It took a while, but Hideo Kojima and Konami have finally given up The Phantom Pain charade — confirming that the alleged game by Moby Dick Studios was actually Metal Gear Solid 5 all along. During a presentation at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, franchise creator Hideo Kojima finally confirmed what everyone knew, and also stated that the previously announced Metal Gear Solid: Grounds Zeroes will be acting as a prologue to MGS5.

With two new games in the franchise officially confirmed, there isn’t any foreseeable shortage of content for MGS fans to look forward to. That said, the means in which Kojima teased Metal Gear Solid 5 is rather odd and likely left many wondering why they’d go through the effort of creating a fake studio in the first place. As is evident by the amount of buzz the stunt generated, Kojima says it was all to build up hype for the impending game.

According to the legendary game designer in an interview with GameTrailers, Konami and Geoff Keighley worked together and planned the viral marketing campaign for two years with the sole intention of doing “something to really energize the community.” Intentionally leaving clues as to what series The Phantom Pain was tied to, the developer really wanted gamers to analyze the trailer — not only so they’d begin to speculate — but to better “evaluate the FOX Engine” that the title utilizes.

Metal Gear Solid 5 The Phantom Pain screenshots

With the viral marketing shenanigan coming to an end, another issue arose that dedicated fans immediately called to attention: the replacement of David Hayter. Hayter had been doing the vocals for Metal Gear Solid‘s protagonist, Snake, ever since the franchise was rebooted on the original PlayStation, and his absence became immediately apparent once the character spoke in the Metal Gear Solid 5 reveal trailer.

Kojima defended the choice to not ask Hayter to return for the role, claiming that this is “a new type of Metal Gear game.”

“It will be a new person, I can’t say who yet. What we’re trying to accomplish is to recreate the Metal Gear series. It’s a new type of Metal Gear game, and we want to have this reflected in the voice actor as well.”

There’s no lack of change coming with the next pair of MGS titles, but both look as if they’ll still provide new stories that tie well into the pre-exsisting cannon; all while taking the series to some new places. The lack of Hayter may sting for longtime followers, but there’s no question that gamers are still eagerly anticipating the arrival of both Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

There’s no indication on when either aforementioned title will hit store shelves, so stay tuned to Game Rant for more information as it becomes available.

Do you think the viral marketing for The Phantom Pain worked well? Are you bummed by the absence of David Hayter?

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Source: GameTrailers (via Joystiq)