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“Waaaah, it's not a proper Metal Gear Solid game! Waaaah, Platinum are making it instead of Kojima! Waaaah, it’s not exactly the same as that E3 tech demo from 2010! Waaaah, it’s all ridiculous and not serious enough and the title is silly!”
You know what? I’ve never heard such a load of nonsensically misguided ‘criticism’ in my life. Platinum Games' Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is one of the most exciting, most beautifully conceived, and most utterly potential-packed video game reveals of this year. There is absolutely no objective way of doubting that at the moment. It’s a stunner, and the only way to justify being down on it right now is via misinformed, knee-jerk denial of some very important facts. Let me explain why the internet whiners are coming at this from 100% the wrong direction.
First up though, here's that trailer again:
Right then, time for a few home truths...
That E3 demo a lot of you are so precious over. The one that was so much better than what Platinum have shown off so far. It never really existed as a game. It was nothing. It was a basic idea for a game mechanic that went absolutely nowhere in terms of realization. It was a man cutting up melons. It was Fruit Ninja.
We now pretty much know that Kojima Productions didn't really have a game on the go when they demoed Metal Gear Solid: Rising at E3 2010. Quotes have recently appeared via the always dependable Andriasang, confirming that even much later, after storyline and motion-capture development, the core game itself was still not worked out. Eventually, despite his team's belief in the idea of a Raiden-driven action game, Hideo Kojima himself claimed the project probably could not be completed. And then, without announcement, it was cancelled and brushed under the carpet.
Above: Nice game mechanic, shame about the lack of game
The idea that we've lost a great Kojima game through Platinum's takeover of the project is the worst kind of ill-informed fanboy myth. By the sounds of it, Koj never really had a game. Conversely, in a remarkably short amount of time, Platinum have - with immense polish and flair - turned a failed and rather vague tech demo into a what looks like a thrillingly-realised actual product. All that in mind, I certainly know who I'm getting behind when it comes to this project. And that's certainly not the only reason. You see there's also the matter that...
Seriously people. You're being goddamn insane. Complaining about Platinum taking over development of an action game is like complaining about Superman turning up to help you move your sofa. There is no developer - not anywhere - making sharper, deeper, more nuanced, more intelligent, pure action games this generation. For all of its camp spectacle, Bayonetta is as clever, layered and demanding a 3D fighter as has ever existed. Vanquish is the true evolution of the third-person shooter, an absolute medium-changing leap forward that sadly didn't change the medium at all, simply because unlike Shinji Mikami's similarly ground-breaking Resident Evil 4 it wasn't part of an existing franchise and was a harder concept to sell.
Above: Watch that and tell me these guys aren't a good fit for a Raiden-driven action game
Hmmm, I now notice that I used the caveat "For all of its camp spectacle" when referencing Bayonetta up there. I'm sorry, that was a ridiculous way to start the statement. You see it flasely implied that seriously worthy game design has to come packaged with an aura of resolute seriousness in order to be legitimate. And frankly that attitude is naive bullshit. But still, a lot seem to think it the case, so I'll let it lead me on to my next point...
You can stop moaning about how crazily balls-out rock 'n' roll Metal Gear Rising looks. Tonally, what you see in the trailer is exactly how this game should be pitched. This is a game about Raiden, not Snake. Raiden's sole purpose in Metal Gear Solid 4 was to be unremittingly badass and consistently brutally cool, to the point of becoming an utter, glorious nonsense. He was there to inject scenes of high-octane cinematic ass-kickery into what was otherwise a story about an old man hiding behind boxes while regretting his life. He was there to be so outrageously cool that Kojima could exorsise all the years of fan backlash and justify the decision to introduce him in Metal Gear Solid 2 in the first place. That is what Raiden is for these days. He's Konami's Dante; the impossibly slick action hero so insanely, balletically capable and unswervingly, stoically unkillable as to be camper than an all-drag-queen panto performed in a large pink tent. And because of all that, he's sodding brilliant.
Above: Nothing in Platinum's trailer is OTT after this
During MGS4's oh so dramatic, oh so moving climax, Raiden's key scene involved his killing an impossible number of dudes with his arms cut off and a sword between his teeth. Do not ever, ever try to tell me that anything in the MGR trailer is out of character for Raiden as a protagonist or for Metal Gear as a series. Cite as many po-faced cut-scenes or self-indulgent existential ramblings as you like. Metal Gear Solid is an inherently ridiculous series. You loved Raiden's moments of insane combatative cool in MGS4, so why the hell would you not want a game in which you got to live them out properly in complete control, exploring his skills and persona to their logical extent?
There is no reason. But at the moment it seems like that sort of stuff is acceptable by fans if Kojima is producing it himself, but poo-pooed as over-the-top and silly if anyone else is. And that's just closed-minded fanboyism of a hilariously self-defeating magnitude. And speaking of which...
This isn't really about the tone of the trailer, at the end of the day. This isn't about Platinum. No, this is just the same old over-protective fear of change we see in the gaming community every day.
Remember when the internet decided that Resident Evil 4 was bound to be crap because it was a dumbed down shooter instead of a 'proper' horror game? Remember when it decided that Bayonetta was too silly to be any good, despite being made by the Hideki Kamiya, the guy who made the older, better Devil May Crys that it lauds over the disappointingly stale fourth one that he didn't make? Remember when the internet then retconned that attitude and started denying that Devil May Cry needed a shake-up just as soon as the (very necessary) Ninja Theory reboot was announced?
The internet doesn't operate on logic, facts or genuine hope for progress. It operates on stubborn nostalgia and a steadfast need to re-imagine the past in order to hide from the changes of the future. And that's what's going on here. Metal Gear Rising currently looks like it's going to be brilliant, with or without you. And if it is, it would be a tragic loss if you weren't there just because you'd talked yourself out of going.