'Metal Gear' video game masterpiece becomes a pachinko machine

TOKYO —

The exact details of what caused video game creator and director Hideo Kojima to break ties with publisher Konami, his long-time corporate home, are shrouded in secrecy. The most popular theory, though, is that Kojima wanted to continue making high-end, high-concept console games, while Konami is looking to channel more of its resources into the quicker and potentially higher-return-on-investment mobile game and pachinko sectors.

Much to his fans’ chagrin, when Kojima packed up his things and left Konami last December, the rights to the “Metal Gear” franchise, Kojima’s biggest critical and sales success, stayed with Konami. Kojima has his own independent studio now, which means we can expect new titles from him in the future, but barring some major fence-mending/hatchet-burying with his former company, it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be involved in a “Metal Gear” game again.

But the blade that severed their relationship cuts both ways, and it’s unsure what will happen to “Metal Gear” now that it’s lost its guiding light. Kojima loyalists, particularly of the more jaded variety, were quick to voice their prediction that Konami would soon take the vaunted stealth series and use it as fodder for a pachinko game, and that’s exactly what’s happened.

KPE, the pachinko arm of the many-limbed Konami conglomerate, has just released a preview video for its “Metal Gear” pachinko slot machine. Making that sting just a little bit more is that out of the many chapters of the “Metal Gear” series, the company has chosen “Snake Eater,” one of the most widely loved installments, for the adaptation.

In KPE’s defense, it looks like it’s giving “Snake Eater” all the respect that can be realistically expected in a pachinko project. The tense scene that takes place before the final confrontation between protagonist Naked Snake and mentor-turned adversary The Boss has been redone in impressively detailed graphics, which play on a 32-inch HD monitor framed by a glowing snake.

The audio looks to be getting attention from the manufacturers as well. The dialogue is voiced by the game’s original voice actors, but how much of their ideological debate will be audible over the deafening din of a pachinko parlor remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, the background music sounds like a severely watered-down version of “Metal Gear’s” iconic main theme.

Many of the game’s boss characters are also scheduled to make appearances, although undead guilt-trip The Sorrow is conspicuously absent from the video.

With this, “Metal Gear” joins “Silent Hill” and “Castlevania” in the ranks of hallowed Konami video game classics that have become pachinko machines. Sadly, there are no other “Metal Gear” projects currently known to be in progress, which raises the possibility that this could be the inglorious end of the road for Snake, so maybe it’s for the best that Kojima might not care so much about endings anymore.

Source: Jin

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