36 years have gone by since Metal Gear was released on an unsuspecting world. The stealth video game was a pioneer of the genre, and became an instant hit. Initially released on the MSX2, Nintendo Entertainment System and Commodore 64, sequels soon appeared for Super Nintendo PlayStation and X-box, and it has become one of the most enduring action adventure franchises of them all.
The game has enjoyed worldwide appeal, but nowhere more so than in Australia. This even led to the introduction of a new character. Slasher Hawk, who appears in Ghost Babel, is an Australian with aboriginal roots, who wields a boomerang-type weapon and is accompanied by a pet hawk named Bunjil, a name taken from Australian folklore.
It’s been eight years since the release of Metal Gear V, and although there have been a couple of spin off games in the meantime, fans across the globe have been impatient for news on as release date for Metal Gear VI. Industry rumors suggest that there might at last be some answers in 2023.
Internal disputes delay the main timeline
Industry insiders point out that the Metal Gear franchise is arguably Konami’s most valuable piece of gaming real estate, so they are not going to simply drop it. The likelihood is high that Metal Gear VI is already well advanced developmentally, and Konami will probably make an announcement in the first half of 2023.
The reason it has taken so long is almost certainly down to the long running dispute between Konami and the game’s original creation Hideo Kojima. We won’t go into the gory details of their split here, but suffice it to say that without Kojima, the Metal Gear franchise was always going to take a different direction. Hence we saw two games that we can certainly describe as non-canon since Metal Gear V. Let’s just take a quick look at them.
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater – not your average casino slot
In another nod to those Australian audiences, Konami dipped a toe into the casino gaming world with Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater. Released in 2016, this pachi slot features beautifully rendered scenes from the main game.
It is not your traditional fantasy-based Aussie pokie like the Game of Thrones or Immortal Romance slots that you might see on the casino sites listed at https://www.casinoaus.net/. Snake Eater is more in the Japanese tradition of pachinko. Although it certainly attracted an audience and a degree of popularity in both the Australian and international markets, it was more appealing to casino audiences than to hardcore Metal Gear Solid gamers.
Metal Gear Survive – in every sense
The 2018 release of Metal Gear Survive was an important step, as it would demonstrate Konami’s ability to keep the franchise alive despite the absence of Hideo Kojima. The game was presented as a spin off from the main canon, and is more of a tower defense game than the stealth genre that the main series represents.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it gave Konami room to take the franchise in a slightly fresh direction and exorcise a few ghosts. Inevitably, the reviews were lukewarm, most influenced by the controversies going on backstage. The majority of the gaming press took Kojima’s side over what it presented as the “corporate giant” and the game was dismissed as generic and lacking in character. Sales figures can best be described as mediocre.
A new dawn for Metal Gear
Five years have gone by since Metal Gear Survive, and if you play it today, you’ll agree that the reviewers could have been more even-handed. The game itself is fine, but was a victim of the politics of the time.
That bodes well for Metal Gear Solid VI. Details of the storyline are under wraps but it is rumored that it will pick up at the end of MGS5 and expand upon the storyline for Phantom Pain. That would certainly be a crowd-pleased for fans who have now been waiting almost a decade, and pleasing loyal fans has to be top of Konami’s agenda right now.
No release date has been confirmed as yet, but Metal Gear Solid VI is likely to appear on shelves in late 2024.