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For Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game, IDW tapped the perfect designer

Emerson Matsuuchi also designed the cyberpunk hidden movement game Specter Ops and its sequel, Broken Covenant

Artwork of Solid Snake and Gray Fox from the original Metal Gear Solid from Yoji Shinkawa. Konami

Today IDW Games announced Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game, the latest in a long line of video game franchises to make the move to tabletop. IDW products are historically hit or miss, but this time around my hopes are high. That’s because the company has signed on Emerson Matsuuchi, the designer behind Specter Ops, a modern classic.

In Specter Ops, players take on the role of corporate assassins lurking in the shadows. One player plots their moves in secret on a sheet of paper. Meanwhile, everyone else at the table is forced to move their pawns in the open on a large, colorful game board. At the conclusion of every game is either a stealthy getaway or a bloody cyberpunk street battle. It’s a formula Matsuuchi reprised this year with a sequel, Specter Ops: Broken Covenant, published by Plaid Hat Games.

I can’t think of a better system to borrow from for a game celebrating Hideo Kojima’s cardboard clad commando.

A mockup of the cover for Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game
Image: IDW Games

“I’m probably the biggest fan of Metal Gear Solid,” Matsuuchi said today in a news release. “Ever since playing the first Metal Gear Solid, it has forever altered the way I view games. The story it told was so memorable and the gameplay experience so rich that it has shaped my expectation of games as both a designer and gamer. So the opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the table has been an honor and dream come true. I’m excited to be able to capture the tactical stealth action that is the hallmark of the franchise as well as create a new experience and story for the Snake fans. Age hasn’t slowed him down one bit.”

Gen Con 2018 — A selection of miniatures from Specter Ops: Broken Covenant.
A selection of miniatures from Specter Ops: Broken Covenant.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

The game’s art will be courtesy of comic artist Kenneth Loh, whose work includes pages and covers for the G.I. Joe, Kiss and Dead Rising comics, among others.

Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game is based on the original Metal Gear Solid, released by Konami in 1998. Players will take on the role of Solid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, Dr. Hal “Otacon” Emmerich, and Gray Fox. Gameplay will be fully cooperative, and task players with using unique skills to remain hidden during sandbox-style missions with multiple pathways to victory. Enemies will be controlled by an AI.

We should know more about how the game plays just by next year’s E3 in June 2019, where the game will debut to the public.

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