In case you didn’t know by now, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is going to be an awful, terribly written, and throwaway title. It was initially developed by the Kojima Productions team without the help of Kojima, but was bogged down in lack of direction and failed to the point of being cancelled, rebooted, and outsourced to Platinum Games, who were told to make the game as quickly as possible.
Play Magazine, issue #217, gives us the latest small details. The Silent Chief tells us:
The only additional details about gameplay that was shared, other than what has already been made public, is that Raiden will have the ability to parry attacks even when his back is turned. This is a common feature found in most games developed by PG.
Proving they can work as fast as the gameplay in their titles, under PlatinumGames the new script for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in which Raiden is contracted for VIP protection was rewrote in 2 months. In contrast, it took Kojima Productions some 10 months to do so.
Many people are under the impression that this will be a real, interesting Metal Gear title, once again misunderstanding the point of the whole project. I look forward to seeing what a Metal Gear written by Platinum Games in two months looks like!
I know most of you probably visit TheSnakeSoup already, but it’s worth linking to this new editorial by Ravi Singh, in which he methodically points out how stupid the backlash to Revengeance really is in context.
Rather than discussing the motive for the game’s revamped style, he thoroughly blows apart the whole misconception that the Metal Gear universe is somehow sacred and in danger of being ruined, exposing the inconsistency and ignorance of those who believe Revengeance is a new low that poses a threat to the franchise.
And while I wholeheartedly agree with Ravi’s points, I do want to acknowledge that the reputation of the Metal Gear name is in legitimate danger thanks to Revengeance. Yes, there are plenty of good reasons why the game is being made the way it is, and the backlash may be founded on ignorance, but the fact remains that the majority of gamers don’t know or care about these things — they only know that its a full-blown, high definition, multi-platform Metal Gear game, and it looks campy and ridiculous.
Richard George’s opinion is naive, but it’s popular enough to make a difference. Unless Kojima Productions does more to educate the game media and players about the fact that this isn’t a “canon” story and isn’t meant to be taken seriously, gamers will be confused and angry. On the other hand, once people find out that it’s not canon and not serious, there’s an equally big danger of destroying any interest that existed before; people won’t be mad, but instead they simply won’t care. This is why it’s so stupid to use the Metal Gear name in the first place. (Unless you’re Hideo Kojima, secretly allowing the series’ reputation to be ruined in order to give yourself freedom to pursue new projects, in which case it’s a sacrifice for the greater good.)
My Point of No Revengeance article was well-timed, I guess. I forgot that Geoff Keighley was going to be releasing a video expose on the development of Rising, but now it’s available, as you you can see for yourself:
Aside from padding the video with 10 minutes worth of pretentious scenic shots, the video itself reveals little that I didn’t deduce before — at least not concerning the turnaround of the Rising project itself. The video makes it seem super-duper serious, if not emotional, through its choice of editing and shot selection. Almost like somebody died and they’re trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. But the actual content of the interviews is really straightforward and basic. I figured all that out without needing to fly to Japan.
What’s worse is that the video never digs down to the true reasons behind the choices made. Kojima gives some flimsy excuse about choosing Platinum Games because they’re Japanese, and understand what a katana is; and we’re just supposed to accept that at face value? This is one of the most ridiculous answers I’ve ever heard from Kojima, but I’m not surprised he kept his cards to his chest. It’s the interviewers job to go deeper into the motivations of the people they interview, but we don’t get any satisfaction here. Keighley wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of the people who grant him exclusive access. He’s a guest. It would be rude to ask harsh questions.
I’d like to hear about the other reasons for Platinum Games being chosen. How about choosing a Japanese developer because it makes the communication process easier? That’s pretty logical. Or what about the fact that Platinum Games is an small independent company, not major competition like Capcom, who make the Devil May Cry series? Konami can’t ask Capcom for help. Platinum Games doesn’t have many hits under their belt, and still doesn’t have much recognition in the world, so for them this is probably an honor. But most major developers would be insulted at having some failed concept project dumped on their lap and a deadline to go along with it, so it makes sense to pick one which is young enough appreciate the opportunity.
But do we get any hint of the truth from this “truth behind” documentary? No we don’t. This is a promotional video: a 25 minute commercial dressed up as serious, even artistic journalism. Better than a traditional press release, right?
Just from watching the interviews, we see that Platinum Games wants to half-ass the project in order to meet the deadlines, but Kojima Productions is protecting their own reputation too much to accept this. This makes the high-flung “Let’s make Japan the best in the world again!” rhetoric an obviously empty gesture. This is still an awkward, confusing partnership, and the project still has time to fail — if Platinum Games fails to meet the “impossible” demands of their producers, Kojima Productions. That, or it will be delayed repeatedly and be released as a compromised piece of shit.
This is an incredible year for gaming, with major franchise titles dropping left and right — Portal 2, Witcher 2, Deus Ex 3, Battlefield 3, Elder Scrolls V to name a few — with the PS Vita offering something exciting on the hardware side of things. A ton of interesting digital download content has been popping up (Magicka and Skullgirls come to mind, although I know there’s a lot more I haven’t gotten around to). Established games like Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft continue to evolve and update, proving how effective patching and updating can be in a community. So what is Kojima Productions doing to keep pace?
Kojima Productions can’t afford to be shuffled to the back, but it seems that they’re not worried. Maybe they can afford to sit on their laurels and capitalize on old nostalgia for a few years, but considering how aggressive the market has become, I just don’t feel like they’re doing anything special. “Transfarring” seemed to be a great idea before people heard about “Continuous Play”, but now it seems to be irrelevant.
The new FOX Engine could turn out to be a smash-hit, but Ugly Face Man (my own pet name for the poor guy) doesn’t look any better than current-generation models being shown off elsewhere. Personally I trust that Kojima will have something great up his sleeve with the “taboo game” he’s hinted at for ages. My hope is that he’ll make a triumphant return in good time.
Until then, we’ll have a ton of other great games to keep us occupied, I suppose.