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.