Opinion | Metal Gear Solid 4 turns 12 this month. Here are 3 reasons why it deserves a remaster
Solid Snake's globe-trotting adventures spanned multiple console generations before coming to a satisfying end in Metal Gear Solid 4. The landmark title was so anticipated and highly acclaimed that it single-handedly boosted sales of the PS3 worldwide when it launched all the way back in June of 2008. In retrospect, MGS4 definitely had its fair share of pacing issues, but it remains a unique gaming experience to this day due to Kojima's auteur approach to gameplay and storytelling.
After so many years, MGS4 should be enjoyed by several generations of gamers and not just on the single platform that it originally launched on. Here's why we think now would be a good time to reintroduce the title.
1. It's The Only Mainline Metal Gear Solid Title To Have No Re-releases
The original Metal Gear Solid was made available for Playstation and PC with a full-on remake for Gamecube in 2004. Its two direct sequels, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3, would eventually make their way to the PS3 and XBox 360 several years later after launching exclusively on the Playstation 2. Meanwhile, Metal Gear Solid V would have a near-simultaneous cross-gen launch on both Microsoft and Sony platforms. Metal Gear Solid 4 continues to be the odd one out as the only way to play it officially is on a PS3.
The least Sony or Konami could do is to make MGS4 available on the PS Now streaming service where MGSV is already playable.
(June 1, 2020 correction: The title is on PS Now for PS4 users to play, but it's arguable to call it a proper re-release).
2. It Could Absolutely Use A Performance Boost
Life wasn't easy for early PS3 exclusives and MGS4 was no exception. Not only would the game run at a native resolution lower than 720p, but it would run with an unlocked frame rate as well from 20 FPS in open areas up to 60 FPS in tight corridors. Performance would be all over the place depending on the environment and number of enemies onscreen. It doesn't take a frame rate analysis from Digital Foundry to see how badly the title is in need of a modern uplift.
3. It Would Almost Certainly Make Konami A Lot Of Money
Konami isn't what it used to be. The company seemingly cares more about Pachinko machines than actual console games these days where risks and investments are arguably higher. Even from this perspective, however, investing in remasters or re-releases has become a safer bet now more than ever for publishers. Game companies have been banking on nostalgia quite heavily this generation ranging from Spyro to full-on re-imagining of original titles. A conservative approach with updated frame rates and resolution options a la Vanquish would be enough to get MGS fans excited.
Bonus Reason: The Mandatory Installation Was Ridiculous At Launch
When Devil May Cry 4 launched for the PS3 and XBox 360, PS3 owners were met with a mandatory 20-minute HDD install before they could even begin playing the game. MGS4 had a similar approach, but installation times would be divided up into 5 to 10-minute chunks between each act instead. A proper remaster could certainly do away with these multiple installation screens altogether for a smoother experience. Imagine playing Uncharted 4 and waiting 5 to 10 minutes between each major section — gamers would be up in arms by today's standards.