Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear Solid, has been talking about his decision to split the fifth game in the saga into two standalone products: a smaller prequel called Ground Zeroes and a full-sized main game known as The Phantom Pain.
"If I were to put it in Hollywood movie terms, the prologue, that is Ground Zeroes, would be similar to the first 10-15 minutes that are meant to 'captivate' [the audience]," Kojima told Japanese games mag Famitsu, as translated by Siliconera. "At first, something will happen, then the title will appear like 'bam!' and then nine years later, a big event will be the start [of Metal Gear Solid V]. That's how the story will be connected."
"As far as the game itself goes, The Phantom Pain will take place in an immense open world map, while Ground Zeroes takes place in a smaller open world," he added.
However, it seems that The Phantom Pain may be some distance from release. "It would've actually been better to release it all at once, but by the way things are going, it appears likely that Phantom Pain will be coming out around the time the PlayStation 4 becomes more spread out. That means we would've had to make people wait a while longer."
"Since we revealed information on a regular basis, there were many who believed that Metal Gear Solid V was already complete, and there were many voices from fans saying 'we want to play it soon'. However, The Phantom Pain has enormous volume, so it will require much more time. So, together with the marketing staff, we consulted 'what ifs' and such, and came to the decision of allowing fans to at least play the prologue, ahead of time. We want to offer it for as cheap as possible, so at first we thought about making it as a download only; however, after thinking about people around the world, and how some places don't have the best connectivity, we're preparing a physical version."
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is set for release in Spring 2014 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.