The Metal Gear franchise has been a series that never really caught my interest. I enjoy stealth based games, perhaps one of my favourite genres, but Metal Gear just isn’t that appealing to new players, like myself. When Metal Gear, then ‘Solid’, Rising was first announced at E3, it was one of the few newly announced games I just couldn’t care for. Another Metal Gear game, just with a small gameplay twist. It still bared Kojima’s usual tight-lipped, ‘fan only’ narrative to the game, one that doesn’t welcome new players, but tells them to “play the other games, or piss off”.
Never having the opportunity to play previous Metal Gear games, in 2009 I attempted to enter the series through the critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid 4. It was a bad decision. Through the mere seven hours I played (before getting excessively bored) I felt the vibe that the game just didn’t want me. Through every elongated cutscene there were countless references to previous games, characters immediately introduced, expecting you to instantly know who they are, and what their purpose is, and a hard-to-follow story poorly presented. Why didn’t Kojima Productions want new players to enter the series? Most games openly welcome the interested, after all, if it gets them more money, why not?
In 2010, Platinum Games made their mark on the games market with the incredible, unique, Bayonetta. A highly-stylised hack-and-slash game bursting with flair and originality. Bayonetta was an original game, not a sequel, but a bold new IP, which entered without warning. In the same year, Platinum released another genius, unique, high-octane game called Vanquish. This time around, a third person shooter set far into the future. This change of genre just emphasized Platinum’s flexibility, and made them a seriously competitive force in the industry.
Both Bayonetta, and Vanquish were created to be accessible to near anyone, even gamers who weren’t necessarily fans of their genres. Hack-and-slash games were never a preferred genre of mine, but Bayonetta gripped me. It made a game type I never found interesting, interesting. And perhaps that is part of Platinum’s charm; the ability to attract new fans, convert gamers’ opinions.
Last weekend saw the broadcasting of Spike TV’s infamous Video Game Awards, where developers take to the stage to announce new games, or provide new footage / updates on a previously announced titles. During the event, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima took to the stage, alongside Platinum Games producer Atsushi Inaba. What was to follow was expected, since it had been leaked earlier that day, however the news only sunk in when it was officially announced. Platinum Games would be taking over, and leading development on, the newly named, Metal Gear Rising: Revengence. His words alone made the VGAs worth watching.
Shortly after, various forums erupted with complaints, concerns, and general bitching about how the series was going to go to shit. A quiet majority resided smugly in a reclusive corner of the internet, overseeing forums as they revelled in the fanyboyic bastards’ salty tears.
The truth, though, is that this change in developers can only benefit the series. Platinum will surely take this degrading franchise and give it much needed revitalisation. Fans of hack-and-slash games will be drawn in to the series, fans of Metal Gear, regardless of how much they complain, will still buy into, and enjoy the game, and as aforementioned, Rising will undoubtedly welcome anyone with a warm hug, and a cup of sweet, sweet coffee.
A change in story will appeal to new players, but the lessened references to previous games will still slightly please the fans. The change in gameplay from action-stealth, to hack-and-slash will breathe fresh air into the series. And with Platinum’s vastly unique, and original ideas, Rising will no doubt bring something new to the table; not only in the series, but to the market as a whole.
If still handled by Kojima, Rising would have stuck to its predecessors’ ‘exclusive club’ attitude, locking out anyone who wanted to try something new. And with that, aside from their ‘cut anything approach’, the gradually monotonous Metal Gear gameplay style would’ve remained, ruining what could’ve been a great concept.
But that’s not going to happen. Platinum are at the helm. Rising will succeed. Rising will be amazing. Rising will open Kojima Productions’ eyes. Read it and weep.