Konami recently announced the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1, headlined by remastered versions of the first three games in the Metal Gear Solid series. Some more details have now emerged about what's going to be in the package and, well, colour me surprised: Konami has made the extremely interesting choice to include the NES game Metal Gear 2: Snake's Revenge.
Why is that interesting? The short version is that this is a big middle finger to series creator Hideo Kojima. Snake's Revenge was the 1990 sequel to Kojima's original Metal Gear, but Kojima wasn't involved in it. Kojima would wrest back control of the series and make his own (excellent) Metal Gear 2 with the subtitle Solid Snake, and subsequent games in the series do not acknowledge Snake's Revenge: Metal Gear 2 at all. Given how self-referential Metal Gear is, Kojima's opinion couldn't be clearer: at GDC in 2009, he half-jokingly called it "crappy".
In fact, the mood music around the Master Collection is slightly worrying, and I say that as a Metal Gear nut. The great fear is we're going to end up with another Silent Hill HD collection: sub-optimal ports with no real quality-of-life improvements: I can't help but be disappointed, for example, that MGS will remain in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Like, this is one of the most important games ever made Konami, and you can't make it widescreen 26 years later?!?
Oh well, at least they're packing a lot in, with the full contents being:
- Metal Gear
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
- Metal Gear Solid (Including VR Missions / Special Missions)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (HD Collection version)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (HD Collection version)
- Metal Gear (NES / Famicom version)
- Snake's Revenge
That's a hell of a lot of top-tier stealth games, and doesn't Konami know it: pre-orders are open now, the collection costs $60, and it releases October 24, 2023. As well as the games it also includes two MGS graphic novels which, take my word for it, are great: they're voiced, dynamically animated digital comics that go through the stories of MGS 1 and 2 and were overseen by the old Kojima Productions.
The collection also includes a host of new written material, which consists of the script for each game and then what Konami's calling a Master Book for each title which consists of art, bios and story descriptions. Included are:
- Metal Gear Solid: Screenplay Book
- Metal Gear Solid: Master Book
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Screenplay Book
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Master Book
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Screenplay Book
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Master Book
- Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2: Screenplay Book
- Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2: Master Book
There's also a soundtrack thrown-in, and pre-orders will receive newly recorded versions of some of the series' big themes (yes, including Snake Eater).
Finally comes the news that the Master Collection won't support keyboard and mouse. Konami launched and then took down the game's Steam page but, for the brief period it was up, it contained this text: "Notice: Metal Gear Solid–Master Collection Version requires a controller in order to play. Playing with a keyboard and mouse isn’t supported."
Take that with a grain of salt because both MGS and MGS2 had old PC ports that did support keyboard and mouse, so it would be extremely unusual for Konami to have stripped these out. I suspect it's more likely that MGS3 will lack it and so Konami's putting the warning up-front, but on this one we'll have to wait and see.
So: completionists rejoice. Konami may want $60 for this, but it is throwing in as much material as it can. Fans of the games should remain cautiously optimistic, and maybe say a little prayer. And for those of us who were hoping this collection might mark some sort of rapprochement between creator and publisher: bad luck.