In scenes reminiscent of a convoluted codec conversation, Konami has been tying itself up in knots about what exactly players can expect from Metal Gear Solid: The Master Collection Vol. 1. It's now issued a statement to VGC clarifying the target spec for the games is 1080p and 60 fps on PC, following erroneous reports (based on what Konami reps said) that the games would be running at lower resolutions and framerates.
Note that this still leaves it clear as mud as to whether these games will be rendering at 1080p or merely outputting at 1080p. Based on what Konami reps told PCG's Wes Fenlon at a recent hands-on, the former seems unlikely: There's no way Metal Gear Solid is rendering at 1080p, with the resolution seeming to be the original 240p or a similarly low resolution.
But one thing is clear: Konami has let people speak to things they don't understand, and created a huge mess and confusion around technical questions that should have straightforward answers. PC Gamer has reached out to Konami to ask for clarification of its clarification.
As for the collection itself, after that hands-on Wes reckons these ports are as barebones as it gets, and in some ways inferior to what emulators have already achieved with the titles on PC. The package does however come with various extras that will please the Gearheads: "I'd say 'collection' really is the operative word here," wrote Wes, "this is the equivalent of a vinyl album box set packed with new liner notes, little-heard demo tracks and many other extras, but without a recording engineer giving the original analog recordings a new mix."
There's still some confusion over exactly how the game will support mouse and keyboard on PC, meanwhile, with Konami essentially saying it will, though understandably in different forms across the games (the games included are a mix of 2D and 3D). But it really hopes you just play 'em with a pad.
If you're a Metal Gear fan shaking your head at all this bungling, you're not alone. This is Konami's biggest-selling and most popular game series but, ever since the departure of series creator and director Hideo Kojima, it's felt like the publisher doesn't know what to do with it. And Kojima himself, who's always been a master of marketing his games, must be looking at this re-release of his life's work, and the needless confusion Konami's created about basic specifications of the product, and shaking his head.
Metal Gear Solid: The Master Collection is at least going to make the series playable on modern formats, and the extras are welcome, but it does all seem like an unambitious project when you consider this is by some metrics (my metrics: mine) the most important AAA series in videogame history.
Metal Gear Solid: The Master Collection Vol.1 will release on October 24, 2023, and will be followed by a Vol. 2 which is very likely to free MGS4 from its PS3 prison. There's also a remastered version of MGS3: Snake Eater on the way under the title Metal Gear Delta: Snake Eater, which is giving the game a visual overhaul but otherwise aims to be absolutely faithful. It's great that Konami is bringing the series back. But it still feels like Metal Gear can't escape its creator's shadow, and that this collection is struggling to get the basics right.