There are people you really just don't want to call on their shit. It's uncomfortable, you know? Confrontational. They don't really want to talk about it. You don't really want to talk about it. But, it's your job--or rather, it's my job--so it's got to be done. At a PS4 review event earlier this week, I had the opportunity to call Hideo Kojima on his shit, and as it would turn out, his shit really doesn't stink as much as I originally thought it might.
I'm talking, of course, about Ground Zeroes, the mangle-messaged prelude to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, currently scheduled for release on current- and next-gen platforms this spring. The speculation shared by many--myself included--was that the $30 add-on amounted to not much more than pre-release DLC. That it was a piece of content that should be included on the full game disc, but instead is being released separately, digitally, to milk consumers of dollars and cents.
However, as Kojima told me, it's less money grab and more wow-we-really-had-no-idea-how-to-go-about-doing-this. See, according to Kojima, the plan for Ground Zeroes was completely different. "There was a time when I thought Ground Zeroes would be on PSP, or PS3, but development-wise it proved to be much tougher than we originally thought, so that isn’t possible," Kojima said, via translator.
"Originally, the plan was completely different," he continued. "We had some time with Metal Gear Rising, as well, so I just wanted to release Ground Zeroes, but then we learned about the next generation. We wanted to release the prologue as well as the main game, Metal Gear Solid V, as a whole at the same time, featuring different elements. But then we had some difficulties and we came to the decision of putting Ground Zeroes out there first."
This one you could probably call a spin, but Kojima also noted that he really wanted folks to be experiencing the newest Metal Gear alongside the launch of the new consoles.
"Ideally we would be releasing [The Phantom Pain] now, but it’s such a huge game that we’re still working on it," he said. "But now all these next-gen platforms are launching, so we wanted to put something out there for the people to try, and that’s why we’re excited to put it out."
So that's about as plain and straight of an answer as you might hope for out of a game executive. Nothing particularly nefarious. Nothing particularly Orwellian. They just...kind of...muddled their way through, found a convenient out, and took it. The fear here, then, is that Kojima's accident is taken up by some savvy salesman, one who decides, you know what?, pre-release DLC should be a thing.
Oh, and for the record, add Kojima's name to the chorus of developers who think it's easy to develop for the PS4.