Metal Gear Solid: Rising is going to be a brutal game, and Kojima Productions is worried about the possible reaction to its violence.
When Grand Theft Auto III was released, there was quite a bit of fervor over how it enabled players to beat old women senseless while having sex with hookers in the back of an ambulance that was being driven through a crowded schoolyard. At least, that's what I think I remember everybody getting upset about. Kojima Productions' Shigenobu Matsuyama is somewhat worried that people will have the same reaction to his upcoming game Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
It's perfectly viable to play through the entirety of Rising without killing anyone, but it's also just as possible to turn every enemy you see into ceviche. Matsuyama talked with Eurogamer about the ability to choose between these two styles, and the risk involved in allowing a serious amount of brutality.
When asked why the game and its E3 trailer (see previous link) were made so violent, though he said it was to make an "impact," he also revealed that it was more "complicated" than that. "There should be more freedom in a game," he said. "The freedom to do anything I thought was important."
Matsuyama says that violence against human enemies will provide no reward (boo), and that Kojima Productions does "not recommend you play like the trailer." Still, he wanted the freedom to be there not only so players could engage in their fantasies of becoming futuristic samurai, but also so that they could experience making mistakes. Mistakes like trying to slice a weapon in half and instead chopping off an enemy's entire arm.
But the impact of this violence is not lost on Matsuyama, who worries that Rising could spark another outcry like that of Grand Theft Auto. He says: "What was shocking was a title like Grand Theft Auto. I never realized the freedom of any other games. You could go anywhere. You could do anything. It was fun, but at the same time I felt a fear of what the people would do and how they would react."
"When I saw that title I thought, as a creator, there was going to be a hell of a lot of risk involved," he continued. "As I create Rising, and going back to the freedom to cut humans, I always have Grand Theft Auto and that shocking feeling in my mind"
Thinking back to my own reaction to Grand Theft Auto III, released in October 2001, it really was crazy to be able to beat innocent civilians to death and leave them laying in a pool of their own blood, even though it was done in a somewhat cartoon-like way. We've come so far since then that now I see games like Rising where you can cut people in half as really nothing all that special (though it does look badass). I don't know if that's good or bad for my psyche.