The Fitzgerald Scale – Why the Metal Gear Franchise Will Be Lucky to “Survive” the Latest Game in the Series

So chances are you’ve heard the news that Konami are going to be releasing the first Metal Gear game since Hideo Kojima finally dug his way out of the coffee pod of Konami Towers with a plastic spoon and successfully made his bid for freedom. But, if you haven’t yet heard, I’m guessing you’re interested in finding out what Konami have decided to do with one of its most valuable and popular franchises?

I’m sure you’re wondering whether Konami have brought in a new team of people who love the series and want to create the next chapter in the labyrinthine and detailed story of the franchise? That they’ve listened to people who were unhappy with MGS V‘s abrupt ending and would like a chance to provide a more satisfying storytelling experience?

Well, in a word, the answer to that would be “no”.

In two words, it would be “Hell no”.

In three words, it would be “Oh, God no”.

In four words it would be “Sweet, merciful FUCK no”.

Err, I think you get the picture…

Because rather than take an exciting and interesting new take on a popular franchise, Konami have instead decided to just use said popular franchise to sell a co-op survival zombie game because we haven’t got enough of THOSE, right? I can totally see a demand in a market place for fighting zombie Metal Gear robots while not being able to play as any of the game’s more popular characters. That right there is money!

But fear not, Konami say that the game will have “stealth” in it, which differentiates it from most other survival zombie games, as in this one you’ll have to make sure the zombies don’t see you. Err, hang on, isn’t that most survival zombie games? Now, I’ve never been in a real Zombie Apocalypse (unless you count that away day I spent at Norwich last season), but even a mere layman such as myself would have enough smarts to realise that the best way to not be eaten by a zombie would be to not be seen by a zombie. Just a hunch, of course. Those of you who spend most weekends slicing up the un-dead in shopping malls with a katana can feel free to correct me whenever you feel like it.

The game itself is due to take place in an “alternate timeline” created by “unexplained wormholes”. I assume these wormholes are “unexplained” mostly due to the fact that Konami can’t be fucked to come up with a reason to explain them, which would fit in with most of the slapdash shittery the company seems to get up to on a daily basis.

I think we’re all used to Konami twirling their evil moustaches and tying their game franchises to rail tracks by now, but this one actually surprised me. I thought even Konami wouldn’t be so openly brazen as to do something so outlandishly lazy as this. Because this is lazy. Really, REALLY lazy. It couldn’t be any lazier if it were a Snorlax and a sloth using a golf cart to drive from one end of the kitchen to the other.

And I think it’s the laziness that bothers me more than anything. I wouldn’t have cared so much if Konami had announced a real MGS game and it’d looked horrendous in every way, because at least it would have been an actual original idea. That’s what I’m annoyed by here. If you try something original and it’s bad, at least you had the nous and the genuine creative spark to give something new a go. Konami haven’t even got that to defend themselves with. They’ve essentially decided to make the same game every one and his dog is making and have just slapped the MGS name on it as a cynical way to milk the franchise. Metal Gear doesn’t just deserve better, gaming as a whole deserves better.

People often get on my back for tearing into Konami while seemingly giving companies like EA and Ubisoft a pass. And yes, EA and Ubisoft are hardly bastions of benevolence, that I will certainly grant you. But, as bad as they can sometimes be, they aren’t even close to Konami. Think about that, Konami are so thoroughly disgusting that they’ve made EA the GOOD GUYS!!!

And the worst thing about all of this is that Metal Gear never used to be afraid to be different. I’ll never forget playing the first Metal Gear Solid game on the PlayStation. I remember loading up the first area of the game and practising the controls. I realised I had a grapple move and some kicks. “Cool” I thought, “let’s go kick some booty!”. So I ran up to the first guard and let off a barrage of punches, expecting him to fall to the ground prostrate. But no, the guard eyed me up like I was some kind of simpleton and shot me square in the bonce with a ruddy big machine gun. Two of his mates then came over and shot me to pieces as well. I’d been playing for all of a minute and was already as dead as the Dodo.

That moment has always stuck with me because it was one heck of a culture shock and highlighted that this wasn’t going to be like most games. Then Psycho Mantis switched my TV off, and I lost what was left of my marbles. But that fight is a core example of the zaniness and bare faced insanity that Kojima presented when he was behind the wheel. Yes, the man is nuttier than a bowl of Pecans balanced ever so slightly on a jar of Nutella that is being held by Paul Nuttall while he wears a chestnut coloured suit, but good gracious did he often land more than he missed. For every Quiet there was a Boss, and Kojima created some truly memorable gaming moments that still stand out to this day whether they worked or not.

Metal Gear Survive is a cynical cash in attempt that makes literally no effort to hide its disagreeableness. A game idea contrived by executives in a board room, wanting to milk the MGS name without any comprehension as to what made the MGS series popular in the first place. This game isn’t what people feared, it may even be worse. It’s a celebration of laziness, from an obstinate bunch of charlatans, and if the series “survives” this disaster, it’ll be a miracle.

Thanks for reading

The Urban Dictionary defines “The Fitzgerald Scale” as “A scale used to measure the awkwardness of a situation. The Fitzgerald Scale is divided into ten subunits, called ‘Geralds’. Each Gerald is in turn divided into ten Subgeralds, which gives 100 possible levels of awkwardness. One Gerald is a commonly awkward level, where a ten Gerald situation would be a scarring event.”

Man, the atmosphere of that party was off the Fitzgerald Scale when we decided to leave

I’ll be back to more traditional fare next week with Issue #18 of “Rings of Saturn”.

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