(YouTube) You may be thinking: wait, METAL GEAR SOLID 3 (MGS3 from here on out)? That’s a video game! I’ve played it! It’s not a film!
Surprise! METAL GEAR auteur Hideo Kojima released a three-and-a-half-hour non-interactive version of MSG3 as part of the METAL GEAR SOLID 3: EXISTENCE (MGS:E) limited edition version of MGS3. While Kojima insists that it isn’t a film — partially because I suppose folks have assumed he’s always wanted his games to be films instead of games, due to the extraordinarily lengthy cut-scenes he utilizes — but let’s call a spade a spade: it’s a film. Nowadays, folks don’t hesitate to discuss the influence of video game camera and storytelling techniques on films — I had the gall to do so when I wrote about ENTER THE VOID a few months back — but MGS3:E was one of the first non-full-motion video games that I can think of where the creator tried to take their game, repurpose it, and sell it as non-interactive entertainment.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the end result is extremely clumsy[ 12/9/20, 5:16 AM Almost verbatim what I said ~14 years ago.]. A lot of that boils down to the fact that Kojima has historically been an aspirational-but-graceless storyteller (see: MGS1 & MGS2) often riffing off of works he likes instead of weaving something new. For what it’s worth, it feels like with MGS3, Kojima finally started figuring out how to write proper character arcs, and even managed to pen a heartfelt ending, but if you rob the view of the interactive efforts it took to get from point A to point B, well, you end up with a lot of dull flailing.
That said, it’s still a noteworthy attempt, and has helped mold his current storytelling sensibilities into something more subtle and interesting via DEATH STRANDING. (Well, subtle for Kojima.) While it’s a narrative best experienced with the interactive core it was built for, this effort is still a fascinating curio.
If you’d like to read more about METAL GEAR SOLID 3: EXISTENCE, check out my initial write-up from waaaay too years ago.
The full ‘film’ can be viewed at: