Why MGS5: Ground Zeroes’ $30 Price Could Be A Problem

Today, Konami revealed that, yes, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is indeed a completely separate product from The Phantom Pain, and that it will cost $20 if you purchase it digitally on Xbox 360 or PS3 and $30 if you get it on next-gen consoles or want a current-gen boxed copy.

Of course, Konami hasn’t provided anything close to the “big picture”. This is typical, as game publishers love to be as vague as possible about everything. No doubt Konami will continue to hold back details until right up to release. But here is what we do know, as explained in a statement from Kojima in today’s announcement: “METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES has been designed to introduce key elements, while setting up the events of METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN.”

In other words, it sounds like a tutorial.

That doesn’t mean it has to be particularly short — the map in Ground Zeroes is rather sprawling. But the way it has been described by Kojima himself, and the fact that it takes place entirely on a single hostile military base, strongly suggests that the $30 package is not a significant chunk of the full Metal Gear Solid 5 experience.

Consider that even as Kojima and co. presented Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain as distinct entities before today’s announcement, he would dodge questions from journalists as to whether players would have to buy them separately. What else remains to be announced? For all we know the campaign could be ten hours or two minutes long. Maybe we’ll find out later on that MGS5 is simply an episodic release and The Phantom Pain will come at the same price as Ground Zeroes. Perhaps The Phantom Pain will include Ground Zeroes in its packaging when it is released months later, or perhaps your early purchase of Ground Zeroes will grant you a discount on The Phantom Pain.

Any of those could be possible, really, because Konami has not been remotely forthcoming about how this will all work. That secrecy alone is reason enough to be concerned that in the end, you will have to spend $90 to play all of Metal Gear Solid 5. Especially as this is not a wholly unprecedented idea. Capcom once sold Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, originally intended simply to be a free demo, for $5. And Sony has their Gran Turismo prologue games — GT5 Prologue sold for $40 nearly three years before the full game was released for $6, and few people were ever happy about that situation.

Yes, strictly speaking, asserting anything else today would be to guess. But without any more explanation, there is cause for a good bit of skepticism, if not outright concern.

We have reached out to Konami for clarification of these large gaps in the information publicly available about Metal Gear Solid 5; we will pass along any response we receive.

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5 Comments on Why MGS5: Ground Zeroes’ $30 Price Could Be A Problem


On November 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I’m also a bit concerned about what we’ve been told/not told with this. At $30, it seems like Ground Zeroes should be roughly half of the entire game, but the way it’s been described doesn’t make it seem like that is the case. I suppose it won’t be a problem if the other part is $30, too, but it’s weird to call it a prologue if it is half the game.

Phil Owen

On November 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Right, that’s the issue. Maybe it’s nothing, but with only what what they’ve said to go on it just sounds bad. And yes part of my line of questioning that I’m making to Konami involves figuring out roughly what percentage of the MGS5 package Ground Zeroes really is.


On November 5, 2013 at 12:44 am

I think it’s a dumb move from someone who keeps saying he doesn’t want to expand the MGS universe yet finds ways to stretch it further than practical.


On November 7, 2013 at 8:22 am

You guys do realize that MGS V: Ground Zeroes will be a full length game. On the fact sheet for it says that it will feature main missions along with multiple side missions with various objectives. To be honest I think it will be almost or if not as long as Peace Walker.


On January 5, 2014 at 8:17 am

Sounds like they found a new way to sell overpriced DLC.