Interview: MGSV Community Manager

With the launch of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain this week, I got a chance to pick the brain of the MGS Community Manager, Robert Peeler. We talk stealth, Mother Base, and much more!

On Stealth…

Q: How do you feel about the Stealth genre as of late, with most of the big franchises opting for a stealth/action hybrid?

A: With MGSV, the team incorporated an action element to add some more options and player choice when dealing with situations that could potentially call for both modes of play. For Metal Gear it represents an evolution that let’s newcomers enter the series and genre with fresh perspectives, and use this opportunity to perhaps learn more about stealth gameplay that before was unfamiliar territory.

Q: Do you feel there is a good blend between the stealth and action elements in TPP?

A: The heart of Metal Gear is stealth gameplay and it’s just as rewarding as ever. However, what’s most true for TPP than any other game in the series is a design that allows for players to tackle a mission any way they prefer, this includes using weapons and strategies that call for high intensity action.

Q: There are a lot of different gameplay mechanic working together in TPP (stealth, open-world, action, RPG, etc.) do you feel like this is one of the most ambitious stealth games ever made?

A: The team worked very hard at making sure all these mechanics work together and have a cohesive purpose. Likewise, within this new open world is a strong story woven tightly into a narrative that follows the players actions and avoids unnecessary linearity. This isn’t just an ambitious stealth game, it’s an ambitious Metal Gear.

On the Mother Base…

Q: The Mother Base in Peace Walker was one of my favorite aspects in any Metal Gear. Was it an easy decision to fully flesh it out for TPP?

A: With a game as large as The Phantom Pain, a resource management system like the one in Peace Walker doesn’t just make story sense, but also allows players a lot more freedom to plan their next move. More than anything, it’s fun to be able to finally see this system brought into full scale. The team created a feature that lets players finally see what it feels like to have a home to go to and defend.

Q: What are a few things players will be able to do at their Mother Base?

A: Players can rest from their mission activities and take up some relaxing activities like talking and sparring with fellow Diamond Dogs on base. Soldiers also engage in interesting conversations that Snake can listen into to get a feel for how everyone is doing. Snake can also take a shower to clean up after intense missions. Snake can engage in target practice, explore and drive around, or move from unit platform to unit platform using a transport system and the classic Cardboard box.

Q: Will there be specialized high ranking soldiers to extract and recruit to your base?

A: Near the end of the game, there are many soldiers with S ranking in various specializations. When playing FOB content there are even more powerful soldiers in the higher level bases. Throughout the game as well, different side ops provide specially skilled soldiers who can contribute to advanced R&D plans.

Q: Will you be able to steal those soldiers from another players FOB?

A: Yes you can steal highly skilled S++ soldiers even from enemy FOBs and this is probably the best way to skill up your crew quickly and effectively.

Q: How many FOB’s can you have at once?

A: A player can operate 4 different FOBs with multiple platforms and units each.

Q: What will the FOB leaderboards track? Kills, wins, amount stolen?

A: The leaderboards rank players who participate in FOB infiltrations and defense. You can keep track of rivals and allies through this system as well as provide support to allies.

Q: How difficult will it be to completely stealth another players FOB?

A: While it can be difficult to infiltrate an enemy FOB completely unseen, it’s likely the preferred route when going up against an FOB with a large defense setting. Too many high powered enemies who know the player’s location can lead to some quick deaths!

On The Phantom Pain…

Q: Players have become accustomed to a certain level of insanity with the Metal Gear plots, does TPP continue this trend?

A: The plot of the game is filled with exciting and dramatic events, many of which are pivotal moments in the lives of the characters represented. We don’t want to give away too much, but we hope you enjoy this new tale in the Metal Gear universe.

Q: Players got a small taste with Ground Zeroes, how much bigger is the TPP in comparison in terms of items, size, missions, etc.?

A: We’ve often said that the combined sizes of the areas in the game are 200x the size of the map in Ground Zeroes. However the size of the game is larger in comparison also when considering the new open world gameplay. Different outposts, and bases including their staff communicate between each other. They rely on backup relayed through various communication channels all of which you can disable any way you want to. Additionally, activities and events in one area effect another. Likewise as you progress through the game, your playstyle is reflected in the enemies defense strategies. For instance if you shoot many enemies in the head, they’ll begin to wear helmets. If you infiltrate mostly at night, you’ll encounter enemies that begin to use spotlights and flares to find you in the dark. The whole game is massive in size, and gameplay is designed to reflect that.

Q: Which buddy is your favorite?

A: My personal favorite is Quiet. She is an amazing sniper, and also really helps when spotting enemies I can’t see. It’s great having someone as powerful as her as backup in a tense situation. I love the other buddies as well, and its remarkable how they complement Snake in different ways.

Q: What about your favorite gadget?

A: My favorite gadget is the decoy. It works extremely well at distracting large groups of enemies for a long time and it can be modified to injure enemies who attempt to destroy it. The decoy also makes for some hilarious moments as enemy AI try talking to it and ordering it around.

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