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.