Point of No Revengeance article

A Metal Gear Rising Article

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance may be a controversial and confusing game to some, but it makes perfect sense to me.

POINT OF NO RETURN

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a bit of a conundrum to people at the moment.

It was first announced as “Metal Gear Solid: Rising”, an official part of the Metal Gear timeline positioned between the events of Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots, but after a few tech demonstration-type showings it fell completely out of the spotlight.  Now it has resurfaced, minus the “Solid”, and plus the “Revengeance”.

The reaction towards the game was always one of confusion, but people didn’t mind.  It seemed cool to be able to cut up things at precise angles and, as ever, the Metal Gear brand name is enough to keep the media hopeful. Being multi-platform (PS3, 360, PC, and Vita) meant that it would be hitting a larger audience than ever, too.  The fact that the project wasn’t actually being led by Hideo Kojima didn’t hinder the typical hype process that surrounds shiny new things in the game industry, fortunately.  Even the silence surrounding the project at major trade shows and exhibitions raised few suspicions.

But others — basically, myself — speculated that the game was in danger of being cancelled due to lack of visionary direction; a problem that bogs down development and consumes budgets.  This clearly wasn’t a case of eager fans being left in suspense — something was deeply wrong.  Eventually, Kojima Productions showed us a simple “Under Construction” image and talked about changes, confirming the fear for those who had enough insight to see the warning signs.  Kojima Productions, if you count all that Kojima has done to be part of that company, has a relatively spotless reputation that could be stained by a cancellation as big as Rising.

Raiden wears a new hat

And cancelled it was.  But the project would not be declared dead: instead, it was reborn as “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance”, an over-the-top action game now being developed by Platinum Games, the creators of Bayonetta.  Kojima hand-picked the company, which no doubt set the game on its new rock-and-rollercoaster ride.

 

FROM WISHY-WASHY TO WISH LIST

If you’re wondering what happened, I have some strong suspicions.

Rising was a wishy-washy, indecisive game when it was first announced, basically built around the simple concept of being able to cut things into parts and see their insides. Even being a Metal Gear game was incidental; the setting, timeline, and everything else was added after the fact.  Changing the classic “Tactical Espionage Action” tagline to “Lighting Bolt Action” proved that they wanted to move in a new direction with the very genre, but this new direction led to some frightening territory.  The Metal Gear name is still sacred, and anybody who’s followed the series knows that Kojima’s team considers it to be so;  they would never have the courage to do “Lightning Bolt Action” justice.

Perhaps sensing the same thing as many, GameTrailers decided to publish a wish list that included demands for more action, less story, and some truly moronic speculation.  In response I decided to publish a piece titled The Rising Wish List.  In it, I suggest that they drop the “Solid” from the title for a host of reasons, and go for a truly over-the-top, God of War-style direction:

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.

Along with these suggestions I included the following image and caption:

Take it from Bayonetta: When you can't even tell what's happening on the screen, you're doing something right

I don’t think this is a coincidence.  Kojima personally chose Platinum Games to develop Rising, dropped the “Solid” from the title, and thus ensured that the game would be exactly what fans like me were hoping for.  I have no doubt that he saw the GameTrailer’s wish list and is made aware of what the community is saying, and although I won’t claim to be personally responsible for influencing his decisions, I do think we shared the same reaction.  Thus, Metal Gear Bayonetta was conceived.

 

REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED LUKEWARM

These changes, however, have not stopped people from being confused.

Executive Editor for IGN, Richard George, recently voiced his opinion that Metal Gear has forever been disgraced by Rising’s “bizarre creative decisions”.  He still clings to the glorious days when Metal Gear felt grounded (snicker!).  He doesn’t understand that the series hasn’t had either foot on the ground since the original Metal Gear Solid, and is firmly in the hands of the whining fans…

The Metal Gear Solid franchise as it once was seems a distant memory. It will always hold more potential than Konami will seemingly ever fully realize, and now it seems the company has completely lost sight of what the series must be.

The reason why the Metal Gear series isn’t grounded anymore — the reason why it’s okay to let the series spiral into oblivion — is because people like him never understood the games to begin with.  Kojima has wanted to let the series die or change direction for a decade, but he’s been a prisoner of it.  If having freedom comes at the cost of destroying what people love, that’s a fitting “Revengeance”.

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