Kojima says the scene needed to be done, but making it playable was too far.
Torture scenes in entertainment are supposed to make the viewer uncomfortable, but participating in them in the context of a videogame can be further disturbing. When the first glimpse of a torture scene in Metal Gear Solid 5 was unveiled through a trailer, whether the scene would be playable or kept to a cutscene was not clarified. Speaking to Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show, director Hideo Kojima said the torture scene is not playable.
When asked whether scenes of torture are necessary in videogames, Kojima said it needed to be done. “As the expressiveness of videogames goes up, if you want to go beyond that it’s not something you can avoid. Of course not all videogames have to do this, and in my case it’s not something I want to go through.” Metal Gear Solid 5 centers around the topic of revenge, something Kojima found important to explore through torture and the emotions surrounding it.
Kojima pointed at the times the player has been the victim of torture in the series and joked, “So far the player’s been tortured by Ocelot so much that I’m thinking I might be the one that introduced torture to games. So sorry about that!”
Kojima said making the torture scene playable would have been too far. Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V caused a controversy for a playable torture scene, forcing the player to aggressively and physically question a character. The organization Freedom from Torture criticized the game for glamorizing torture.