Konami has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will release as a standalone game in Spring 2014, or Autumn in Australia.
Described as a prelude to full sequel Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes is said to serve as an introduction to its open world gameplay and systems.
Ground Zeroes will focus on an infiltration mission set in a Cuban prison camp, as depicted in this Tokyo Game Show video. It will also feature "a large open environment, and missions where time of day and weather have a dynamic effect on the game and its missions."
According to Konami, Ground Zeroes will bridge the gap between previous Metal Gear instalments and The Phantom Pain from a narrative perspective.
Boxed PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Ground Zeroes will retail at £29.99/€29.99, while the digital versions will retail for £19.99/€19.99, Konami has confirmed. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One digital versions will retail for £29.99/€29.99.
We've contacted an Australian Konami representative for prices in that region.
Designer Hideo Kojima said in a statment: "The advanced capabilities of the FOX Engine have allowed me to tell the new story in a new way.
"There will be a significant difference in what Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain brings to the series, so we want to ease players into the new open world environment and its potential.
"As such, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has been designed to introduce key elements, allowing them to fully benefit from all that the new game will offer."
While Ground Zeroes has been confirmed for a spring 2014 release window, no such confirmation was provided for The Phantom Pain.
Kojima last month pointed to the possibility that Metal Gear Solid V will support second-screen features. "Metal Gear Solid 5 will have many more elements that aren't limited to one console," he said. "You'll be able to play the game on whatever you want, whenever you want."