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Metal Gear Solid 3 Remake Can Follow Up on MGSV's Skull Face Twist

Jan 15, 2024Jan 15, 2024

With a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 on the horizon, game developers have a chance to tie in one of the series' biggest narrative reveals.

May's Playstation Showcase revealed a long-awaited Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater remake is in the works. Now going under the title of Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater, there's a lot of speculation on how the remake will turn out. In this current landscape of the video game industry, remakes are cropping up more and more to varying levels of success. Though Metal Gear Solid 3 is a beloved game, it will have to do more to stand out from the remakes of Dead Space and Resident Evil 4, as well as casting its lot in the shadows of the Silent Hill 2 and Prince of Persia remakes.

A big part of the aforementioned remakes of Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 are their additions to preserve continuity. One of the biggest advantages of a remake is paying attention to any canon story elements that may have cropped up in future installments that affect the story that's being retold. Metal Gear Solid 3 has a big player revealed in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain whose impact cannot be understated and should not be ignored.

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In Metal Gear Solid V, the villain Skull Face reveals that as commander of the adjacent covert group XOF, his first mission was to support FOX's operative in the Virtuous Mission and later, Operation Snake Eater, cleaning up after Snake's handiwork. This places him right at the center of Metal Gear Solid 3. Part of Skull Face's motivation is cleaning up after FOX while taking none of the glory. Having XOF in the background of this new Metal Gear Solid 3 remake would be a great nod to fans of the series while conveying the clandestine nature of XOF.

In true Kojima fashion, this addition could also tie into the player's performance. If the player does things in true clandestine style, then perhaps XOF isn't very visible or doesn't appear at all in the background of cutscenes. On the other hand, if the player decides to shoot their way through or make a big mess, then XOF can perhaps be seen cleaning up after them. Both of these outcomes would further Skull Face's animosity for Big Boss -- either due to the lack of recognition or the mounds of work he has to do to cover up Snake's trail of destruction.

Skull Face remains one of the most interesting but underdeveloped Metal Gear Solid villains. One of the main issues that plagues Skull Face's efficacy as a villain is how little the player is really given about him. Most of what's given to the player is merely hearsay or given to them in a large, out-of-place exposition dump. Showing the covert excellence of Skull Face and his XOF would go a long way in helping deepen the strength of Skull Face's character -- especially as he lacked a boss fight in Metal Gear Solid V.

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Another character that would benefit intrinsically from including Skull Face in Metal Gear Solid Delta is Operation Snake Eater's own XO, Major Zero. His role in the series twisted dramatically after Snake Eater, which made him into the ultimate mastermind behind the entire plot throughout the series. Zero's main ploy and strength is shown to be deception and misinformation, befitting the spymaster that he is. But in Snake Eater, this isn't shown whatsoever aside from a few intelligence foibles that end up making him look less competent.

The addition of Skull Face and XOF in the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake could improve the transition from the almost-goofy Major Zero to the untouchable CIPHER. This would especially make a bit more sense to someone who hasn't played Metal Gear Solid V but is playing Delta. Having Zero send in a team to clean up after Snake but not tell him about it can begin to sow the seeds for what players would later know about Zero: that he's a manipulative and deceitful mastermind, obsessed with control.

Andrew Tu is a Toronto-based Gaming features writer for CBR and if he's not writing, he's putting off Final Fantasy XIV's main story or starting his 6th CRPG which surely won't be finished.