The world is Snake's oyster in the latest installment of "Metal Gear Solid."
While his penchant for hiding in cardboard boxes remains, the cigar-smoking protagonist is no longer confined to slipping through linear levels in "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain," the next edition of Konami's long-running stealth video game series. The open-world adventure is providing players with the power to choose exactly how Snake embarks on his missions.
"Phantom Pain," which is scheduled for release Sept. 1, is essentially a tale of revenge. The game centers on a battered and bruised Snake (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) setting off on horseback to rebuild his private army in Cold War-era Afghanistan.
After recently spending several hours with "Phantom Pain," here are a few of the most dramatic changes coming to the franchise:
Before he's unleashed on the open world, Snake mysteriously awakens in a medical facility after being in a coma for nearly a decade following the events of "Ground Zeroes," a stand-alone prologue released last year. The first chapter focuses on Snake's harrowing pursuit by the series' most supernatural baddies, yet all while he's wearing nothing but a flimsy hospital gown.
CHOOSE OR LOSE
The saga is divided into chapters, each with its own opening and closing credits. However, "Phantom Pain" leaves Snake's strategies mostly up to players to decide, rewarding them for being as sneaky and resourceful as possible. It's possible for Snake to go with guns blazing into enemy territory, but that won't necessarily net him the best upgrades for his bionic arm or base.
ALL ABOUT THAT BASE
"Phantom Pain" is as much about supply management as it is snooping around. Snake can slyly tether balloons to enemies, vehicles, munitions and more in order to send them back to his headquarters, Mother Base. As he collects supplies, his floating enclave will prosper. For example, Snake won't be able to interrogate foes until he's actually recruited an interpreter.
NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC
Apparently, music will play a vital role in "Phantom Pain," which is set in the 1980s. That's evidenced by tunes from such artists as Billy Idol and A-Ha pumping out from boom boxes tucked within bases. Snake can also create his own retro mixtapes. What better way to prepare for combat than to blast David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" on the helicopter ride into battle?
MY BUDDY AND ME
Snake won't totally be alone on the front lines. After securing or recruiting them, he's able to call on such "buddies"—as they're known in the game—as a trained attack dog, mechanized robot walker and assassin sidekick to accomplish his tasks. As with Snake's other equipment, the buddies can be outfitted with stuff like better armor and higher tech weapons.
Explore further: A cosmic snake for Chinese New Year