Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a compilation for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Vita containing remastered versions of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. In Japan, this was released as two retail products: Metal Gear Solid HD Edition (containing MGS2 and MGS3) and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition. The PS Vita version does not include Peace Walker in any region, as the digital PSP version can already be played via backwards compatibility. The collection also includes Transfarring support to copy saves between PS3 and handheld versions.
The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game were released on Nov. 8, 2011 in North America, and the PS Vita version followed on June 12, 2012. The home console games were announced via the special MEGA64 sketch “KOJIMA’S SECRET”, aired during Konami’s pre-E3 2011 livestream event, alongside Zone of the Enders HD Collection, Transfarring and the Fox Engine. The PS Vita versions of both MGS and ZOE’s HD Collections were officially announced later that year at TGS.
Essentially all content from Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is included: the complete, updated Sons of Liberty game; the Missions mode, with over 350 VR Missions and 150 Alternative Missions; all five Snake Tales missions, an alternate, non-canon story mode starring Snake on the Big Shell; the Casting Theater that lets you change the characters of select cutscenes; and Boss Survival mode, allowing you to play through all the boss fights in sequence as either Raiden or Snake. The only feature to be cut was the PS2-exclusive Skateboarding mode, based on Konami’s Evolution Skateboarding. The Document of MGS2 is also not included.
All the features from Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence Disc 1 are available in the HD Edition, including the updated Snake Eater game with improved user-controlled 3D camera in the story mode; the Demo Theater, allowing you to watch the cutscenes by themselves or in sequence; and the camo patterns previously available via the Camouflage Download feature (excluding region-exclusive patterns). Barring the two MSX2 games (see below), none of MGS3: Subsistence Disc 2 is included, including Duel Mode, Secret Theater, Ape Escape crossover Snake vs. Monkey, and the original (now-defunct) Metal Gear Online. The “Guy Savage” nightmare mini-game (from both Snake Eater and Subsistence) and the Metal Gear Ac!d 2 linking feature have been removed, and the limited edition “theater disc”, MGS3: Existence, is not included.
Both classic MSX2 titles – Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake – are included in MGS3 HD Edition. These are the same as the versions included in MGS3: Subsistence on PS2, which in turn were based on the Japanese mobile phone ports (developed by Aspect Co.). Those ports feature fully re-translated scripts, new features like Easy Mode, Boss Survival, and the Infinite Bandanna, and various gameplay tweaks. The character designs in MG2, previously based on real actors, were redrawn by Yoji Shinkawa, and many character names were changed in both games for similar reasons. Both games are presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, with no HD upgrades, scaling effects, Transfarring support or Trophies/Achievements for this new release.
Peace Walker includes much of the DLC made available for the original PSP version, though some real-world brands have been changed or removed.
The games have been remastered and optimized for the PS3 and 360 by Bluepoint Games (MGS2&3) and Genki Co. (MGS:PW) and now feature a native 720p resolution at 60fps, higher-resolution textures, 16:9 widescreen, Trophies/Achievements, and higher quality audio. Peace Walker also received remapped controls that utilize the right analog stick, plus rumble support. Cutscenes in MGS2 and MGS3 can now be viewed in full screen or a new, extended letterbox view. The collection’s main menu is designed like a timeline that displays the included games in order of series chronology (MGS3, Peace Walker, MGS2) along with the year in which they take place; selecting a title brings up a summary of the plot and provides access to an unabridged digital manual.
The PS Vita version was co-developed by Armature Studio and although it retains some features of the 360/PS3 versions, it’s much closer to the PS2 originals in terms of resolution, frame rate and texture quality. All the MGS2 and MGS3 content present in the home console versions is carried over to PS Vita, with the exception of the new super-wide letterboxed cutscenes.
The handheld version introduces new touch-based controls, for actions that would normally be performed with L2/R2/L3/R3 or pressure-sensitive face buttons. Touching and dragging the Item and Weapon boxes in the bottom corners of the screen allows you to scroll through the inventory; other touchscreen actions include peering around corners, zooming scopes, and zooming in on cutscenes. The rear touch pad is used for movement while in hanging or first-person view modes; holding or tapping the rear touch pad also performs a variety of functions in MGS3, such as thrusting the knife.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is the first game to support what Kojima Productions calls “Transfarring”, allowing you to transfer your saved game between your PS3 and PSP/PS Vita. Xbox 360 is incompatible.
Peace Walker saves can be transferred between HD Edition on PS3 and the original PSP game. The process requires a PSP console connected via USB and as such the PS Vita, with it’s more secure Content Manager system, is incompatible with Transfarring. There are a couple of further restrictions: Trophies can only be earned in a game started on HD Edition, and once sent to a different console the original save is either locked (PS3) or deleted (PSP), until the save is returned to that console.
Transfarring functionality was added to the PS3 versions of MGS2 & MGS3 in patch 1.03, released alongside the PS Vita version (saves created before this patch cannot earn Trophies once Transfarred). Saves can be transferred between the PS3 and PS Vita versions either directly over local wireless or by linking to the cloud (Title User Storage). Saves sent over Wi-Fi are locked on the original console, until they’re transferred back; saves that are linked to the cloud are automatically kept in sync whenever the game is saved. VR Missions and Snake Tales saves are compatible, however Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 saves, and Photo Album data, are not.
In the West, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection was released on home consoles with all three games (PS3 has one disc while 360 put Peace Walker on a second disc). In Japan, however, the package was split in two: Metal Gear Solid HD Edition (MGS2 & MGS3) and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition. Each included a download code for extra content; PS3 owners got the original Metal Gear Solid (MGS HD) and the PSP version of Peace Walker (MGS:PW HD), while 360 players received Avatar items: Metal Gear RAY and the Shagohod (MGS HD), and Tank Box and Peace Walker (MGS:PW HD). The PS Vita version does not include Peace Walker or download codes in any region.
Both MGS HD and MGS:PW HD was re-released under the “PlayStation 3 the Best” budget label in Japan on February 7th 2013.
On PS3, MGS2, MGS3 and MGS:PW are individual downloads, available separately or in discounted bundles (which vary by region). The PS Vita release is available as a single package or as individual downloads. On Xbox Live, MGS2 and MGS3 are only available as a single game, and MGS:PW is a separate release. The sizes below are approximate and based on the North American download.
In keeping with Metal Gear series tradition, Japan saw Premium Packages for both releases. Metal Gear Solid HD Edition Premium Package included the game, new boxart featuring Yoji Shinkawa artwork, METAL GEAR SOLID The Original Trilogy 456pg artbook, and METAL GEAR SOLID The Original Trilogy ~Vocal Tracks~ CD. Peace Walker HD Edition Premium Package included the game (with reversible Snake/Kaz boxart), a SNAKE Battle Dress Ver. Play Arts Kai figure and MGS-PW ~Vocal Tracks + Unreleased Instrumentals~ CD. Konami Style bundled further extras with these Premium Packages, adding headphones and MGS2&3 mugs to MGS HD and a Peace Walker mug and Kazuhira Miller Play Arts Kai figure to MGS:PW HD.
North America received a simpler Limited Edition containing only the game, boxart by Yoji Shinkawa, and a 248-page artbook.
In the UK, online retailer Zavvi got exclusive rights to sell the Limited Edition version of the game, containing the game, a steelbook case, a 250-page artbook covering the three included games, and a Naked Snake t-shirt. It was originally listed as a PS3-exclusive “Ultimate HD Collection” limited to 4000 copies, which would include MGS HD Collection, a download code for the original Metal Gear Solid, and a copy of Metal Gear Solid 4, all contained in a numbered SteelBook case with 5 art cards. This was later changed to the package above, though a Platinum edition of MGS4 was still included for those who ordered before the switch. Australia received the same Limited Edition as the UK.
No limited editions are available for the PS Vita version, though in Japan a screen protector/system decal (plus home screen wallpaper) was distributed with the game, plus a matching screen cloth for Konami Style customers. Buying the game with a PlayStation Vita console got you an exclusive MGS HD Edition shopping bag featuring Raiden and Naked Snake. In Latin America, a PlayStation Vita bundle was released containing a black Wi-Fi console with a 4GB Memory Card and a copy of MGS HD Collection.