You know a game franchise has reached cultural behemoth-status when they have to put out an optional downloadable on consoles to explain every facet of the characters' intentions, motivations and relations to one another.
Even that was back in 2008 when MGS 4 was gearing up for release, and regardless of how much effort was put into tying up all the loose ends and providing closure for Solid Snake and chums, here we are just six years later with more on the horizon. It has to be said that it was going to take something special to draw fans back in after such a laborious job was done in 4 to remove anything worth unravelling.
Director Hideo Kojima and his team have done it again though, pulling at the narrative thread of the older timelime that follows MGS 3 protagonist Naked Snake - now Big Boss - and weaving an enticing plot-blanket with which to lovingly wrap ourselves in.
Events such as exactly how did the hero of part three descend into madness and become the tyrannical dictator we had to subsequently take down in the very first Metal Gear back in 1987? Well, after playing March's Ground Zeroes mini-game demo package and discovering audio tapes of torture and rape, it's immediately obvious that the overall tone of these new games is dealing with some very controversial territory.
It's either going to be the series' first misstep or another home run, but either way we've got a while to wait yet, so let's take stock of what we've got.