Ubisoft's Jade Raymond recently interviewed Metal Gear god Hideo Kojima for a piece in Famitsu—yes, sounds like an interesting setup for an article, doesn't it? (Aside: please Jade, don't put us all out of our jobs). In the interview, Kojima had some harsh but fair points about violence in video games, and his perspective on the matter.:
I don't think there are many games that tackle violence head on...When you hit someone or inflict pain, faces get disfigured for example, and I want to make games that show that sort of thing.
If you don't see the pain, you can't understand what you've done, and you'll pass through battles without taking responsibility for your actions. I don't want to ignore that. I want players to think, even if it's just a little, about what violence and war are.
Can misery be a refreshing perspective? Personally, I find MGS4's attitude toward Snake—a hero who is aging, fallible and constantly in need of mental and physical maintenance—a good technique for reminding us about the atrocity of war. Because when Snake, pretty much badass incarnate (though I guess all "ass" is technically incarnate) is swayed by a situation, our poser selves will be too.