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The Making Of Metal Gear: part five

Features
18 Mar 2012

In part five of our Metal Gear 25th anniversary celebration we revisit GameCube remake Twin Snakes and detail the making of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The Making Of – Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

The Making Of Metal Gear: part fiveMetal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was released on GameCube around the same time as Snake Eater, and for unfathomable reasons Kojima demanded a retranslation from the original Japanese, despite Blaustein’s sterling work for the PlayStation release. All the dialogue was re-recorded, using most of the original cast (with the exception of Mei Ling). Bringing the cast back was thanks to David Hayter. As he explains: “Well, I have always felt, since the time I was very little, that the voice of any specific character is an extremely important thing. When they changed the voice of Kermit, I knew. When they changed the voice of Bugs Bunny, I felt it. So, when we were talking about re-recording the entire first game for Twin Snakes, I felt it was very important to give the fans of that incredible game a similar experience. I had become a huge fan of the game myself by then, so I just felt it would be good for the gaming experience. Plus, the voice cast we got on MGS was amazing, and they deserved to come back.”

The Making Of – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

After the release of MGS2, and with the looming arrival of Snake Eater at the end of 2004, any studio developing a stealth title had to be aware of the series. While MGS dominated the console market, the PC was known for the Thief series. Randy Smith, designer on the three Thief games, shares his thoughts: “By the time we started development on Thief 3 [released May 2004], it was clear that expanding into the console audience was a step which was overdue. Of course, during development we paid attention to stealth titles. We had a lot of respect for the MGS series’ approach to stealth and carefully considered its feedback system. Ours was more immersive, but theirs was clearer, and to some extent that fits the expectations of PC versus console games. We didn’t feel like it was a competitor exactly; it’s not like people had finite money to spend on stealth titles and would pick just one.”

Scott Youngblood, lead designer on the later Syphon Filter games, explains how MGS undoubtedly affected everyone: “We were aware of the series, as you typically are when you’re in development of a competing title. While we were still working on Syphon Filter 3 we had already begun breaking ground on Omega Strain as well as an early version of a scrapped PS3 title. MGS was always considered competition, but we were able to differentiate Syphon Filter from MGS enough that players often would buy both games.”
The Making Of Metal Gear: part five
As Youngblood elaborates, inspiration and evolution were inevitable: “While both series are stealth in nature, to me MGS always felt a bit more stealthy than Syhpon Filter. We intentionally made ours more run-and-gun to give players a new experience if they had just come from playing an MGS game. Every developer out there draws inspiration from other games. Fresh ideas are rare as companies are unwilling to bet millions of dollars on an unproven idea. That’s why you frequently see games that are evolutions of other games.”

It’s known that Kojima wanted to end the story of Solid Snake with MGS2, and his involvement with the series too, so it’s interesting that Kojima being dragged back for MGS3 resulted not only in a desperately needed return to form, but such a major evolution that many players now claim it as their favourite. Ryan Payton, who was an up-and-coming member of Kojima Productions and host of the studio’s podcast, explains why: “MGS3 is my favourite game of all time. The story is clean and powerful, its characters are masterfully crafted, and the Cold War backdrop is oozing with drama, fun and crazy conspiracy theories. The gameplay is smartly tied to the major theme of the narrative and it is, in my opinion, the greatest-sounding game ever made. The cinematic presentation is unprecedented, and its encouragement of non-lethal methods to progress is revolutionary. I’m disappointed that this idea hasn’t been borrowed by more modern games. In my book, it doesn’t get any better than MGS3.”

MGS3 featured an unprecedented degree of depth which, some argue, has yet to be bettered even by its sequels. Set in 1964, it dropped the technology for a back-to-basics Rambo-esque approach. Camouflaged uniforms and face-paint could be collected and mixed for any environment. Food also needed to be procured, to maintain stamina. There was a dizzying amount to forage, including fruits, mushrooms, insect nests, birds, mammals and, of course, snakes. The best addition, however, had to be Snake’s medical repertoire, where you could even burn leeches off with fresh Cubans.
The Making Of Metal Gear: part five
With fans having such fondness for MGS3, we asked Snake’s voice actor, David Hayter, how much fun it was to record: “You know, working on all of the games has been really, really fun. But as the actors and production crew came back together for each game, it got progressively more fun. MGS3 was just a blast to record. When we recorded the [Ape Escape tie-in] Snake Vs. Monkey sequence, that may have been the first time that I was allowed to be satirically funny in-game with Snake, and that was a relief, after a few years of just being funny in between actual takes. I actually got to say ‘Snake versus Monkey…’ in my trademark growl!”

When MGS3 was later re-released with the Subsistence moniker, as a bonus it included English ports of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 from the MSX – arguably reason alone to buy the package. We asked Hayter if he’d played any of the 2D games in the series: “I’m embarrassed to say, but I have not played those games. I guess I am less motivated when I don’t get to hear myself talk for twenty-some odd hours.”

Part Four
Part Six

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