Fans are coming to the end of their long wait for the much-anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and as such we’re beginning to see the marketing campaign for the game ramp into high gear. Konami has released a new batch of screens from the title, showcasing Snake’s animal companion Diamond Dog.
We’ve known about the non-human allies Snake will team up with in The Phantom Pain for some time now. Diamond Horse was featured in the game’s reveal trailer all the way back at 2013, but Diamond Dog wasn’t revealed until the title was shown at TGS 2014.
Snake reportedly finds the wolf dog as a pup, shortly after its mother is killed. He goes on to train it to be a potent partner in the field, accompanying him on missions via the game’s buddy system. Like Snake, Diamond Dog is missing an eye, so the pair take to wearing matching eyepatches.
The images released today show Diamond Dog accompanying Snake in combat scenarios, and even riding shotgun as he pilots a jeep. There’s also a couple of screens depicting Snake riding Diamond Horse, and looking pretty majestic while doing so.
The presence of these animal associates may seem strange to anyone unfamiliar with the Metal Gear franchise, but it’s really nothing new for the series. From the moo-ing Gekkos of MGS4, to The Pain’s hornet-spewing antics in MGS3, to the zoological codenames that span every installment, it’s part of the quirkiness that makes these games unique.
A large part of the weird sensibilities and off-kilter sense of humor that defines Metal Gear has to be attributed to its creator, Hideo Kojima. However, his ongoing dispute with Konami seems to be on the verge of ending their relationship for good — and that could have grave consequences for the future of the franchise.
Initial comments about Konami focussing on mobile titles may have concerned gamers, but the company has since confirmed that there are no plans to leave console development behind. Even then, it’s hard to say what caused the falling out, which has already doomed the promising Silent Hills, envisaged as a collaboration between Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro.
Now, the focus is on The Phantom Pain, and the legions of Metal Gear fans will be hoping that behind-the-scenes angst won’t prevent it from being a fitting send-off for the series’ creator. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the game looks set to do just that.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is scheduled to release on September 1, 2015 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, with a PC release following on September 15.