As part of the ongoing 25th anniversary celebrations for the Metal Gear series, Konami has delivered a rather wonderful gift for artistically inclined fans. The Metal Gear Art Studio - available free at artstudio.metalgearsolid.com - is the work of Yoji Shinkawa, the artist whose painterly brush techniques have come to define the Metal Gear brand.
Not only does the Art Studio give you access to digital tools that enable you to recreate Shinkawa's style in your browser, it also offers some really cool community features. You're able to watch other artists work take shape, stroke by stroke, and zoom in on their drawings for finer detail. There are also contests to draw classic Metal Gear characters and the ability to share anything you like to the social network of your choice.
It's a fitting tribute to a series that enters 2013 in rude health. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, out this week for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, finds Bayonetta studio Platinum mixing the series up with graceful melee combat and thrilling sword play. Series creator Hideo Kojima, meanwhile, is hard at work on Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, an ambitious next evolution in the saga which introduces open world gameplay and flexible narrative.
Both Mr Kojima and Mr Shinkawa will be on hand for the midnight launch of Revengenace at GAME Westfield White City this Thursday evening, taking part in a Q&A session, photoshoot and personally serving the first 200 customers.