How the trailers spoiled every plot point of MGSV: Ground Zeroes for me

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Screenshot - Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes

Hideo Kojima knows how to make a trailer. He’s so good at it that he regularly drops 5-10 minute long trailers for his Metal Gear Solid games and they’re almost more thrilling than the games themselves. For Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he’s already released several cinematic and gameplay trailers. The problem? In a game as brief as Ground Zeroes, the trailers stripped nearly every surprise from the game for me.

Take the opening scene, which sets the stage for the mission, introduces Skull Face, and features a phenomenal song selection. That entire scene, note for note, was already released in trailer form. Many games do this, releasing the intro cutscene in its entirety along with the first few minutes of gameplay. That’s not the problem. The problem is that on top of this, nearly every major moments and story beat is cut in to one of the other MGSV trailers.

Spoilers ahead.

I’ve only played enough of Peace Walker to know about Mother Base, Paz, and Chico. Even then, I was able to see Mother Base being destroyed in the trailers, Snake rescuing Miller, and a gruesome scene where someone was getting a bomb pulled out of their gut. I knew going into Ground Zeroes, thanks to the ample preview coverage, that it was a short mission about rescuing Paz and Chico from a base.

Chico being in the intro, I assumed he was my first target. Next thing you know I’m rescuing a scared Chico and, in the commotion, Snake is forced to choke him out. Even here, this brief scene is shown in the trailers for the game.

MGSV: Ground Zeroes

By that point I had my bearings and my memories of the trailers started to come into focus. The trailers are really good and really memorable, and the added context allowed me to conclude that the next scene would involve Snake rescuing Paz, who is shown strung up in trailers and screenshots. And of course, it was.

I escaped with Paz and as I hopped onto the helicopter, I shot down at the base. “I’ve even seen this before,” I thought to myself as a recreated a gameplay trailer instead of playing a fresh experience. It was clear to me that Paz was the one they’d be opening up in search of a bomb.

Ground Zeroes most shocking scene is easily inferred by the trailers. It’s followed by the destruction of Mother Base, another scene I’d already seen and expected. As stunningly crafted as it all was, I was wholly distracted by how I’d constructed it all through pre-release footage ahead of time.

Movie trailers can feel guilty of this issue as well, but as someone who has watched many movies and many movie trailers I can safely say it’s rarely this bad. Usually what feels like the entire plot of the movie is actually skipping over many important details, telling a bizarro version of the story to entice audiences while saving the best stuff for the final film. It can actually be rather brilliant when done right.

MGSV: Ground Zeroes

But Kojima made no such attempt to save “the best stuff” for Ground Zeroes. The final, two-hour (76 minutes for me), $29.99 Metal Gear Solid game lacks any big plot surprises if you’ve been following the pre-release stuff. This is the same series that hid the true main character from players in MGS2 and threw everyone for a loop with Big Boss in MGS3. It is often about hiding surprises, so it’s sad that Ground Zeroes, despite having a few stunning cutscenes, did no such thing.

With The Phantom Pain, I hope Kojima saves some of the good stuff for the game itself. We can already infer so much about what will happen in the game and it isn’t even 2015 yet, MGSV’s supposed release year. I love a good Kojima trailer, but please, please, Konami/Kojima, save something for the final game!

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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