare it to the JPN version. Akio Otsuka sounds tired and beat up, which is how Solid Snake is supposed to be since he’s been fighting this battle both physicall and mentally for oh so long.

            it’s hard to understand someone who sounds like he’s smoking and speaking at the same time(as much as Snake is a smoker)

            some scenes he did a good job, but mostly when i played it i asked myself what did they do to his voice? it was already good in MGS2 and MGS3(despite the weird laughs he makes) so what happened?

            if someone wants to hear someone of old age speaking naturally, then look no further than Big Boss english VA Richard Doyle. he really did a fantastic job portrayaing an old battered age Big Boss(even though i know him as the Fury)

            though it would have been nice if Big Boss was voiced by Solidus Snake in MGS4. both are virtually identical and his english VA is already menacing as it is.

          • Nyxus

            Yeah, I liked Richard Doyle a lot as Big Boss in MGS4.

  • Ricardo Oe

    Cool…

  • Akiba

    The amount of fuckery in this comment section is appalling. Idiots, complete idiots.

    • William of Orange

      I’m glad that someone took it upon himself to adress this. Seriously, what did you expected?

      • Janeo

        What’s wrong with the comment section anyway

        • William of Orange

          Beats me. You’re asking the wrong guy.
          I guess that the posted comments are completely idiotic or in other words: we’re full of crap.

  • CrazyGuy207

    Not related, but how badass will this be?

    • William of Orange

      How about a hd remake of metal gear1 with a top down perspective?
      Exclusively on Vita!

      • Olguin

        my reaction

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    The Joakim Mogren was big but tbt wasn’t controversial; what Kojima did with that was pure genius. Everything else; debatable.

  • Jonny2x4

    The backlash over Quiet’s wardrobe was one of the dumbest “controversy” ever. It’s just sexually repressed white knights looking to prove their cred to the pseudo feminist crowd.

    As for Sutherland replacing Hayter, it didn’t really affect me that much. I was exposed to the Japanese version of MGS first and always saw Hayter as a dub actor, a fact that most casual MGS fans tend to neglect. Still, you have to be pretty naive if you think Kojima cast Sutherland to make Big Boss’ voice more distinct from Solid Snake, rather than having outright replace Hayter as Snake, period. After all, he was promoted as the “new voice of Snake”, not “the new voice of Big Boss.”

  • Sighhhhh

    SO it’s basically third person cod with a few stealth features in?

    • Janeo

      No it’s a metal gear game with better shooting mechanics eventhough you won’t have to kill a single enemy throughout the game if you try.

  • PrinceHeir

    Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to Nyxus and everyone at MetalGearInformer!!

    surprised you didn’t make a post on both events :)

    i expect a great year of MGS in 2014, while the series had me exhausted for quite some time. i’m willing to rejuvenate myself once i played Ground Zeroes and see if Kojima still has it takes to impressed someone.

    of course i want ZOE3, Snatcher X Policenautes or even Silent Hill from him, but i’ll wait for him to finish MGSV and hopefully he move on to these projects ^^

    so yeah Happy New Year again to Nyxus and everyone here! let’s have a wonderful New Year in 2014 ^^

    http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/249/9/8/metal_gear_solid_5__ground_zero_wallpaper_by_heroakemi-d5dqwei.jpg

    • Janeo

      I feel very differently from you I’m not exhausted from this series at all I could play this series forever. Unlike a lot of metal gear fans I’m fine if Kojima leaves the series in other hands if he wants to move on to other projects but I hope they don’t stop making mgs. I have heard game journalist say Kojima could move onto to something more interesting but in my opinion metal gear games are the best video games out there so when Kojima does stop directing them I hope he leaves them in good hands.

      • PrinceHeir

        the only reason i want him to move on because he has a lot of potential to become one of the legends like Miyamoto, Sakaguichi, Mikami and the like.

        he’s getting there, but he’s not there yet.

        i’m not saying to stop MGS completely. but rather take a break, do other projects like Zone of the Enders 3 already, it’s been waaaay overdue, it’s been 10 years now since the 2nd game ended.

        or Snatcher X Policenauts with Suda51 and 5pb, what ever happened to the deal they made years ago?

        or even a Silent Hill game would be great, he could produce the game and get the Silent Hill 3 director(Akira Yamaoka) to direct the game and piece the game together.

        or even a new IP.

        i have a feeling if he do something new, he’ll probably get excited attach to the new project. it’ll open his eyes a bit on what he could do on different genres. then he could even use this experience and apply it for the next MGS game.

        he’ll go nowhere if he’s stuck to MGS. he’ll still be revered as one of the Japan’s finest, but he won’t be able to maximize his true potential and later down the road he might regret it in his older years(Kojima is in his 50s now!).

        • Zero

          This! I agree and hope he leave the series after MGSV:TPP and focus on other projects as you mentioned. He can leave the series to his young talented teams in japan and Los angeles. I would respect kojima’s decision if he wants to leave and i’m sure mgs will be move on too in a different way but still awesome!

          • William of Orange

            Okay, here’s the deal. He should do a remake of mg1&2 and a mgs installment that focuses on the boss in WW2 and multiple installments about the entire struggle to obtain the philosophers legacy. I know, he’ll be retired by the time this might happen, but still.
            I btw agree with prince heir about Kojima’s possible legacy.

        • William of Orange

          I believe he talked about the possibility of directing silent hill before. He believes that he wouldn’t bring justice to the silent hill series, because he doesn’t know how to write a horror story.And silent hill is not your average survival-horror serie (I never played it, though)

        • Janeo

          I think he already is a legend but it would be great for him to prove he can do more then mgs and I will certainly play whatever he makes. I feel like Kojima will make some kind of rpg with deep choices either set in ancient times or in the future with mechs. He already has the video game life time achievement award thing but he must have so many ideas in his mind. I know he has had something for a long time which is why he has always wanted to leave mgs but I guess he just loves the series to much to leave.

    • Nyxus

      Thank you! Happy new year to you as well, a little late but I was away, which is also why the site wasn’t updated.

  • Mymissingsneakingsuit

    Comments are good but when the director have to answer to critics how the game should be might end up ruining the game itself . Remember mgs 1 when we were awed by superb storyline with no limitations even breaking the habit of how ps one game should be like? Thats mr Hideo kojima for u.