With so much of Metal Gear Solid: Rising unknown and apparently up in the air, let’s follow the example of GameTrailers and fire up our imaginations. Except, instead of stupid wishes, let’s make good ones.
1. What’s in a name?
Let’s start with something basic. The name Metal Gear Solid: Rising just doesn’t lend itself to being spoken out loud. It’s kind of a mouthful. Shortening it down to “Metal Gear Rising” would be much more natural. And, considering that everybody I’ve talked to about the game so far has referred to it as simply “Metal Gear Rising”, I get the feeling that it’ll become commonly used nickname anyway. Also, most people who follow the series already know that it was originally the “Metal Gear” series, so dropping the “Solid” designation wouldn’t cause much confusion.
Related to that, abbreviation is an issue as well. Are people ever going to call this game “MGS:R”? That doesn’t sound right. “Rising” seems to be the best abbreviation — following the example of Peace Walker — but the word “rising” is so bland that it won’t even ring a bell when somebody says it, unless the context of the conversation is already about the game anyway. In fact, it’s just begging to be confused with the more well-known Dead Rising series.
Secondly, it would be a very wise decision to distance this game from the rest of the series. Dropping the “Solid” in the title would not only make it easier to speak, but serve as an admission that it’s not in the same league as the real MGS games. For as much as Kojima Productions wants to leverage the Metal Gear Solid brand name, it can easily backfire. After the polarizing effect of MGS4 and the forgettable nature of Peace Walker, many hardcore fans are becoming wary, and changing the name is an opportunity to manage people’s expectations without having to work for it. It’s a spinoff, and it should have a spinoff name. Thankfully they aren’t stupid enough to call it “Metal Gear Solid 5”, but they should follow the example of Metal Gear AC!D this time around.
Thirdly, what does “Rising” even refer to? As far as I can tell, it’s a callback to the last line of Metal Gear Solid 4, spoken by Sunny after the credits roll. But doesn’t this imply that “Rising” will take place after the events of MGS4, not before? Rising is a prequel, so for goodness’ sake don’t wink-and-nudge at a piece of dialogue which directly looks forward to the events after the game that its a prequel to! I can just see the half-clever fans turning to each other and exclaiming, “Remember what Sunny said at the end of MGS4 about the sun rising again? This game must take place after that one, then!”
Rising could also refer to the “rise” of cyborg Raiden as well, but there are a dozen thematically more appropriate names than “Rising” if that’s the case. It’s too coincidental to be an accident. Even if they find ways of forcing the word to seem appropriate, by making the game about the “rise” of the Patriot’s System that we later see in MGS4, it’s still a backwards reference. And until we have further explanation about what exactly the game is supposed to be about (it’s obvious that the development team itself has no clue,) I’ll assume that it’s just a stupid reference to Sunny’s MGS4 line, and makes no sense.
2. Move it or lose it
On a more lighthearted note, my second wish is that Rising has extensive PlayStation Move functionality. We already know have hints that it could be using 3D display technology, but it seems tailor-made for the Move more than that. The producer has said they’re experimenting with the Move, as well as Kinect, but that the main focus will be standard controls. And considering that it’s the first Metal Gear Solid game that’s designed to be multi-platform, that makes sense, but wouldn’t it be a crying shame if you couldn’t play the whole thing with the Move’s controller?
Lining up precise sword strikes with the Move would be a thing of beauty. Having one-to-one motion tracking would add a whole new level of satisfaction to chopping people’s brains into six pieces, or whatever the gameplay will consist of. The more neat gimmicks and fine-tuned novelty they can cram into the game, the more forgiving critics will be (if it works). Pushing new hardware is an easy path to becoming a “must have” for at least that demographic.
If the game doesn’t feature Move functionality when its released, people are going to be asking for it soon afterwards. Being ahead of the curve would be a big plus for the Rising team, who need to break out of their shell and prove themselves as innovative.
3. Let me climb
Wall climbing, parkour, and the art of sneaking via acrobatic prowess is a beautiful thing, and perfectly suited to this action-oriented Metal Gear game. Raiden is obviously supposed to be a ninja, and ninjas are notorious for hiding in places like trees and ceiling rafters, so don’t be lazy Kojima Productions: make it happen!
Ideally, Rising would surpass even the old Tenchu series in this aspect. Grappling hooks, wall hugging, jumping from ledge to ledge is a must. Especially considering we can already see Raiden doing this stuff in the new Assassin’s Creed! And ask yourself, what kind of “Lightning Bolt Action” would it really be if we just had to run and jump like a normal videogame hero? I want this game to put Mario Galaxy‘s moves to shame.
4. Highly scripted action sequences
Whenever a game decides to attempt true “epicness”, it almost always means you’ll get scripted sequences. Not only do scripted sequences add refreshing variety to mindless action games, they allow the developer to get much more creative than sticking within the boundaries established early on. Suddenly the normal controls are gone and you find yourself parasailing across a lake of napalm while dodging a robotic Statue of Liberty. Epitomized by the God of War series, a well done scripted action sequence can keep you at the edge of your seat and on the ball, instead of growing bored of the grind.
However, good scripted sequences require imagination, finely tuned balance, and a masterful handling of the camera and user interface to convey important new information on the fly. Does the KojiPro team have what it takes to rival the great titles that have come before it? A poorly executed scripted sequence can leave the player feeling lost, frustrated and pressured.
5. At least five new characters
…And all robots, asinine mini-bosses, and non-dialogue speaking people don’t count!
Even though Rising won’t be story-heavy, and although it’s sandwiched itself safely between two other games in the series, I wish that there would be at least five new characters introduced. Characters who are significant to the story, have individual personalities, and hopefully don’t play out the most stereotyped tropes in the book. Look at how Peace Walker did it as an example. Amanda, Chico, Huey, Paz, Cecile, Galvez… there’s six already. Sure, most of them were tropes, but at least they felt like a good fit and each had their part to play.
In all honesty, I cringe at the thought of what kind of bullshit characters Rising may introduce, considering the lack of imagination evident in games like Portable Ops and Metal Gear Solid 4. But hey, this is a wish list, not an “expectation list”.
AND THE FINAL WISH…
6. A new Metal Gear end boss!
We need a new Metal Gear.
This is the “Metal Gear” series, is it not? And correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Metal Gears some kind of nuclear-equipped walking battle tanks? It would be kind of stupid if you didn’t encounter one in Metal Gear Solid: Rising, then. We’ve fought Metal Gear RAY enough already, and Peace Walker proved that there were crazy-ass mecha back in the ’70s, so how about showing us what the post-MGS2 Metal Gears can do?
Importantly, we also need to be able to cut the Metal Gear into pieces. I want to chop that son of a bitch down to its knees, and then I want to castrate it with my super sword. Not even Gray Fox did that, he had to use his Mega Man arm, but this game is all about physics, so let me “cut and take” from the meanest 20-storey-tall robot in the world. Think about the possibilities there. You could make a whole Shadow of the Collosus game out of that, if you played your cards right.
Now, with these wishes laid out on the table, I expect Kojima Productions to take note and make sure that all of these suggestions are taken seriously. Go ahead and tell everybody you know that you want these things, and hopefully we can generate enough momentum to make it happen!