Flashback to the turn of the century and Konami stands as one of the most prolific publishers in gaming. From its 16-bit classics to its more experimental 32-bit titles, the red and orange Konami logo long stood as a seal of quality. PlayStation 2 had just launched, but the initial line-up of games was shaky - and there was a decided lack of a killer app. The reveal of Metal Gear Solid 2 at E3 2000, prior to the system's Western launch, was the turning point in the fledgling system's fortunes.
In the design document for Metal Gear Solid 2, written in the months following MGS's success, there is a section explaining the concept of 'Absolute Evil in MGS2.' "Evil in Hollywood films," writes Hideo Kojima, "has always changed depending on the time in which the film's story takes place. In the American market, where audiences like to see good triumph over evil, the absolute enemy - be it a race, country or setting - has always changed with the values of the times."
Revered by many as some of the greatest games ever made, Konami's PS2 and PSP era Metal Gear Solid titles have returned, remastered - or rather, ported - to run on newer, more technologically advanced consoles. Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater and Peace Walker are available in pristine high definition versions for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, while the Nintendo 3DS version gets its own stereoscopic version of Metal Gear Solid 3.
In this article we'll be looking at all three products, cross-referencing them with the original versions as they appeared on PlayStation 2 and PSP, discussing their technical make-up and the quality of the ports onto the current-gen platforms. Have these classics been well-handled in their transitions across to new hardware? And from a Digital Foundry Face-Off perspective, which HD Collection is the one to buy?
Let's kick off with the compilation high-def remix for the Xbox 360 and PS3 - an intriguing release that sees accomplished HD remastering house Bluepoint Games (God of War Collection/ICO and Shadow of the Colossus) take on the task of porting across MGS2 and its sequel, while Japanese developer Genki tackles the unenviable task of bringing PSP Peace Walker to the HD consoles.
Hideo Kojima appeared rather melancholy when we spoke to him at Games Convention this year - which is to be expected, we suppose, since he's just finished the game that will almost certainly be his magnum opus. We spoke to him about MGS4's development, the importance of exclusive titles, and gamers' obsession with hardware.