Nine years ago, a grizzled Solid Snake told Raiden, ‘You can find your own name, and your own future… Choose your own legacy, it’s for you to decide.’ Clearly the blonde-haired ninja took the advice, now appearing in his own game and out from under the watchful eye of Hideo Kojima. We talk to Metal Gear Solid: Rising director Mineshi Kimura and creative producer Shigenobu Matsuyama about taking the series in new directions.
Traditionally, Metal Gear Solid is a very narrative-focused experience, with long cut-scenes and lots of exposition. Given the new focus on action, are you toning down these aspects of the game?
Shigenobu Matsuyama: It’s not a Hideo Kojima game – Hideo Kojima was very famous for his storytelling and themes, with the messages and the humour. I’m not trying to do the same thing, because I think I’m might not be very good at battling head-to-head [with Kojima]. This means there’s more emphasis on a different approach – we’re not copying what has been done before. This time it’s a katana sword action game at the core – that’s one difference between the games of the past and this one.
We want to focus on the action. We’re not saying that we won’t put in cut-scenes – we will have cut scenes as well – however, their volume will be much decreased. We don’t want to stop the flow or the tempo of the action. The story is of course very important, we understand, and we will have a very strong story. However, we would like to concentrate more on the action part.
Mineshi Kimura: We’re not thinking of making the story super-complex. We’d like to present more of a straight, simple story.
Kojima’s an incredibly distinctive designer. What ideas and influences are you implementing to make this your game and not Kojima’s?
SM: It’s only one example but we really wanted to impart the idea of deadliness and strength of the Japanese sword. If I could express that evocativeness in Raiden’s high-frequency blade, I think I’ll be able to make a fascinating experience for the Western audience.
So will the main focus of the game be based on Raiden’s swordplay and different uses of his high-frequency blade?
MK: What I’m thinking is there’s a two-layered battle system – of course it’s a sword action game, so yes there will be a lot of sword combos and such, and that’s just one layer. But the other part is like the part you saw in the video where Raiden kicked and put the guy off balance, and then it went into slow-motion, like bullet time, giving the player more precise aim over where they want to cut.
Can we expect a variety of alternative weapons to complement the use of the sword?
MK: Yes, we are planning include other weapons as well. Of course, the main one will be the katana sword, but how you use the other weapon and how you use the sword is another element we’re still in the process of implementing.