Internal Squabbles Made Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Better

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a fascinating game — a frenetic hybrid between Metal Gear and Bayonetta that trades in the cardboard box for a cyborg katana. It's also gone through some serious trials and tribulations. For Rising, or Revengeance, or Raiden's Rad Rampage or whatever you want to call it, development has not been easy.

Before it was Revengeance, it was Metal Gear Solid: Rising, a stealthy action game that was supposed to tell the story of Raiden between the events of MGS2, in which he starred as an easily-manipulated rookie soldier, and MGS4, in which he came back as a badass cyborg ninja.

Then, according to producer Yuji Korekado, the whole thing was scrapped.

"A lot of things went kinda sour and we halted our project," Korekado told me through a translator during an interview in Los Angeles last week. "From there it was a new start. The main reason we halted the project and had a lot of trouble was that we couldn't solidify a concept for the game design."

So the folks at Metal Gear Solid studio Kojima Productions decided to collaborate with Platinum Games, best known for their work on snappy action games like Bayonetta and Vanquish. This led to some issues.

"Both of our studios have things that we specialize in," Korekado said, "and we had to put that all on the table. We did butt heads a lot. We had a lot of fights here and there. But that ended up being the best thing that happened, and we were able to bring out the best in both studios."

One of their biggest arguments was triggered by the game's story. Korekado says Platinum shot down the script that Kojima Productions had written for the original Rising, and they had to start the whole thing from scratch.

"The script really didn't match the game design that Platinum Games wanted to go with," he said. "And it was very binding because it was between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, and we moved it past 4 for the next script. It really gave them a lot more freedom.

"That was our first fight right there, and of course we did have fights. In the end it makes sense that we make our story based on the game design. When the core concept was allocated, our scenario writer, our script writer from Kojima Productions threw away his other script and started the new one."

"We would like to change your definition of what a Metal Gear game is. Not just stealth, but redefining it based on what this game is all about."

"Any plans to revisit that script or tell the events between MGS2 and MGS4 in some other way?" I asked.

"For now, probably not," Korekado said. "Especially thinking that the script needs to be based around the game design. Our game design fell apart, so it's kinda hard to think about what sort of game designs we'd need to include for that script. So for now it's hard for us to imagine."

It's easy to imagine something entirely different for Metal Gear, though, especially after seeing this game. Revengeance is like nothing we've seen from a Metal Gear game before — it emphasises fast-paced button-mashing action over stealthy operations and strategic attacks. But it still feels like Metal Gear game in some ways: that familiar WARNING/CAUTION meter will appear on the top of your screen, some enemies and items are straight out of MGS4, and there are tons of little tidbits and easter eggs that will be recognisable to any series fan.

So I was curious to hear from Korekado: if it's not the stealth, what exactly makes Metal Gear Metal Gear? Is it the characters? The world? Nanomachines?

"We really designed this game around action, and that's how we move forward," he said. "That's really the first element that we built on. We wanted to redefine Metal Gear, really add to the saga. There's a new character, it's a new genre, it's action-based. It's more an expansion of what Metal Gear would be.

"We would like to change your definition of what a Metal Gear game is. Not just stealth, but redefining it based on what this game is all about."

There are still a few elements of stealth in Revengeance — Raiden can sneak up behind an enemy and slash his brains out, for example — but this is almost all action to its core.

As for Raiden, not exactly a fan favourite protagonist, Korekado said that people who might not have loved him in Metal Gear Solid 2 or even MGS4 might enjoy his evolution over the years. Korekado said Raiden made sense as a protagonist based on his background and his weapon — the katana that plays a huge part of Revengeance's slice-and-dice gameplay.

"Raiden we think is very cool," he said, laughing. "There's a lot of things that were frowned upon I guess by the fans and reviews at the time, but Raiden's a special character...

"People who didn't like Raiden, we think they can enjoy the development, the growth of Raiden in this new game. We hope that fans can enjoy the growth of Raiden as a character, as a human — cyborg — and enjoy the game entirely."


Comments

    The main reason we halted the project and had a lot of trouble was that we couldn’t solidify a concept for the game design.” So the folks at Metal Gear Solid studio Kojima Productions decided to collaborate with Platinum Games

    That's quite a jump.

    Were the padawans at KojiPro so completely inept that they couldn't even come up with what Platinum had? Aahhh, I'm over it. Still incredibly stupid decision to make though.

    Last edited 11/12/12 11:03 am

      Stupid in what way? Better to let a more competent developer handle it than to just continue on something that wasn't working.

        Stupid in the way that they handed development over to Platinum because they couldn't figure out how to design the game around Blade Mode – The concept of being able to cut anything and everything in the world you inhabit – only for Platinum to make exactly the kind of game they initially wanted to avoid, and is now not much better than Bayonetta (which I recognise people loved) with the Metal Gear brand on it.

        KojiPro is a studio renown for design innovation, and if you look at the very initial trailer for Rising, they were on to something there.

        I guess what I'm trying to say is, they could have just compromised and made the game Platinum ended up making without handing it over to them. That isn't a comment on how terrible a developer Platinum is or anything like that. It's just perplexing that they handed the IP over to make a game that they themselves could have made.

        But like I said, I'm over it.

          The people who worked on the initial version of the game (Metal Gear Solid: Rising) were a bunch of juniors who made some great tech, but couldn't mold it into a workable game. It's clear that the original team couldn't make a Platinum-style game themselves, as they weren't able to build ANY sort of game from the tech. And frankly, with the game being in development from a similar starting time to Peace Walker, I'd be just as concerned as Kojima was if there was no game by that point.

          Remember how when Halo 2 had its reveal quite a few years back and the 'demo' they had looked absolutely fantastic, but then there was the realisation right after E3 by the team that they didn't actually have a game? Next to none of what was shown made it into the final game, because what they had at the time was a glorified tech demo. Rising was a similar situation. For all the praise you give KojiPro for design innovation (which I wholeheartedly agree with, personally), Kojima was ready to scrap Rising because there was NO GAME THERE.

          While I understand the concern that Revengeance will basically be Bayonetta featuring Raiden, having played the demo available at EB Expo, Blade Mode is still a very important part of the game. It certainly isn't the only part, but then again, it never was (MGS: Rising was planned to include combat options outside of Blade Mode/Zan-Datsu from the start anyway, despite the teasers not highlighting this).

    Maybe I'm boring but a story about:
    " a stealthy action game that was supposed to tell the story of Raiden between the events of MGS2, in which he starred as an easily-manipulated rookie soldier, and MGS4, in which he came back as a badass cyborg ninja."

    Sounds cool to me :\ Although I may be feeling the blanks a little...

    Redefining Metal Gear is a dangerous task. For me, it was a epic saga about the pain and brutality of war and violence. I'm sure it doesn't mean the same to everyone, but that's what it means to me.

    I can't fathom that this game will be exploring those kind of moral issues, especially if stealth/pacifist options don't exist. Have we been given any indication what its themes might be instead?

    I can't help but feel this game is going to be awful.

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