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    Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,The day Kojima went mad

    This Is Becoming ridiculous. To anyone out there that claims to have seen it coming, you’re a liar. There is no way that anyone could have predicted Hideo Kojima’s big Christmas Day troll the promise of a special Kojima Station screamed of one thing: a release date. Instead, we got a chicken hat and our pal Hideo opening presents. People love to call his supposed genius into question and, to be honest, this time it’s hard not to do the same. In turn, it’s quite hard not to feel like the great Christmas Day reveal was in fact a solid kick in the crotch.

    Still, in lieu of any meaningful announcements the chicken hat does become a little more interesting the more you read into it. Essentially an invisibility cloak, the chicken hat is bestowed upon players that are having a particularly hard time navigating certain portions of the game, allowing you to become invisible to enemy sentries. It seems an odd inclusion in a game primarily based around trying not to be seen, but some people need all the help they can get, right?

    What its inclusion does hint at is the scope of the single-player campaign in The Phantom Pain, and you can infer that if there’s need for what is essentially a noob hat in the game, there are a few new things for people to learn and adapt to this time out. Metal Gear games have never been a walk in the park exactly (and the less said about Revengeance’s difficulty, the better), but there was always the trusty tranquiliser gun to fall back on. The new emphasis on open-world stealth in MGSV will surely bring with it more difficulty. After all, it’s easy to hide behind a wall and watch enemy patterns until you can find a window to leave cover, but if you’re caught short in the middle of the desert it becomes tough to get yourself hidden. There’s always a cardboard box, we suppose.
    Overall, what is becoming abundantly clear now is just how much game there is here. Even with a single-player component that promises to be absolutely huge, MGSV also has Mother Base invasions and Metal Gear Online. It’s not entirely clear how base invasions work yet, although it seems logical that it’ll be an option available to you while you’re running round Afghanistan looking for Kaz in the main game. Once again, it seems likely that you’ll be notified in-game of anyone breaking into your Mother Base and stealing your shit, allowing you to be picked up by helicopter and flown home to protect the fruits of all that crucial time you’ve spent stockpiling livestock using the Fulton Recovery System. Metal Gear Online looks pretty expansive, too, and also enjoyed an exciting reveal late last year.

    But where’s the release date? We can’t remember many games that have encouraged this much hype (The Last Guardian notwithstanding, and guess what, that isn't happening for a long time) while still occupying a wholly enigmatic space in the industry. Kojima won't tell us until he feels like it even Konami doesn't have the power to tell that man when his game needs to be released. Hell, for all we know it might already be out. Pictures have been leaked of the game entering play-testing, and to us that could hint at a summer release, judging by the time it took for MGS4 to appear after testing.

    But with all the mystery comes gossip. Search for The Phantom Pain online and look for the forum posts there’s no end to how many questions surround this game. Eli has to be Liquid Snake, surely? Why is Ocelot being a bit nice? Where the hell is Decoy Octopus? Why is Volgin in it? It’s irresistible the sooner we know, the better, by all accounts. But, at the end of the day, isn’t all this mystery just perfect?  And again, at the end of the day, isn’t it clear that, despite Hideo Kojima’s predilection for the absurd, The Phantom Pain still looks like it could be one of the best games we’ll ever see? At the end of the E3 2014 trailer, Snake says “I’ll always be with you” we can’t help but hope that he hurries it up a bit.

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