Konami's forthcoming Metal Gear Solid game for the PSP isn't playable here at E3, but the company is showing off a brief video reel that offers insight into the story and characters.
Warning: Story Spoilers Ahead
As you probably already know, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is a "real" Metal Gear game for the PSP platform. The game will include an in-depth single-player campaign as well as a multiplayer mode. Solo play will work exactly as it does in the console MGS games, with "Snake" as the star and other characters helping out as the story progresses. New to MGS: Portable Ops is the ability to recruit characters, which will help you out as NPC's in the single-player campaign and act as units under your control in the multiplayer mode. That's right–the multiplayer mode in Portable Ops is squad-based, and your squad members are the characters you enlist from the campaign.
For a long time, Hideo Kojima, the series' creator, has wanted to make a game where death is a singular and permanent state. In Portable Ops, he's incorporated that concept, at least insofar as the multiplayer mode is concerned. When one of your squad members dies in a multiplayer match, he remains dead for all time unless you recruit him again by replaying the story mode mission where you found him. It sounds odd, but in practice it'll probably seem logical. The game isn't playable here, so who knows…
I do know that the few story tidbits shown in the video display had me floored. Konami already revealed that this portable MGS would tie up loose ends. They weren't kidding. Not only does the game take place in the time frame between Metal Gear Solid 3 and the original Metal Gear for NES, it also stars Big Boss instead of Solid Snake. But the big revelation shown in the video is that Big Boss is actually Naked Snake from Metal Gear Solid 3. The Big Boss that Solid Snake was genetically engineered from, and who Solid Snake kills in the NES Metal Gear is, in fact, Naked Snake! At some point, by the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Naked Snake will have become Big Boss. The overall story concerns Big Boss hunting down his old FOX unit members, with the help of a new team known as FOX HOUND. Yes, that FOX HOUND. Oh boy.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops will be released sometime later this year. At some point, we'll bring you a hands-on preview of the game, and, eventually, a full review. Until then, feel free to feast on our screenshots of the game.