Zone of the Enders HD Collection coming in October

by johndrewmarkley on September 21, 2012

Zone of the Enders HD Collection CoverKonami has announced that they will be releasing a compilation of the Zone of the Enders series, entitled Zone of the Enders HD Collection, this October. As a bonus, the Collection will also include a playable demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. (Via Games Press.)

Zone of the Enders HD Collection will include the two primary games in the series, Zone of the Enders and Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, originally released on PlayStation 2. (Though not the Game Boy Advance spinoff, Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars.) Both games have been remastered for high-definition resolution, and the version of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner included is the European special edition of the game, not previously released in the United States.

Zone of the Enders is one of the lesser-known franchises produced by Hideo Kojima, best known for being the creator of Metal Gear. It’s a mecha-focused action series set in the 22nd century where the player pilots a futuristic bipedal war machine called an “Orbital Frame.” The games spawned an animated spinoff series in Japan and a third installment in the series is planned for current-gen systems, though they’ve never achieved the massive popularity or iconic status of some of Kojima’s other work.

The inclusion of a demo for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an interesting bit of repeating history, since the original Zone of the Enders drew attention in large part because it included a playable demo of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Indeed, due to the franchise’s cult status, the original Zone of the Enders is arguably better-known in the United States today as the vessel for the Metal Gear Solid II demo than as an actual game.

It wasn’t the first game that happened to, nor the one to suffer it most severely- if there’s anyone who remembers Tobal No. 1 as anything other than the game you rented because it had a Final Fantasy VII demo, I’ve certainly never met him- but it’s still a cruel fate for a game to live in the shadow of it’s own pack-in bonus. The Zone of the Enders series picked up some steam with the sequel, but it’s still relatively obscure, so we may see something similar here. It makes sense if Konami is making the third game in the Zone of the Enders series, since the demo of such a hotly anticipated game will presumably draw in some people previously unfamiliar with Zone of the Enders who will become interested in a sequel.

Of course, the demo for Metal Gear Solid 2 that came with the first Zone of the Enders was cunningly limited to the prologue of the game, where you play as returning protagonist Solid Snake, thereby setting up fans for the cruel sucker punch of getting the full game and discovering that the prologue is the only time in the game where you play as Solid Snake, so there’s an ominous precedent for this sort of thing. I’m half-expecting to discover, upon the release of the full Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, that it starts off with a few minutes playing as superhuman cyborg ninja Raiden like in the demo, then has some sort of weird plot twist and reveals that you’ll actually be playing as the reanimated corpse of Otacon’s little sister who died in Sons of Liberty, or something. Though I suppose that’s acceptable if she is now also a superhumanly agile cyborg with a monomolecular-edged sword that can effortlessly cut men in two.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection will come out for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 30.

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