Metal Gear Solid 4 Pushing 50GB, What is Really Going On?

March 3rd, 2008

metal gear solid 4 big boss

There I was preparing to post some article that I had written last week when a feed from IGN came in stating some mind boggling news. Something which I needed to share my feelings about.

In a recent issue of Famitsu famed game developer Hideo Kojima stated that they had to exclude some content from Metal Gear Solid 4 in order to keep the game’s file size under 50gb.

If you know me outside of the blog then you will know that I am no tech head, infact when it comes to technology I am quite the traditionalist. But ever since I have heard about it I have always been intrigued by the massive size of a Blu-ray disc. Its simply mind bending that two dual layer discs (50gb per disc, I am pretty sure that it is dual layered) are larger than your average computer harddrive.

50 giga bites is as IGN put it quite a terrifying size for a game, I want to just put this into perspective for a second.

Xbox 360 game disc/HD DVD

Single Layer – 15gb
Dual Layer – 30gb

Playstation 3 game disc/ Blu-Ray Disc

Single Layer – 25gb
Dual Layer – 50gb

Xbox 360 launch title examples:

Condemned: 3.9 GB
Madden 06 NFL: 3.3 GB
Dead or Alive 4: 5 GB
NBA 06: 4.5 GB


DP’s Estimated range of Xbox 360 game sizes: 3-14+gb

Okay, so essentially the average next generation game for either console is roughly 10gb of data. So essentially that means that MGS4 is about 5x that of the average next generation game. Keeping in mind that they had to work within that 50gb limit.

Forget the Tech Talk, What Does All of This Mean?

Technical marvel aside, MGS4 is a large game so I want to share some of my suspected reasonings behind the massively large fill size.

Full 1080p Graphics

Its surprising that with the buzzword 1080p being thrown around like its quickly going out of fashion that so few video games actually run at that resolution. In another recent interview with Hideo Kojima he stated that they were still unsure on deciding a final resolution for the game. They were still in the optimizing stages. The outputted 1080p graphics obviously would have a strong effect on the game’s file size hence this could be a hint towards the game running in ‘true high definition’.

Plenty of Video, Cutscenes and Voice

This reason comes as no surprise, every Metal Gear Solid title has featured lengthy cinemas and plenty of voice work. Even though Metal Gear Solid 3 was toned down considerably I suspect that MGS4 may be the title to boast the most video and voice yet in the series. After all Konami need to tie together all of the loose ends and finally lift the lid on the Patriots and in my mind that is going to take a lot of context to support.

On the topic of context MGS4 will also feature flashbacks to prior games to help new players piece the saga together. There are also the supposively insane intro and outro movies in the game. More of that can be found here. Both would contribute to file size.

Extensive Bonus Material

The Metal Gear series is known for it’s bonus material, infact all MGS games have been available with at least some sort of bonus disc. For MGS4 there is likely to be the return of a movie previewer, bonus costumes but most importantly additional missions. MGS2 Substance had Snakes Tales, MGS3 had the monkey catching mini game and boss rush modes so it is likely that MGS4 will see a mix of these.

My selections are:


This is really the crux of what I wanted to say with this post. Ryan Payton from Konami has stated that MGS4 will be of roughly the same length if not longer than MGS3. This is why I included the ‘What is Really Going On?‘ in the header because even with all of my points included MGS4 should be less than 30gb, surely. It is almost as suspect as that suspicious drawing of Big Boss released in early artwork. Hmmmm….

I can’t help but think that Konami are once again hiding something from the gaming public. Much like MGS2, MGS4’s information stream has been carefully maintained. As always there are plenty of secrets which we simply won’t know until the game ships. So, its got me questioning the game’s massively large size. Am I the only one who doesn’t find this incredibly suspect?

Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

  • Hi Daniel.

    I think that aside from all the details you mentioned, MGS4’s considerable size can be attributed to the massive variety of gameplay that we’ll all be treated to.

    For starters, you can now play MGS4 entirely in first-person. That alone is like an entire game within a game. It may not be very wise to do so (peripheral vision isn’t very good, and you need a good view of your surroundings for sneaking), but the very idea that you CAN is fricking cool.

    As you may have noticed, Snake can pull off a whole lot of moves. He can crawl side-to-side on his belly OR back, attack enemies while on his back, and many other cool stuff that one-man armies can do.

    There’s also that sorta different camo gameplay, all those new weapons (70+ I think), a physics engine to compute how all these new abilities come together and are computed, and then some.

    I doubt all of these can be done in the old MGS games because if Kojima can, I’m sure he would have. But he didn’t because he can’t. A DVD can hold only so much data.

  • Hey Mike, thanks for another great contribution.

    You prove some valid points and reminded me even more so of how much I am anticipaiting this game.

    I agree that all of these are definetly cool inclusions and significant to the overall size. But when compared to the multimedia elements are like a drop of water in the ocean. Although appearing large these gameplay elements are just lines of code, straight text on a page and contribute only a minute amount to the game’s overall size.

    The camo is probably the most significant part of the game as it is tied to texturing and would use some sort of dynamic wrapping. I’m very intrigued by this.

  • Good point. 😉 However, I don’t know how small an effect these features would have, considering that each new ability would affect how Snake interacts with everyone and everything within the world.

    Of course, those multimedia files would be especially huge. The game would support 1080p resolution.

    I heard MGS4 won’t have any support for multiple languages so that they can trim it down to fit the disk(s).

    I also heard the special edition would be in Japanese. Jeez.

    June 12 seems awfully far away.

  • True, true. But all of these things are programmed features, ie they are all code. Text if you will so despite their complexities they hold little size weight.

    You’ve brought up another two interesting points; the resolution and languages. Usually PAL games have 4/5 different, European languages I guess they skipped that this time. Secondly as I posted I am unsure if the game is running in 1080p. Because of Kojima’s comments I would now assume so.

    You can actually view some of the content on the bonus disc already as (by the sounds of things) its the same as the Japanese Anniversary Edition disc (which the Americans didn’t/won’t get). I will see if I can find a link for you to some of the video.

    I think that we may want to use email to cotinue this discussion from here on out. You can use this form to do so:

  • Alpha

    Isn’t the audio, of the game, uncompressed? This, alone, would contribute to taking up a HUGE amount of that 50GB. Now add uncompressed graphics to that = 50GB disc needed.

  • I have heard about the audio being uncompressed as well. It is probably true but I can’t confirm it, sorry. The uncompressed visuals would also make a lot of sense.

    Theres a lot of talk about this game being what Kojima always envisioned, I imagined that the lack of compression probably is a part of that.