The curtain was officially lifted on Metal Gear Solid: Rising twelve months ago at E3 2009.
But yesterday the fifth full console title in the MGS series got its first gameplay video aired to game industry types from all over the globe. And what followed was an almighty drumming as jaws fell slack and crashed against the floor.
What they had just witnessed was the ruthless return of the most popular stealth game of all time but also a definitive step away from the bullet flying action we've come to know and love from Metal Gear.
Instead, the insanely gorgeous trailer depicted Raiden, the protagonist from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in full cyborg ninja clobber with sword drawn and ready to hack and slash at anything that looked at him funny.
The theme of the fourth sequel from Kojima Productions appears splashed across the video. 'Zan-Datsu' or literally 'cut and take'. This gives a huge hint at exactly what Raiden will be doing in Rising: slicing, dicing and robbing.
The new trailer opens with a humanoid enemy stepping delicately through what looks like a warehouse before Raiden makes a dart across the screen quicker than Usain Bolt, scurrying up the rafters before coming down on the cybernetic chappy and making chop suey of him before pinching his artificial spinal cord.
There's no doubt this is going to be the one defining gameplay features of Rising and of the missions that Raiden finds himself on.
In Metal Gear 4 we saw similar exoskeleton enemies which also bled the same artificial glowing blue blood Raiden uses here so it makes sense that our hero should cut open his foes and half-inch their life juice, with a degree of satisfaction might we add.
The stunning swordplay we see in the following in-game footage will be super sophisticated, and, in line with most Japanese games, delightfully over the top.
The bladed melee attacks will not only cut though flesh (both that of PMC soldiers and...watermelons, randomly) but also wood, brick and metal allowing the player to do a lot more than simply amputate limbs and disembowel victims.
No, we'll also be able to cut vehicles in half along any axis we please, engage in a spot of demolition work by dragging our Ninjato through solid building uprights like pillars and generally cause a lot of grief for enemies by destroying cover they maybe hiding behind. Japanese games really make the impossible possible.
We're already salivating at the though of bringing down a solid roof onto a group of baddies by with a swing of the sword around its supporting structures.
This brings a whole new to the idea of destructible environments. First brought to the forefront by the Red faction series with the aid of explosives and bullets and now brought into the second decade of the 21st century by Metal Gear.
We weren't all that surprised when we heard that the Japanese release of Rising might face heavy censoring when we got a glimpse of the final bit of gameplay demoed in the trailer.
It looks like an option to place Raiden in bullet time mode could feature in Rising. With this activated we're treated to the bloody sight of Raiden doing a hack job of a human henchmen choice cuts of meat and red fluid flying all over the place. The slow motion, the ability to cut through object from any angle you like and varying results of your handy work thanks to the in-game gravity is something to awe at.
We must admit it is a pretty gory sight and one that authorities in the Far East will certainly want to protect their public from.
Thankfully, we're likely to be treated to the nicest looking knife lesson since Nigella Lawson curved up her turkey last Christmas.