Metal Gear Solid 2 gets new MGS3-like third-person mode after 20 years

Metal Gear Solid 2, the stealth game opus from Hideo Kojima, has a new third-person mode based on MGS3: Subsistence after launching over 20 years ago

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Metal Gear Solid 2, the stealth game masterpiece from Death Stranding and PT director Hideo Kojima, has a new third-person mode based on Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, over 20 years since its original launch.

Created by security researcher and modder Boris Larin, The Substance of Subsistence – or SOS – Project, brings the free-moving, over-the-shoulder third-person camera from the expanded version of MGS3 into Metal Gear Solid 2, offering a whole-new game experience as well as fresh perspectives on Kojima Productions’ iconic environments. You may remember that the original Metal Gear Solid 2 featured a partly mobile, but fixed camera, restricting your view to often distant or bird’s-eye perspective high angles. Larin wants to change that. Speaking exclusively to PCGamesN, they explain their initial inspirations and what has kept them going through various developmental obstacles.

“I was replaying MGS games over the Christmas and New Year holidays,” they explain, “and while I was playing MGS2, I kept thinking ‘what if this game had the same third-person camera as in MGS3?’ I thought, ‘if MGS2 had the same camera, it would be so amazing.’ After I came up with this idea, I closed the game and started looking at its code.

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“I wanted to have a camera that works exactly like in MGS3, but that game was never released for PC, so I also had to reverse engineer the code for the PS2 and PS Vita versions, which is more difficult. Also, on rare occasions, developers release their games with debug symbols that contain function names and other information. This helps a lot in reverse engineering, and I spent time looking for this information in different releases of MGS games. Unfortunately, the debug symbols were never included. However, MGS fans motivated me to continue my work, and I worked on it on weekends and when I had free time during the summer.”

Estimating that it has taken a total two months work to complete Substance of Subsistence, Larin explains how something that may seem simple – moving the camera so it tracks the player – is actually incredibly complex, with each little change and iteration to the MGS2 base code potentially sabotaging other functions in the game further down the line.

“The real challenge,” Larin says, “was getting all my third-person camera code to work properly. Making changes to the game code is a very difficult task. You touch one thing, and it breaks a million others. The game was just written to work with specific camera angles and it didn’t consider the ability to rotate the camera. This fact caused me a large amount of work – many functions of the game had to be fixed. It’s ridiculous how many times I’ve rewritten all my code.”

“But I really like how the Metal Gear Solid engine works inside,” Larin continues. “Its internal design is very close to the design of an operating system. I believe that it was developed by good programmers. Despite all the difficulties, I enjoyed working on it.”

Larin plans to release the SOS Project on November 5, the 20th anniversary of the launch of Metal Gear Solid 2’s ow expanded version, Substance. It will be available for free and players will need a legitimate copy of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance on PC in order to use it. “Personally,” Larin concludes, “I’ve always wanted to experience this game like this, and I know that many others do, too. In my opinion, Metal Gear Solid 2 is a timeless classic, and I’m happy to give a long-awaited gift to fans on the 20th anniversary of the game.”

If you’re a big Metal Gear fan, you might want to try out some of the other best stealth games. We also have guides to the best action-adventure games, as well as the best classics that are still worth playing even today.