Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was announced as a PSP exclusive Metal Gear title during Sony’s E3 Conference on June 2, 2009. The game was released in the US on June 8, 2010. It was later remastered and ported to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as part of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which was released in the US on November 8, 2011.
The game is set in 1974, four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, and two years after the Les Enfants Terribles project. It is based in Costa Rica and looks to show the creation of Outer Heaven. The game focuses on Big Boss and elaborates on certain elements of the Metal Gear mythology. It is being called “The missing link in the Metal Gear Saga” by Kojima Productions. Hideo Kojima said he chose to focus his attention on Peace Walker rather than its console-bound brother, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which was simultaneously in development.
Kojima has reiterated several times that Peace Walker is, from his perspective, “Metal Gear Solid 5”, and, were it on the home consoles, it would have been given a numbered title. “Since it is on PSP,” Kojima said in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, “I did not officially number it. But the game design, story, number of staff and budget-you can say that this is a big project. It would’ve been number 5. It’s not a side story or a spin-off. It’s not like Portable Ops or Acid. I am deeply involved and this is the next Metal Gear.”
Despite Kojima dismissing Portable Ops, Peace Walker is a spiritual sequel to the earlier PSP title, with the recruitment feature returning and now with the inclusion of recruiting an unconscious soldier by means of a Fulton Recovery System. Captured soldiers will be transported to an off-shore facility called “Mother Base”, where soldiers will be trained and will form teams, very similar to the gameplay of Portable Ops. Each soldier has a different job and different skills, and there are thousands of unique combinations.
Unlike main console titles, Peace Walker’s gameplay is separated into short levels termed “stages” as opposed to a linear progression through a large complex, as was seen in the first three Metal Gear Solid games. Players launch into stages in teams of up to four soldiers. Four player co-op gameplay is possible via the PSP’s Ad-Hoc connection. There is a strong emphasis on co-operation between the players to achieve goals. Trailers for Peace Walker depict soldiers moving in a snake-like, linear, cover-based tactical movement. It was also revealed that several soldiers can hide under cardboard boxes or one box simultaneously. The player character appears as Big Boss on the user’s end, while the other characters appear as generic soldiers who wear ski masks.
Before the start of each mission, players are able to manage to growth of Mother Base that can help Snake throughout his missions. Similar to Portable Ops, each soldier captured on the field has certain skill levels in various areas. For example, a soldier with high combat skills should be placed in the Combat Unit and soldiers with high mechanical skills should be placed into the Research & Development Department and so forth.
There are five different departments of Mother Base that soldiers can be assigned to. The Combat Unit allows you to gain GMP and improves the combat efficiency of the soldiers between missions. The Research & Development Department produces and improves weapons and items over a basic tech tree. To perform reasearch on certain items, each one has a certain criteria such as having a Medical Team at Level X and a R&D Team at Level Y. Others are based on story progression whilst some involve collecting documents hidden on certain mission levels.
The Mess Hall provides food to MSF soldiers and thus affects morale. The optimal food level must be at 100%. The higher the level of the Mess Hall team the higher the percentage the level will be and as a side affect, all staff at Mother Base will enjoy a bonus to all of their skills, conversely, if the food level is below 100%, soldier’s morale and skill level will drop. Ultimately, if it is too low, soldiers will defect and leave Mother Base. A high level Mess Hall team is required to create better recovery items at the R&D department.
A Medical Team at the Mother Base’s hospital cares for any staff member who happens to fall sick or is wounded in action during missions or Outer Ops. A high level Medical Team is important to prevent infectious outbreaks as well as faster recovery for anyone located in Sick Bay. Certain items like the tranquilliser gun can be improved with a high level Medical Team at the R&D Department.
An Intelligence Team provides support for Snake and any soldier out on the field. With a higher support level, players can discover the class of the enemy soldiers that populate the mission and providing stronger support fire if players use the strike/support marker. Lastly, there is the Brig, where hostile soldiers collected from missions are kept until their hostility dies down, whereupon they will join your army. A Trading Room is available for players willing to trade soldiers with other players.
Several different load outs are available before the start of each mission. The load outs are depicted as different suits Big Boss wears. On the 102nd Kojima Productions Report Podcast, it was confirmed that the different Big Bosses are part of a class system that will lend itself to whatever play-style the player chooses. From “Battle Snake”, who is a heavy weapons class character, to a shirtless Rambo-style character called “Naked Snake”, to an all-round character, at least four different load outs are available at all times.
Peace Walker features a crouch walking mechanic which first featured in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Peace Walker also takes other cues from its console counterpart; for instance, there is a new over-the-shoulder style aiming. Auto-aim features heavily in the game. Hideo Kojima has touted Peace Walker’s different control-schemes heavily, which change the mapping of actions according to how the player wants to play the game. For instance, the “action” style choice maps the keys to make it easier to aim and fire weapons. The “sneaking” style does the opposite.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker features ad-hoc multiplayer only. Multiplayer modes include Team Deathmatch, Capture Mission, Base Mission, and Deathmatch. Each mode provides a variety of customizable rules and settings. Downloadable content is available and can be accessed through the extras on the title screen. DLC features include free uniform skins, additional game audio and music.
Peace Walker is set in 1974, ten years after the events of Snake Eater and follows the story of Big Boss (Naked Snake) at this time and explains how he became an enemy of America and the leader of the mercenary force that would later grow into Outer Heaven.
The game opens with Snake at the base camp of his Militaires Sans Frontieres (“Soldiers Without Borders”) where the Deputy Commander of his army Kazuhira Miller introduces him to Professor Ramon Galvez Mena and the peace-loving girl Paz Ortega Andrade. Galvez tells Snake how he has come from Costa Rica where an unknown army has infiltrated and attacked their country. Galvez wants to hire the MSF to fight this enemy as Costa Rica has no standing army. Snake assumes that the unknown army was deployed by the CIA and refuses to help Galvez and Costa Rica, and he suspects him of being a KGB agent. It is then that Galvez plays a tape recording of the Boss. After hearing this Snake decides to take the job.
Snake and the MSF then relocate to an offshore oil rig off the coast of Costa Rica that will be the new home to the MSF, and call it Mother Base. Snake then infiltrates a communications outpost in Costa Rica and learns they are moving nuclear missiles through the country. He follows their trail and comes across some captured Sandinista rebels being held in an enemy camp. The de-facto leader of the rebels, Amanda, briefs Snake on the CIA presence and where the nukes are most likely heading. However, they are soon attacked by flying robotic kidnappers who take Amanda’s brother Chico with them.
Snake goes to rescue Chico, then continues following the trail of the nukes until it leads him to a base built into a crater. The nuclear missiles have been moved onto Peace Walker by the time Snake gets there, but he sees the wheelchair-bound Huey arguing with the leader of the Peace Sentinels: Hot Coldman. Huey is enraged that Coldman plans to use his machine to launch nuclear missiles, Coldman replies that it is necessary for Peace Walker to launch the very last nuke ever for world peace. Then Coldman then shoves him down the stairs. Snake rescues Huey from the base and continues following the trail of the Peace Walker.
His next stop takes him to Dr. Strangelove’s AI lab, hidden in some ruins, where the AI Pod calls out Snake’s real name. Strangelove demands an answer from Snake as to why he shot the Boss dead in Russia, as she based the AI off of the Boss’s memories. When Snake can’t give her a straight answer, she locks him in an AI pod. He manages to escape, and continues to follow her to another base located in a mining pit. However, after infiltrating the base, Snake finds that Coldman and Strangelove are both waiting for him with a lot of armed guards.
Soon after, Strangelove tortures Snake for an answer to her last question, but Snake refuses to say why he shot the Boss. He gets tossed in a prison cell but soon breaks out. However, Strangelove interpreted his lack of an answer as an answer in itself, and used the information to finish the AI for Peace Walker. Coldman then tells Snake he plans to launch Peace Walker’s first and last nuclear strike at the MSF base, not only demonstrating its power to the world, but also poisoning the air, land and sea of Central America, giving Coldman leverage to force the people there to mass-produce Peace Walkers for him.
Snake leaves the base and manages to damage Peace Walker, but it transforms and powers itself across the sea to a US missile base in Nicaragua. On top of that, Coldman takes Paz hostage to ensure he won’t stop them. Snake heads to the missile base anyways, but after fighting his way through a large force of guards, gets held at gunpoint by Coldman’s men yet again. Coldman plans to activate Peace Walker with false data to provoke a retaliatory strike on the MSF base when Galvez shows up, revealing himself as the KGB agent Vladimir Zadornov. He forces Strangelove to retarget Peace Walker’s missile at Cuba, believing that a US missile base launching a nuclear missile at Cuba will cause Communism to spread throughout South America in response.
Zadornov then tries to make Paz shoot Coldman. When she refuses, Zadornov shoots him anyway, but leaves him alive to enter the code. Then he announces his plan to kill Snake and turn him into a legendary martyr like “El Che.” However, Amanda and a force of MSF soldiers storm the base and gun down the enemy troops, taking Coldman and Zadornov as prisoners.
Just as disaster has been averted, Coldman uses his last breath to enter the launch codes for Peace Walker, and also transmits fake launch data to NORAD, making them think the Soviets are pre-emptively launching nuclear ICBMs all over the USA. In his view, this will force NORAD to either prove his theory right, or destroy billions of people. MSF tries to get NORAD to stand down, but Snake finds out that the only way to stop them is to destroy Peace Walker. He fires every single bullet he can at the machine and damages it, but it continues transmitting the fake data. Somehow, the Boss’s AI awakens and forces Peace Walker to drown itself in the ocean, stopping the transmission for good.
Sometime after that, Kaz tells Snake that he’s loaded the unused nuclear missiles from Peace Walker onto the Metal Gear ZEKE that Huey was developing at Mother Base in order to keep them out of the hands of others. Also, it has the effect of deterring a nuclear strike on their own base.
Strangely enough, Zadornov is thrown in a cell at Mother Base, but keeps escaping several times even though Snake drags him back every single time. At one point, Snake confronts Zadornov in Mother Base and shoots him dead in self-defense. He suspects that Zadornov had a double-agent in MSF help him, but just as he wonders who that could be, ZEKE begins to move. Snake rushes up to the deck of Mother Base and finds out that ZEKE was hijacked by Paz, now revealing herself as Cipher agent Pacifica Ocean. She offers Big Boss and MSF the chance to join Cipher (Major Zero) and help them control the course of the world. Snake refuses, so Pacifica responds by planning to use ZEKE to nuke the east coast of the US, branding MSF as pariahs and inviting a retaliatory strike.
Snake manages to destroy ZEKE before it launches a nuke, but Pacifica ejects and falls into the ocean. It is unknown whether or not she survived. Afterwords, Kaz reveals that he knew about Paz and Galvez’s real motives from the beginning, but didn’t tell Snake because without them MSF would never have become the power it grew into. Snake responds that whatever happened, now they’ll have to survive and evolve to face the growing threats of the times.
Peace Walker, unlike other games in the Metal Gear Solid series, features a large arsenal of weapons. Weapons are separated into these categories: pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, submachine guns, sniper rifles, machine guns, and rocket launchers. A few weapons are available at the start of the game, but most of them have to be unlocked either by finding blueprints in levels or earning the blueprints by satisfying certain criteria such as completing a specific level.
Once the blueprints for a weapon are obtained, the weapon must then be researched before it can be used. Each weapon has different research criteria, most require the players Research & Development Department to be at or above a certain level before the weapon can be researched. Some weapons also require that the Intel and/or Medical Departments meet level criteria as well. The higher the teams department levels are above the weapons minimum requirements, the faster the weapon will be developed.
GMP is also needed in order to research weapons. GMP is gained by hiring soldiers to the Combat Department, and as soldiers gain experience they will provide more GMP to the total. Each weapon has a different amount of GMP required to develop the weapon, and once the weapon is done being researched the GMP required to make the weapon is returned back to the total.
Many weapons also have multiple ranks, the weapon’s stats increase as its rank increases. If a weapon has additional ranks, once the weapon is researched the next rank can then be researched until it reaches its final rank (rank 5 is the maximum rank).
In an open letter handed out at Gamescom 2009, Kojima revealed further details about Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker regarding its development and content. Kojima stated that the main team behind the development of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was involved in the development of the game. He also confirmed that he will play a large role in its development, including the scenario writing.
Hideo Kojima has stated that he had constructed Peace Walker’s story simultaneously with the development of Portable Ops, but either never planned to use it, or only planned for it to be a passing mention. But when faced with the opportunity to put the story to use, Kojima did so.
On June 2, 2011, Konami announced that Peace Walker, along with Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, will be coming the the PS3 and 360 as part of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Famitsu in Japan offered a special ‘DX’ pack for MGS: Peace Walker. This includes the game and two humorously named items: A jigsaw, entitled “Love and Piece”, and an aluminum water bottle entitled “Peace Water”.
Hideo Kojima announced that major product placement and tie-ins would play a major role in Peace Walker. Kojima Productions teamed up with several major brands for various supports. Mountain Dew offered cans with Peace Walker advertisement and a code on the allowed players to receive a Mountain Dew branded T-shirt, the same goes for Axe. The are also several tie-ins with other popular video game franchises like Monster Hunter and Assassin’s Creed. There is even a era specific Sony Walkman taking the place of the iPod from MGS 4.
The Monster Hunter Missions are unlocked by listening to Chico’s audio briefings wherein he tells stories of a mythical island of giant monsters. Snake then proceeds to a beach south of Playa del Alba where Miller comments that there’s a “weird looking animal” over there. It’s revealed that this animal is Trenya, a Felyne adventurer, who can take Snake to the island of Ilsa del Monstruo where he can find giant monsters and many useful items. During the missions themselves, Snake encounters three giant monsters which he fights multiple times each, two of which are from the Monster hunter series. Snake fights the Rathalos first, a flying wyvern, which attacks by spitting fireballs and charging. Chico claimed the Rathalos was in an old Pirate Lore book he read and that it may have attacked ships in the middle of the ocean. Snake then fights the Tigrex, which hurls boulders and charges. Lastly, Snake encounters the Gear REX, a creature which bears a striking resemblance to it’s namesake Metal Gear REX. After the fight on Isla del Monstruo, a Gear REX entered Costa Rica from the South Pacific and made it’s way to Mt. Irazu. At some point after Snake’s battle with Paz and ZEKE, a Gear REX managed to board Mother Base and run amok. As a result, MSF had to go on the defensive and defeat Gear Rex.
The Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker soundtrack was released on April 14 2010 published by Konami Digital Entertainment and distributed by Sony Music. It was composed by Akihiro Honda, Nobuko Toda, Kazuma Jinnouchi, Jeremy Soule, Norihiko Hibino, Yoshitaka Suzuki, Todd Haberman, and Takahiro Izutani. Japanese singer-songwriter and voice actress Nana Mizuki provided vocals for the track “Koi no Yokushiryoku (Love Deterrence)”.
|1||METAL GEAR SOLID PEACE WALKER Main Theme||2:56|
|3||Rain of Bane||1:25|