Master Collection Is Made With Love

Hideo Kojima hasn’t been a part of the Metal Gear Solid franchise for almost a decade, but his name will forever remain inseparable from the legendary stealth series. He brought tactical espionage action into the mainstream, weaving his obsession with cinema and military technology into myriad masterpieces that constantly pushed video games forward, and made Solid Snake and Big Boss into iconic characters. That, and his name is plastered all over the place, so it’s hard to ever forget he was involved. Even if his name is suspiciously missing from the Master Collection credits…


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To revive them without his guidance was always going to court controversy, with a subset of fans outright refusing to support Konami’s efforts involving the series because the publisher left Kojima out to dry. Konami banished him during a very public break-up that saw Kojima form a new studio and chase his creative ambition anew with Death Stranding. Whether we decide to accept it or not, Metal Gear Solid lives on. Now, a new collection has arrived with the aim of honoring hardened supporters while introducing this seminal work to a generation of new players.

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The Master Collection has attracted much negative attention since its reveal. Konami has revealed that some of the included games – Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater – are capped at 1080p on consoles, despite the hardware it supports being capable of running up to 4K and 120fps. Fans are also understandably worried that this collection will be hastily slapped together in pursuit of a quick profit, instead of harbouring the reverence this series deserves. We already know the latter point is true given the Master Collection includes ports of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection over fresh remasters, meaning you’ll be booting into familiar menus and assets instead of fanciful new versions of these games.

The work was done already though, and these games remain timeless in their visuals and mechanics that such an approach made sense. Besides, Snake Eater is being remade for PS5 anyway, so it’s best not to muddy the waters too much.

Next up is Metal Gear Solid, which for the past two console generations has only ever been available as a PS1 classic on PS3, PSP, and PS Vita. The Legacy Collection, which had all games in the series up to that point in 2013, threw you a download code because there was no other way to experience it on modern hardware at the time. Now, the Master Collection houses an emulated version of the stealth classic with several border options and the choice between region-specific versions from Japan, Europe, and North America. Konami has even included VR Missions and virtual manuals featuring bespoke text and illustrations. The same is true for every game here, with the collection booting you into nice menus complemented by luscious presentation and nostalgic sound effects.

MGS Master Collection

You can adjust language options or boot into specific versions of the game, play around with bonus features, or load into instruction booklets and screenplays featuring every single line of dialogue, codec calls and all. The entire package feels made by and for nerds like me who spent their youth thinking Metal Gear Solid was way smarter than it actually was, buying into its smorgasbord of military jargon and homoerotic tension even if its individual parts often fell short. Decades later, there are no games quite like them, and modern collections like this are so vital in recapturing that history for all to see.

It’s valuable, and the execution of this first volume only has me more excited about the second which is set to port games which have never left their launch platforms before. Multiple versions of Guns of the Patriots, with behind the scenes bonuses or an actual remaster that builds on the forgotten PS3 original would be incredible, and now I’m convinced Konami has the drive to make it happen. It’s worth noting that some aren’t best pleased at Kojima not being name dropped in the collection’s new credits due to his lack of involvement, but he remains present in the existing games, much like he is in the original titles.

MGS Master Collection - Big Boss and The Boss flower field scene

I also appreciate that The Legacy Collection is willing to let old games be old. There hasn’t been an excessive effort to change what many already consider as perfection with updated visuals and controls. While flawed in a modern context, there’s something magical afoot as I jump into Metal Gear Solid in this collection only to see it in all its 4:3 and 30fps glory. The nostalgia goggles remain firmly fitted as we tackle initially tedious controls and endless calls of clumsy, self-indulgent exposition. It grows on you though, and it grew on me decades ago, so to revisit it now as an older, more seasoned adult brings a smile to my face.

Regardless of whether Hideo Kojima has or will ever give this collection his blessing, even a few moments with it is crystal clear proof that those behind it wanted to do justice to a series which for years has now sat on the backburner. Fans never allowed their passion for it to subside, and this is their reward. People like that were involved in its creation, or at least understood what must go into a package like this in order for it to shine. And it does, so bring on the next one.

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