I can consider no higher match for an immersive VR expertise than Metal Gear Solid, a online game collection that’s so typically about simulations, distinguishing fact from falsehood, and literal digital actuality. Now, because of an impressed modder who’s an expensive fan of the video games, you possibly can expertise the primary three primary areas of 1998’s Metal Gear Solid (and some different enjoyable surprises) in VR your self.
The “Metal Gear Solid mod,” created by modder Holydh, marries the type and aesthetics of the primary MGS journey with the extremely technical, very realistic-feeling physics and superior digital physique simulation of standard VR sport Boneworks. Whereas proper now Holydh’s mod solely recreates the sport’s first three areas, it’s a really potent proof of idea for a way cool it’d be to expertise Metal Gear Solid in actual VR.
It’s match, too. Video games have by no means fairly been the identical since Metal Gear Solid hit the unique PlayStation in 1998. Whereas its groundbreaking stealth gameplay developed out of two earlier 2D entries for the MSX 2 laptop, Metal Gear Solid broadened the collection’ storytelling and themes simply as a lot. What seemed to be a regular Hollywood-inspired spy thriller gave approach to a winding narrative about fact, deception, genetics, superior expertise, and authorities conspiracies.
Because it occurs, VR is each a staple of its world and gameplay, with Metal Gear Solid and its many sequels permitting gamers to coach in simulated “VR” environments that echo what you expertise in the principle video games. These maps provide a concentrated expertise of Metal Gear Solid’s stealthy gameplay loop, difficult you with time trials set in stylized visible representations of what it would appear like “inside” a pc. VR can be typically referred to within the precise narratives, the place it’s the topic of debate regarding its results on an individual’s sense of actuality.
Metal Gear’s celebrated director, Hideo Kojima, has additionally been recognized to regularly toy with participant expectations. When selling Metal Gear Solid V, he went as far as to rent an actor to play a pretend sport developer who supplied weird interviews representing a fictitious sport studio. MGSV, by the best way, then proceeded to make you query the very idea of “id.” If there’s a collection that goals to make you query actuality, it’s Metal Gear Solid.
Enter Holydh’s “Metal Gear Solid Mod” for Boneworks, a VR sport recognized for its fairly subtle physics and a really Portal-esque narrative vibe woven all through its marketing campaign and general presentation. Like Metal Gear Solid, Boneworks additionally performs with themes of digital actuality and experiments being run by manipulators past your speedy understanding, so whereas the VR title affords a wealthy bodily palette of sport mechanics to romp round Metal Gear Solid’s Shadow Moses Island, it’s thematically resonant in that Boneworks’ personal narrative additionally provides approach to suspicion about what’s occurring within the surroundings round you.
After taking part in with this mod till very late within the night final night time, I’ll let you know that I nonetheless have chills from what I skilled. It felt surreal to maneuver across the opening maps of Metal Gear Solid with my very own physique in first-person, full with the unique graphical presentation principally intact. The environments of the primary MGS are burned into my mind from taking part in it numerous occasions as a teenager. However the apparent novelty of sneaking round vents and corners, moving into gun battles with genome troopers, and staring up on the towering Metal Gear Rex (it’s parked within the mod’s “museum” space) was all the time underscored in my thoughts by literal quotes from the video games themselves about actuality and simulated environments, and the place society would possibly go as soon as this expertise is subtle sufficient to idiot us.
I’ll simply let a quote from the character Eva in 2008’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Weapons of the Patriots underscore every little thing right here:
These days, anybody with a pc can get fight coaching. The FPS video games these youngsters love are distributed without cost by these firms. After all, it’s all simply digital coaching. It’s really easy for them to get absorbed by these warfare video games. And earlier than they comprehend it, they’re within the PMCs holding actual weapons. These children find yourself combating in proxy wars that don’t have anything to do with their very own lives. They assume it’s cool to battle like this. They assume that fight is life. They don’t want a motive to battle. In any case, for them it’s solely a sport.
Talking with Kotaku, Holydh described the expertise of creating a VR mod based mostly on a collection that’s so typically involved with expertise manipulating our sense of actuality as “superior and scary on the similar time.” Holydh’s first publicity to Kojima’s stealth collection was via 1998’s Metal Gear Solid, which nonetheless stays his favourite entry. “I play video games kinda like I learn books,” he mentioned, “to simply immerse myself in an environment. And VR is simply unbelievable for that.”
The nuts and bolts of this mod itself are made with unique code, however Holydh describes the work as constructing off of the efforts of passionate modders and digital archaeologists who’ve combed via the unique sport to carry these environments to life like by no means earlier than. That work goes again for greater than a decade, Holydh mentioned. “I’m just like the little man on the enormous’s shoulder. … I met [fellow Metal Gear Solid modder Vapor_Cephalopod] and obtained into the precise creation of my mod a bit greater than a 12 months in the past. However I started working severely on it solely on the finish of final 12 months.” He added that the mod has change into an “superior passion” that he works on practically each day.
The selection to recreate areas from Metal Gear Solid is a little bit spooky contemplating that the sport’s speedy sequel, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, reveals that the occasions of the primary sport have been sampled and simulated to assist practice its primary character. MGS2 protagonist Raiden states that he roughly “performed” via the occasions of MGS as part of his VR fight coaching. MGS2 referring to the precise sport that you might have performed your self as a attainable simulation is only one of its many fourth-wall-breaking moments. Taking part in this VR recreation of Shadow Moses Island, then, feels oddly like one thing that’s mentioned to exist within the fiction of the collection itself.
Strolling round in Metal Gear Solid’s Shadow Moses in VR feels profoundly related to the revelations of Metal Gear Solid 2, and that wasn’t misplaced on Holydh. The mod is usually a ardour venture for him that’s permitting him and others to leap into considered one of gaming’s most generally celebrated environments, however he thinks in regards to the “meta” of his work typically. In a way his VR mod is sort of a glue that binds the primary sport to the second.
“I give it some thought every so often,” he mentioned. “I’m form of closing the loop.”
For all of the cerebral journeys that this mod evokes, it’s nonetheless not a whole sport. You want Boneworks itself, and also you’ll should undergo a little bit of a mod set up labyrinth to get every little thing operating. This is the reason, other than including extra playable areas, Holydh is hoping to repackage his mod as a standalone expertise. Because the venture at present stands, nevertheless, a little bit of persistence will probably be essential to get every little thing working.
As soon as it’s all sorted, you spawn into the very room the place Solid Snake battled Psycho Mantis. Right here you possibly can select between warping to the beginning of the traditional marketing campaign or coming into a “museum” displaying varied recreated property from the sport, together with Metal Gear Rex and plenty of character fashions and objects. There’s even a recreation of the sport’s opening submarine space, which usually is simply ever seen via a cutscene. Having the ability to stand up shut and private with such traditional characters and environments is a pleasure.
When you’ve taken a tour, choosing “Marketing campaign” triggers the room’s secret door, which in the principle sport led you to the showdown with Sniper Wolf. Right here it warps you to the opening stage of the sport, the place Snake first touched down on Shadow Moses.
For now, the one playable areas are the opening crate/elevator space, the outside helipad, and the dual-level inside tank hangar. You should utilize the elevators, discover weapons and ammo across the maps, sneak previous cameras and guards, and interact in gun battles with a SOCOM pistol, suppressed for sneaking or unmuzzled for full quantity and chaos.
Wonky enemy AI, in addition to the trickiness of navigating sure areas (I’ll seemingly have nightmares now of falling to my loss of life from ladders related to Metal Gear Rex), hold the Boneworks “Metal Gear Solid mod” from feeling like a full sport. There’s some enjoyable discovery to the environments although. It’s been difficult to get each time, however you possibly can wack enemies over the pinnacle to knock them out, or presumably even kind of strangle them? I’m not sure about that final. Between the loving consideration to element and the narrative resonance this enjoyable expertise has with the actual video games, it appears like an genuine Metal Gear expertise.
Right here I’m, standing in areas that aren’t actual, although my mind feels as if they’ve some form of actuality to them. How can I not consider Snake’s remark to Raiden that VR can toy along with your sense of actuality? How can I not consider the numerous occasions the Metal Gear video games have questioned why I discover simulated gun battles, violence, and loss of life enjoyable? Is it as a result of I get pleasure from all of the killing? Is that why?
Whereas this mod definitely doesn’t have the reply to these questions, it does lead me down the rabbit holes of riddles and meta views for which Metal Gear Solid is well-loved. The primary collection’ final entry got here seven years in the past, and its future is unsure at finest. I’d given up hope that I may as soon as extra expertise these traditional mind teasers the collection loves to tug, however this VR mod obtained me there in a method that I don’t assume a more recent, official sport really may. For all of the discuss of “metaverses” and ways in which we’re making an attempt to imbue which means to digital worlds and objects, the Boneworks “Metal Gear Solid mod” exhibits that such a factor is feasible, if not a little bit terrifying.