Looking at its gameplay, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and its prologue, Ground Zeroes capture the spirit of the Metal Gear series despite worries arising from director Hideo Kojima’s announcement that the game would be open world. However, a staple of the series — the exclamation point — was almost not included in Metal Gear Solid 5.
“I actually considered not including the ‘!’ mark that appears when enemies discover you.” Kojima revealed in an interview with Weekly Famitsu. In his quest to make the game experience more realistic, Kojima almost omitted what has become one of video gaming’s most iconic interactions.
Fortunately, rational minds prevailed. “The staff said, ‘if you get rid of it, it’ll cause an uproar!'” Kojima said. “Considering the console specs, it would have been possible to substitute with facial expressions and gestures. But when the character visuals are that realistic, you need to have a certain element of ‘ambiguity.'”
While the “!” isn’t what makes a Metal Gear game, it would have been a travesty to have had it excluded.
Don’t worry, the series’ other longstanding traditions are safe, too. “I want to include the cardboard box [in the game],” Kojima said.