Raiden just cut the fanbase in two.
"I am Jack's Revenge" or: How I "got" Revengeance and learned to "Have Some Fun!"
By Ravi Singh
Posted on December 18, 2011
When the trailer for what was once Metal Gear Solid: Rising was leaked
hours before it's debut at the Spike TV Video Game Awards 2011, fans were in disbelief.
Many even wondered if the trailer was actually fake, as if the Metal Gear fan community
is dedicated enough to be able to fake what was shown in the trailers. When it was
revealed that, yeah, the professional trailer was indeed the work of professionals
such as Kojima Productions and—surprise!—PlatinumGames, many fans were livid. It
was very common to see comments such as "Metal Gear is dead," or "Kojima has jumped
the shark." To these fans I ask, have you been been paying attention to the series
at all in the past few years?
I feel some empathy in that I know exactly how you feel. The thing is, I felt
that way when Metal Gear Solid: Rising was revealed, especially with the
E3 2010 trailer which is now being treated as a martyr by you people for some reason.
Why? What the fuck was it about that trailer that is acceptable in comparison to
the new one? Is it the cutting? No, that is still here. Is it the stealth? Oh wait,
there was not any stealth shown at all. The only major difference I can concede is
the art direction and music. I think the cheesy hair metal music is actually quite
fitting, but I will get to that later. I agree that the art direction seemed to have
been better before than now even though Yoji Shinkawa is still involved. However,
this was not the result of PlatinumGames busting into Kojima Productions Headquarters
and setting the place on fire as some fans make it out to be. No, this was a cost-benefit
analysis on how the game would flow according to Hideo Kojima.
"The old Rising that was being prototyped at Kojima Productions
looked visually like Metal Gear, but it was 30 frames per second
and required complicated controls. I made one request of Platinum:
A cool Raiden who moves nice and smooth at 60 frames per
Ladies and gentlemen, this
is the official concept behind Metal Gear Solid: Rising
Why were you expecting something else?
These issues with Metal Gear Solid: Rising are not a surprise to me at all
because it was clear from the way it was promoted that Kojima Productions were not
making a coherent game. I am sorry to break the news to you but you cannot have a
game where you can just slice your way through fast paced action but with the ability,
if you want, to go slow and use stealth. The enabling of going batfuck crazy
ninja eliminates any incentive to play stealthfully. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns
of the Patriots incorporated the most action gameplay into the Metal Gear formula
than any of the main series that has been released so far along with an iTunes-like
interface to purchase weapons and ammunition on-the-fly, but Kojima Productions
had to incorporate the Psyche bar to offset this. Adding a Psyche bar to a game
specifically designed to allow players be able to control a cyborg Ninja who can
breakdance while obliterating Metal Gear Gekkos will just hinder the game's purpose
as it was that exact scene that inspired the entire game in the first place.
Likewise, having the option to utilize pure violent action in a stealth game
cripples the stealth element as the game must become far more forgiving in aspects
such as how many dead bodies are left behind along with all the blood and noise
associated with killing. Of course, how sneaking even worked seems to signal that
it was definitely an afterthought. For fuck's sake, they changed "Tactical Espionage
Action" to "Lightning Bolt Action!" They said that that the game had
"hunting stealth" gameplay, but when it comes to it, that was just a clever way of saying "it's really
easy to remain undetected while you go around cutting people's limbs off left and
right." The entire goal of being stealthy is to remain undetected. This requires
patience, strategy, and most importantly, avoiding confrontation. Naturally, this
is not how one would make a game based on Raiden in Guns of the Patriots.
"The character you control in Rising, Raiden, is almost the total
opposite of usual MGS protagonist Snake and his style of stealth
will be quite different. Raiden is a very acrobatic ninja. While
Snake would wait patiently for an enemy to walk by, Raiden won't
be standing around twiddling his thumbs. He can move undetected
and easily sneak up on enemies while remaining in stealth mode."
Raiden, don't let the enemy
know you're th—
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!
Then there is the cutting thing. It is definitely a cool concept. You know what
ruins it? Typical Metal Gear gameplay. I mean, what better way than to more or less
make your presence be known than to cut something—anything—in the environment?
As an action game, this concept works. As a stealth game, it seems very strange.
Don't say that it did work when the game was called Metal Gear Solid: Rising because,
guess what, it did not work. That was why they cancelled it in the first place.
"The concept of being able to cut anything was clear, but this was
generating problems with the game design. There was no clear or
unified consensus among the team members about how to balance this
concept with game design. This is especially true with regards to
finding balance between the concept of being able to cut freely
while still maintaining the original concept of creating a high-speed
ninja action game and making all of that work with classic Metal
Gear elements like methodical stealth infiltration and espionage.
It was getting really complicated."
Another thing that has me completely flabbergasted are the people who actually
wanted an interquel between Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and are upset that Revengeance
will take place after Guns of the Patriots. These people wanted them to answer
more questions than Guns of the Patriots already painfully did! I already
explained why this sort of reasoning is
flawed and how storytelling
simply for the sake of explaining everything tainted the
otherwise fun experience
Guns of the Patriots was, so instead let me ponder what you people were expecting
from this. The writer (who remains as Head Writer in the Revengeance credits)
is Etsu Tamari, one of the writers of the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database. The
Database mentions events concerning Raiden which took place between 2009
and 2014. You want to know what the story was for the now-canned Metal Gear Solid:
Rising? Here you go.
Free of the Patriots' bonds, Raiden set out to rescue Olga's
Raiden began living together with Rosemary, but the tragic memories
of his days a child soldier started to resurface, causing tension
in their relationship and leading him to leave her.
Raiden learned that Olga's daughter, Sunny, was being held in
He successfully rescued Sunny with the help of the anti-Patriots
resistance group, the Paradise Lost Army.
After hearing of Rosemary's miscarriage and subsequent remarriage
to Roy Campbell, Raiden became despondent. He left Sunny in the
care of Hal Emmerich and Solid Snake, then began work on retrieving
Big Boss's remains from the Patriots for the Paradise Lost Army,
leading to his capture.
As a prisoner, the Patriots used Raiden as a subject for experiments
in exoskeletal enhancement surgery. Raiden was treated as a test
subject in the Patriots' research into creating the perfect soldier,
just as Gray Fox had been made into the enhanced and heavily drugged
Cyborg Ninja before him.
With help from the Paradise Lost Army, Raiden managed to escape
his captivity. After undergoing surgery to clear his body of nanomachines,
he was successful in reclaiming Big Boss's remains from the Patriots.
The enhancements implanted throughout Raiden's body, however, were
too severe to allow him to live again as a normal human. He elected
to disappear from the life of his fiancé, Rosemary.
Left to wander the earth, Raiden studied scouting techniques
under a Native American shaman living in Alaska, also learning to
Upon receiving orders from Big Mama to assist Solid Snake and
lead him to the Paradise Lost Army, Raiden set out into battle once
Seriously guys? You wanted this? Let's even assume that this is actually fucking
grade A material for you guys and that watching Raiden receiving a message about
helping Snake out in South America is the next best thing to Big Boss realizing
the truth of his actions at the grave of the women he loved. How would you have
looked forward to this being turned into a game? You know the story. Hell, we already
covered most of this shit about Rosemary and Big Boss already in Guns of the
Patriots. Yeah, they would have probably thrown in new characters and add filler
dialogue (lots of it) to make these mere sentences hold enough substance for an
entire game, but there is little room for them to do much of anything. Even Tamari
agreed with this.
"Now that we are working with PLATINUMGAMES, we sat down and discussed
what they wanted to make and achieve. After much thought, we decided
to set the story at this point after MGS4 so they could be able
to make what they wanted. Setting the story between 2 and 4 forced
the story into already having a decided beginning and an end. It
was a bit tight and we were a bit restricted by that. If we made
the story after 4, there is a lot more liberty for the ending, even
if the beginning is already decided. We wanted to maximize the freedom
for the game."
However, even though distancing the story from existing canon is already good
enough to warrant the change, the fact of the matter remains that we already
know what fucking happens! There is no point to making a game out of this! In
fact, this adds to the Metal Gear Sequel Cycle I explained in
The Argument For a Freer Canon
by forcing the story to be able to fit between to well established installments
to the series. A lot of unnecessary additions would have been made at the expense
of keeping the canon consistent. In short: Rising would not have been some sort
of missing puzzle piece giving us a complete picture. It would have been a a stickynote
with crudely made macaroni art that someone stuck to an already established, well-rounded,
Psh, I see shit like this
happen every morning on the drive to work. Hahaha I hate it when
people cut me off, right fellas?
The one thing I will definitely never understand is the renewed hatred for Raiden
that was not as prevalent when the game was just Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
Fucking IGN of all places had an editorial posted the day after the Revengeance
trailer was released titled "Opinion: Revengeance Will Ruin Metal Gear Solid." The
case made against Revengeance by the editorial's author Richard George is
pretty flawed. In short, Ninja Raiden makes Solid Snake look weak in comparison.
Let's just pretend the scene with Gray Fox and Metal Gear REX in Metal Gear Solid
does not count since Fox dies anyways (with a lot of effort on Liquid's part to
get through a suit made from technology over a decade prior to when Revengeance
takes place). Where was George when Raiden used his entire body to stop Outer Haven
from crashing into Old Snake during Guns of the Patriots?
'The character as he appeared in Metal Gear Solid 4 was certainly
cool, but only as a part of the supporting cast. He was interesting
because suddenly he wasn't the annoying, false substitute for Snake
that he was in Metal Gear Solid 2. He wasn't an irritating failure,
in other words."
Oh, of course, the time when Raiden was a representative of the player and deliberately
made to elevate the prestige of Solid Snake he is "an irritating failure," but when
he himself is elevated into a "superhero" (which his son, "Little John," actually
refers to him as in the ending of Guns of the Patriots) it's acceptable.
Well okay, he admits that even Raiden in Guns of the Patriots was a bit much
and was only "cool" as a secondary character. This still contradicts his point about
making Snake look bad, but I will ignore that and ask why this opinionated article
was not written over a year ago after the E3 2010 trailer for Metal Gear Solid:
Rising was released?
"What was once a relatively grounded, sane series concept, one that
felt like it could somehow be real, is now sliding into a bizarre,
cartoonish realm so far removed from the world we know that it completely
lacks relatable elements."
You were looking in the wrong place.
What? No. You cannot tell me that the anything Raiden did in the E3 2010 trailer
outside of cutting watermelon could actually be "felt like it could somehow be real."
Unless Otacon's "Japanese animes" are based in reality as well, I would say it was
still pretty bizarre and cartoonish. If you anime nerds take offense to that, should
I use "animeish"? Yeah that sounds about right. The thing is, the cyborg ninjas
of the Metal Gear fictional universe were never intended to be realistic. Otacon's
line about "Japanese animes" was aimed at Gray Fox and Little John's about superhero
was aimed at Raiden. In short, the cyborg ninja characters in the Metal Gear series
are very much anime superheroes.
Maybe Revengeance does make it too obvious, but the fact of the matter is that the
ninjas in the Metal Gear series have always been powerful beings. Mad Jackyl in
The Ninja As A Deus Ex Machina Phenomena also argues that they have actually
played a mythical god-like role in that they appear wherever it becomes convenient
even though it at times seems impractical. By this criteria, not even Revengeance
fulfills the role due to the very fact that the player is assuming the role of the
cyborg ninja himself!
I am sure George means well and is simply passionate on his views on Solid Snake
being an idolized fictional character, but I bring his article up because I feel
that it demonstrates my main argument. Newfound negative feedback among Metal Hear
fans towards Revengeance is generally a result of some sort of mild amnesia
regarding the series' history. Now if the outrage is over this even being a Metal
Gear game, fine, you got a point. They could have, and should have, made a ninja
game without needing to bring Metal Gear into it. They were able to create Zone
of the Enders, a fucking
robot action series, without resorting to using Metal Gears!!! Yet to make
a ninja game they cannot stay away from using an existing in-game universe? This
along with the fact that the series was meant to end in 2001, then 2004, then 2008
means that things are getting ridiculous. I would love the series to be officially
over. It won't happen though. So my other ideal is that they end the existing canon
and thus create a series reboot or create alternative sequels.
The "reboot" of Rising actually allows Konami to make money from their
property without ruining the existing series. I know it sounds silly and the fact
that Revengeance could still be considered canon as this has not been refuted
does put some dents in my argument, but even with that it does not seem like they
are taking this shit seriously. Whenever people ask why Raiden is a cyborg ninja
again, why the war economy returned or any other questions like that with regards
to Revengeance I want to ask them if they actually watched the trailer. I
mean, holy shit. Look at this.
It's Raiden fighting Metal Gear RAY except RAY has a sword as a tail but it is
okay because Raiden can counter this using his sword in what will obviously be a
quick time event, and then jump on it to do more quick time events and destroy it
in a cutscene where the camera zooms in on his eye while he squints. Yoji
Shinkawa was unsurprisngly "surprised" by this.
It's not enough to just watch though. You need to listen too. That music. Like I said earlier,
it fits Revengeance much like a laugh track fits family sitcom series. As with the
music, the dialogue that was in the trailer makes this worthy enough to be considered
a grindhouse style spin-off of a series that otherwise does take itself seriously:
"It's time to have some fun!"
"Ha! Too easy!"
"My sword is a tool of justice!"
"Here's what happens when you bring a tool to a sword fight!"
"REVENGE WITH A VENGEANCE!"
"I think it's time for Jack... TO LET ER RIP!"
How can you take this
Look, if this was a remake of an existing title, Metal Gear Solid 5, even
Metal Gear Solid: Rising, I would be irritated too. For those of you who
are angered by Revengeance but never understood why people like me did not
like the cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, now you kind of
have an idea why. However, unlike The Twin Snakes, which was a reimaging
of a beloved classic, this is a purely a spin-off. It takes place after Metal
Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, but does that even mean anything? Metal
Gear: Ghost Babel took place after the first Metal Gear and it ended
up being an excellent non-canon title.
Of course Ghost Babel still played like a Metal Gear title. However, the
argument that Revengeance's purely action based gameplay is a detriment to
the series is a sign of pure ignorance on the release history of the series. The
Metal Gear Acid titles may have involved stealth, but they were card-based. I don't
care what anybody fucking says, but none of the Metal Gear Online titles
are anywhere close to being stealthy. Actually, the Metal Gear Online in
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence did have some stealth when it came to the
SNEAKING MISSION mode, where one player played as Snake and had to get the Microfilm.
However, the Sneaking Mission mode in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots'
Metal Gear Online was a glorified Team Deathmatch. This illustration by
drdrethechronic from deviantART depicts the minor differences between Team Deathmatch
and Sneaking Mission quite well.
If Metal Gear Online is still "Metal Gear" enough what about this... thing...
I am not even sure what it is. It's a mobile phone game in Japan and I think it's
called Sallaryman: Metal Gear Solid 4. Too obscure and Japanese? What about
the fucking Metal Gear Solid novels?! Have you read either of them? Here
are a few samples.
Snake grinned and contacted Nastasha. "Hey, I got me a Stinger.
i just wanted to brag."
- Metal Gear Solid by Raymond Benson, pg 205.
"I first met him in the sixties! We had a duel." Ocelot laughed.
"Big Boss beat me, too, fair and square. Your daddy was quite the
warrior. Do you measure up to him?"
"I don't know. I didn't bring my ruler"
- Metal Gear Solid by Raymond Benson, page 65.
"Merry Christmas," Snake said as he delivered two powerhouse punches,
left and then right, into the guards' faces. The soldiers plopped
to the floor. "I forgot to tell you--Christmas is early this year."
- Metal Gear Solid by Raymond Benson, page 34.
Then there is the recently released Metal Gear Solid branded Risk board game.
Come on guys. What, this sort of thing doesn't count because you are only complaining
about Metal Gear video games? What about Metal Gear Solid: Touch then? Where
were you guys when that came out? The game was essentially a shooting gallery for
iOS devices with a Guns of the Patriots theme.
I reviewed it two years ago
and I had this to say:
"You want my opinion? The game is good. No. It's great.
Well it was great when they called it Duck Hunt."
So what is the excuse for the lack of outrage over this shoot-em-up?
I went on to bitch at Konami for promoting this as a Metal Gear Solid game in
a way that seems almost as if Guns of the Patriots itself was ported to iOS.
I still stand by this point and once again, the fact that they are not creating
a new intellectual property for this ninja game is disappointing. It is, in fact,
a sign of what the video game industry is today. With that said, unlike Touch,
Konami is being completely honest with Revengeance. While Metal Gear Solid:
Rising's producer Shigenobu Matsuyama was stepping on egg shells trying to explain
how his canon game was not going to involve the canon, or how hardcore fans and
newcomers can play it however they want, Kojima Productions is collaborating with
a development studio known for making games where you go around killing things.
They admitted it's a full action title with no apologies. They changed the name
of the game from Metal Gear Solid: Rising to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
They have set the story in a time after events which have already taken place, providing
the writers a blank canvas to make their pop fiction 1990s action story on.
I am not saying to love it. It could very well be mediocre. I would actually recommend
remaining skeptical until the game is finally released. What I am saying is that
the only fans who have a genuine complaint are the ones who have always questioned
the announcements of unnecessary sequels and spin-offs. Their argument remains consistent.
The rest seem like there is a loosely drawn line somewhere and somehow Revengeance
crossed it, while other titles managed to just sneak by undetected. This is especially
strange for those who were fine, even excited, by Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
Rising was announced as a spin-off that strays from the traditional Metal
Gear formula. Revengeance does exactly that, except it has conviction in
it's goal and thus allows the game to be a fun action title, period. Outside of
an official confirmation that it is non-canon or an alternative sequel, it is the
best alternative to ending the canon for good. If its not good enough then more
power to you, but if you actually do want more installments to the canon yet
object to this, I do not see why. They're still going to make more Metal
Gear games. I know it. You know it. Hideo Kojima knows it.
"The previous version of Rising aimed to have feel good action with
Raiden as main character as a spin-off, not MGS. The same
concept is shared for the new RISING by [PlatinumGames]. For
those who are hoping for a stealth style MGS, this will
definitely appear at some point, so please wait for a true