Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is considered to be one of the best games of all time with its gripping story, incredible boss fights, and haunting ending that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled. A remake from Singapore-based developer Virtuos is seemingly on the way with Konami allegedly licensing out their most iconic franchises. Konami are attempting to make strides in the gaming industry again, but can they be trusted with the Metal Gear franchise?
Released in 2004, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a prequel to Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear franchise and focuses on Naked Snake, the man who would become the villainous Big Boss. The story follows Snake as he navigates a huge jungle while being pitted against his former mentor turned rogue, The Boss. Metal Gear Solid 3 was released to critical acclaim with many praising its story, gameplay enhancements, unique setting, and has since gone on to receive many awards. IGN awarded the game as “best overall action game”, “best story” and “ best new character” in its best of 2004 awards.
Metal Gear Solid 3 has had such a lasting impact that it’s frequently found on lists of the best PS2 games of all time. Following Kojima’s departure from Konami it was long thought that Metal Gear was dead in the water, but a remake of Snake Eater could be just what the franchise needs for a major comeback.
The current gaming landscape is missing a proper stealth title and a new Metal Gear game could easily fill the void. Konami made the best decision they could have by remaking Metal Gear Solid 3, a fan-favourite of the series boasting an impressive 9.2 user score on Metacritic. Considering the story is already written, it’d be a far safer bet to retell the story of Snake Eater rather than potentially tarnish the legacy of the franchise with a new entry. Konami have already dropped the ball in that respect with the release of the dreadful Metal Gear Survive in 2018. Fans are also eager to play as the series’ iconic hero Solid Snake again, but a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 is an excellent jumping on point for new players.
In terms of gameplay, the foundations are already there. Metal Gear Solid V introduced open world exploration to the series and the expansive jungle of Tselinoyarsk in Metal Gear Solid 3 is practically begging to be explored. Compared to Outer Heaven and Shadow Moses, which are far more linear environments in previous games. A remake also provides the opportunity to include new gadgets, vehicles and stealth suits, or a revamped weather system along with the day and night cycles, especially as Metal Gear Solid 3 focuses on survival in the harsh jungle environment as well as stealth.
Metal Gear Solid 3 also boasts some of the best boss fights of the entire series. Throughout the game, Naked Snake is thwarted by The Boss’ Cobra Unit: elite veterans and the best in their fields. One of the original game’s most iconic moments is the boss battle against The End, a centenarian sniper. Players are placed in a tense stand-off against The End in a huge forest area as they wait for a rare opportunity to take him down, or wait for nature to take its course. If you know, you know. Moments like this which were already masterful and cinematic could be taken to a whole new level with a modern remake.
A remake of such a beloved title is a huge undertaking for any studio and publisher, and using the right tools will go a long way. The Fox Engine, introduced in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, took the series to new heights with its open-world gameplay, photo-realism, and seamless transitions between gameplay and cutscenes. A fan was even able to recreate environments from Metal Gear Solid 3 using Fox Engine but it’s likely Konami and Virtuos will not go this route, as by today’s standards the engine is slightly outdated.
Pro Evolution Soccer was the only series to make use of the engine outside of the Metal Gear series, but they’ve since moved on to Unreal Engine 5 to produce their games. With Fox Engine being discontinued, it’s likely a modern-day remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 will be produced using Unreal Engine 5. Elements of the Fox Engine that made Metal Gear Solid V a huge success could be replicated, or even surpassed, with a next-gen ready engine.
The elephant in the room is David Hayter, the iconic voice of Solid Snake and Big Boss. A return to the role at this point seems rather unlikely, but it would go a long way to restoring some good will from fans. In the meantime, maybe they’ll cast Oscar Isaac? That Metal Gear Solid movie is supposedly still happening and Isaac taking on the role of Big Boss in the games and Solid Snake in the movie would be very meta and very Metal Gear.
Despite the endless potential of a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake, Konami and Virtuos have a major uphill battle ahead of them. The release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in 2015 was mired in controversy due to Konami’s very public break up with Kojima, which has gone down as one of the biggest controversies in gaming.
Konami lost a lot of goodwill from fans and well known figures in the industry, adding fuel to the fire by shutting down a fan remake of the original Metal Gear. A remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 could be viewed as a way to make up for past mistakes. It would certainly allow them to reassert themselves in the industry, along with the much rumoured Silent Hill reboot.
However, Konami hasn’t exactly maintained a good track record, with their free-to-play PES reboot eFootball quickly establishing a reputation as the worst-reviewed game ever published on Steam. This is also coupled with the reports that Virtuos is developing the MGS 3 reboot, the studio responsible for Nintendo Switch ports of Bioshock, XCOM 2 and Dark Souls Remastered. To their credit, they’ve also supported development of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Shadow of The Tomb Raider, but have yet to produce an AAA title of their own.
It may not be the wisest move to entrust such a high profile project to a dev team still finding their feet in the industry. Konami has a reputation for outsourcing their IPs to dev teams who are simply not up to task — look no further than the later games in the Silent Hill series. If the Metal Gear series gets the same treatment, it might be hard for the publisher to bounce back. The mixture of Konami’s current reputation and output of games, along with an inexperienced studio, doesn’t bode well for a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3.
For what it’s worth, remaking a Metal Gear game or producing a new entry without Kojima isn’t impossible. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was a remake of the original Metal Gear Solid developed by Silicon Knights for GameCube. The remake was fairly well received with fans and critics praising the enhanced graphics, gameplay and story additions. Platinum Games’ spin-off Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was also a huge hit and endures to this day without major involvement from Kojima.
Remakes are all the rage these days and despite a lot of factors going against it, I desperately want a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake to be good, to slip into that sneak suit one more time, and for the franchise to have a major comeback. Konami and Virtuous have a huge undertaking ahead of them and are standing on the shoulders of giants. Such a high profile project of this magnitude could be make or break for both developer and publisher.
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