Kojima Sees Games' Cultural Impact Resulting from Sensitive Subjects

Kojima Sees Games' Cultural Impact Resulting from Sensitive Subjects

Ground Zeroes

Hideo Kojima expects Metal Gear Solid V to be controversial, and he hopes games will be viewed as a part of culture the same way movies and books are.

Hideo Kojima isn't shying away from sensitive material in Metal Gear Solid V. He believes games that toe "the line" will advance video games to be considered as more than just games. In a roundtable interview, Kojima explained how he intends to help culture accept games.

According to Kojima, games need to express messages and themes that people may not be comfortable with seeing. Movies and books challenge sensitive material, and this has helped audiences widely accept the two mediums as culturally relevant. Kojima went on to say, "If we don't cross that line, if we don't make attempts to express what we really want to express, games will only be games. If we don't try to go beyond that, we won't be able to achieve what movies of novels have achieved. I didn't want to stay away from these things that could be considered sensitive. If we don't go that far, games will never be considered as culture."

The ESRB has given Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes a mature rating with the content descriptors, "blood and gore," "intense violence," "strong language," and "sexual violence." The sexual violence descriptor refers to an audio file in which male characters sexually assault a female character. Kojima did not mention this scene specifically when addressing the possibility of controversy, but he said he wants to portray the game's theme of revenge accurately.

However, Kojima does not believe all games should be controversial. He stressed that he and Kojima Productions has a "strong message" to convey. After all, there are plenty of games - and movies and books - that have had an impact on an audience without including uncomfortable content.

Source: GameSpot

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I agree with his sentiment, but I honestly don't believe he's the man who should be carrying the torch. I just can't imagine him handling such content with the necessary level of maturity. I mean, come on, this is Kojima we're talking about here!

Fappy:
I agree with his sentiment, but I honestly don't believe he's the man who should be carrying the torch. I just can't imagine him handling such content with the necessary level of maturity. I mean, come on, this is Kojima we're talking about here!

"Why was this woman sexually abused?"

NANOMACHINES, SON!*

*Ironically, a reference to a Metal Gear game Kojima didn't write

But yeah, if Kojima considers whatever he's done controversial, without knowing more, it'll sure be interesting to say the least.

I never quite understood what the world's beef was with Kojima. Yeah he comes off as silly sometimes, but the silly never really tuns the points he makes into the ground. If anything, it makes moments of serious that much more 'epic' in contrast. I haven't played many Metal Gear Games as I've never owned a PS, but admire the series from a distance. I whole-heartedly agree with Kojima, and am glad that more and more people are taking more progressive (or at least experimental), steps with the medium.

I'm still pissed he cut David Hayter.

But yeah sure, one day maybe.

I have an controversial comment to make...

How about make games ... with gameplay in it ? O.o

Wow, Breaking Bad really made an impact on him, eh?

Despite what he has to say, I've never really found the MGS series to have much to say. Framing your game in "totally not the middle east" and saying "Military Industrial Complex" a lot doesn't mean you're making a statement about anything.

I'm worried. We all know Kojima is insane right? It's what makes his gameplay so good and what makes his games so good. Hideo Kojima is the world's greatest hide and seek player because he's the only person who would play the game and then go hide in a completely different country. You need to hide a clue from a player? Why not hide it on the videogame box.

And the same goes for the story. He finds ways to blend stories and games that people have never tried before, his absurd obsession with detail and the insanity makes the stories fun to follow through before he sucker punches you with a piece of drama

...but this also means that when Kojima wants to be controversial it's not going to follow everyday logic. I'm worried he's going to do something incredibly awful and explain that it relates to people's concept of identity or not.

Weaver:

Despite what he has to say, I've never really found the MGS series to have much to say. Framing your game in "totally not the middle east" and saying "Military Industrial Complex" a lot doesn't mean you're making a statement about anything.

It goes beyond that, MGS2 actually made a pretty lengthy statement on how to be your own person and not to get lost in dreams about fiction. And what makes a person who they are is explored throughout the whole series. It's not just about military interventionism and capitalist warfare.

Ok only 6 posts in and the posts are not that hostile towards Kojima. I'm proud of you guys.

Fappy:
I agree with his sentiment, but I honestly don't believe he's the man who should be carrying the torch. I just can't imagine him handling such content with the necessary level of maturity. I mean, come on, this is Kojima we're talking about here!

I'd argue that even immature things have some form of message, even if they aren't stupendous or overtly controversial in anyway. I'd point out your avatar as a good example of that, Kill La Kill is as ridiculous as an 80s action movie, but like 80s action movies it still has something of a message. I find the MGS series to be the same way.

Weaver:
Wow, Breaking Bad really made an impact on him, eh?

Despite what he has to say, I've never really found the MGS series to have much to say. Framing your game in "totally not the middle east" and saying "Military Industrial Complex" a lot doesn't mean you're making a statement about anything.

Well the MGS series has always been about war & soldiers (or rather, the media's image of war & soldiers) vs life, since MGS1. I agree that MGS4 is the weakest of the series though.

Oddly enough, MGS2 was supposed to be set in the middle-east, but then 9/11 hit and it became a bit too sensitive.

That said, I don't think MGS5 will entirely succeed where he's aiming for, but it should be worth a try.

Andy Shandy:

*Ironically, a reference to a Metal Gear game Kojima didn't write

But yeah, if Kojima considers whatever he's done controversial, without knowing more, it'll sure be interesting to say the least.

He actually likely did have some input on the writing, just not as much as previous titles. Whoever wrote MGR deserves credit though, Armstrong basically sums up the series in general.

BrotherRool:

...but this also means that when Kojima wants to be controversial it's not going to follow everyday logic. I'm worried he's going to do something incredibly awful and explain that it relates to people's concept of identity or not.

Rather than awful, I think it might just be too specific of a message. Like say Carl Jung (yes yes, I know I'm comparing a Kojima to a psychotherapist), his messages can have meaning but whatever the fuck he's saying is only known to him.

.....That is, unless the writing is as bad as MGS4.

Weaver:

It goes beyond that, MGS2 actually made a pretty lengthy statement on how to be your own person and not to get lost in dreams about fiction. And what makes a person who they are is explored throughout the whole series. It's not just about military interventionism and capitalist warfare.

Well said, a lot of people miss that. I think people look at MGS4 and judge the series based on that.

Looking at how gamers react to changes in long running series. Looking how they overreact to female characters when they do same things as male characters (guresome death scenes in Tomb Raider were called "gore porn" or something, while RE4 and Dead Space were ok). I dunno if we are ready for serious subjects like that. Especialy if this is about race or gender or some of the things Kojima has been talked about.

But I guess someone has to try. These subjects are really tricky... a lot can go wrong. Especialy considering the audience.

Still, I hope he succeeds! I hope... that all goes well.

Metal Gear has always generally had something to say and presented it well on more than one occasion. I'm not sure why some folks here are acting like Kojima has never handled anything serious before, because his games have done that more than most. Is it to do with Metal Gear Rising misleading people about what the rest of the franchise is ACTUALLY like?

It's always had it's camp, but that's only ever served to help contrast those moments when the game shifts into politics and the serious nature of the game's themes. That's always been the genius of the franchise in my eyes. No one else pulls it off like Kojima does.
Metal Gear Solid 2 was a strange one, and hard to explain, but it was one of the earliest games to take a direct jab at the player and videogame culture, as well as being terrifyingly prophetic about the post 9-11 crackdown on personal liberty, the censorship and filtering of information on the web and culture at large and how people would react to the net as it grew. It's absolutely freaky playing that game again now. No one else in the AAA industry has done anything close to that as far as I can recall.

Just as there are books, movies and art that tackle important, deep and critical issues about the human condition, there are a whole lot more that are about trivial bits of enjoyable (or not so enjoyable) fluff.

It seems to me that games are mirroring that pretty closely, now that there's a wider audience and a bigger market for niche titles.

Arppis:
(guresome death scenes in Tomb Raider were called "gore porn" or something, while RE4 and Dead Space were ok).

Sidetrack here, but one of those was supposed to be a horror game. That one didn't star Lara Croft.

OT: This strikes me as Kojima just playing his all-purpose-defense card. Can't complain about anything he puts in the game; he's trying for controversy! But then, I felt like MGS has been on a slow downhill slide since 1, so I'm probably not the target audience anyway.

You know for a hack writer Kojima thinks a little too much of himself and his stories.

JarinArenos:

Arppis:
(guresome death scenes in Tomb Raider were called "gore porn" or something, while RE4 and Dead Space were ok).

Sidetrack here, but one of those was supposed to be a horror game. That one didn't star Lara Croft.

OT: This strikes me as Kojima just playing his all-purpose-defense card. Can't complain about anything he puts in the game; he's trying for controversy! But then, I felt like MGS has been on a slow downhill slide since 1, so I'm probably not the target audience anyway.

ehh, I wouldn't say that's entirely fair. There's controversy for different reasons. Controversy for it possibly being flat out bad writing is one thing, but controversy for the matters or things depicted is another. As a defence for the former, yeah it's a crap defence, but for the latter? Well I'm okay with him being controversal, I'm all for games addressing heavier/more sensitive issues and I still think Kojimas the man to do it. Sure his games do have the element of insanity to them, but that's just his style. I don't think it belittles the "hard" stuff in the stories in anyway.

Heck if you've a perchance for the slightly pretentious but none the less well written, there's always this article on MGS2 giving an argument for why it works, in a better way than I could. Plus y'know it's quite long and wouldn't fit in the text box.

http://www.deltaheadtranslation.com/MGS2/DOTM_TOC.htm

I'd reccomend people give it a read regardless on if you're a fan of the series or not, I think it's a great read.

Considering most previous MGS games have played crotch grabs for laughs, I really, really can't trust Kojima to do a serious take on sexual assault that won't be handled in all the worst ways. Or worst yet, first play it serious and then turn it into a joke later down the line.

 

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