Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is the culmination of nearly 28 years’ work for it’s creator, Hideo Kojima. When Konami started whitewashing his name and games from their stables, players were less than thrilled. It’s resulted in several shenanigans, but now with the release of The Phantom Pain, fans can rest easy.
In addition to his name appearing almost a dozen times in various forms in the opening hour of the game, Konami has posted a Debriefing video wherein they spend ten or so minutes lauding the outgoing designer as he says goodbye to the series that’s defined him across three console generations.
However, I think the video’s special for the section at the end. Kojima visits the family of Metal Gear fan Sean Paul Gillespie who unfortunately passed away of cancer in February of this year. Sean sent an email to the team which was clearly inspiring at a rough time of development, and the team have dedicated the video to his memory.
I think it’s touching, but it also comes across as just a bit crass – they don’t actually mention the parents’ names at all, for example, and there’s awkward handing over Phantom Pain copies to the family. Though I’m sure it’s not intentional, it just feels a bit off. Compare it to 2K Sports, for example, who reproduced a fan as a selectable player in NBA2K15.
That said, the video shows a room full of Metal Gear memorabilia: clearly the series meant a lot to Sean, and it took on increased significance in his latter days when his physical condition deteriorated, according to his mother. It underlines the deep emotional impact games can have both for players, creators and the narrow gap that often separates them.
“I’m sorry it took so long,” killed me though.