Codec Logs is a retrospective Metal Gear letter series by Blake Foley and Sean Gandert. An index of the letters can be found here.
From: Blake Foley
To: Sean Gandert
Subject: “Metal Gear?!?”
It is 2015 and I am neck deep in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; a game that is likely the end of an era. Konami might release a Metal Gear Solid 6, but it won’t have series long director, writer, and designer, Hideo Kojima, leading development. You have been asking me over the last few months whether or not I intended to get The Phantom Pain at launch, or even pick it up at all, and I had always expressed reluctance, indifference, and even resistance to the idea. I had my reasons (that is another letter entirely), but those reasons began to lose their hold on me as the game’s release closed in. The franchise has been a huge part of my gaming life, and with Kojima’s departure (removal?) from Konami I began to realize that it would be crazy for me to ignore this final entry in Kojima’s wonderfully ridiculous story. And that is how I got here, 30 hours into Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and about to start something bigger.
I have a lot I want to talk about, but the game doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It falls in the middle of a ten-ish game timeline spanning six generations of game consoles. No other series has the legacy that Metal Gear does. I told you last week that I was thinking of starting the series from the beginning, going back to Metal Gear’s 1987 roots and working my way forward. You told me that if I did, I’d have to write about it. Well, as you now know, we’re going to be doing this together.
The goal is ten-ish (is Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes its own game?) Metal Gear games starting with 1987’s Metal Gear on the MSX2 and working our way up through Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain on Playstation 4. I’ve played many games in the series multiple times, but this will be my first time taking on the series as a whole. It should be a lot of fun, a little frustrating, and no doubt ridiculous. Are you ready?
From: Sean Gandert
To: Blake Foley
Subject: RE: “Metal Gear?!?”
Despite your recommendations, I’ve mostly seen the Metal Gear series from the outside. I know the memes and some of the characters. I’ve played a couple of the games and I know what David Hayter’s voice sounds like when he’s trying to act gruff. I even know that the best way to fill in a gaping plothole is with nanomachines. But it’s been quite a while, and I’m about as much of an outsider as you can be to the series if you’re our age and regularly play video games.
Am I ready? In a way, probably not. I don’t play games quickly, and I’m notoriously bad at this whole “stealth” concept I hear you speaking about sometimes (as far as I’m concerned, doors were made to be kicked). On the other hand, I’m also up for a challenge. If we’re going to play through a series, I can’t think of one that could be bolder or stranger, one that would touch on more topics, both intentionally and not, than Metal Gear.
Most of all, I look forward to being surprised, for playing through a series that’s never content to do things the way every other game has. So I guess I am ready after all—let’s do this.