20 Years Later, Metal Gear Solid 2 Is Still A Masterclass In Misdirection

    Picture the scene: It’s the daybreak of a brand new century, E3 2000 is in full swing, and the one sport stealing all the consideration at that occasion is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. A direct sequel to the landmark sport that debuted on the PS1 in 1998, sport director Hideo Kojima and writer Konami’s follow-up was introduced with a trailer that had everybody speaking.It was 9 minutes of next-gen PS2 gameplay and spectacular cinematics, a showcase of Sony’s upcoming console that featured Solid Snake performing his trademark tactical espionage actions whereas he was being hunted by mercenaries throughout a rain-soaked freighter ship. Hype was build up, followers dialed up their expectations for the return of Solid Snake to 11, and a demo of the sport that got here with Hideo Kojima’s mechnificent Zone of the Enders noticed Metal Gear Solid 2 mania attain important mass.And then, as soon as in individuals’s arms, the sport pulled the rug out from underneath gamers, placing them within the fight boots of a wholly new character inside hours of beginning. This was Kojima’s expertise for misdirection at its most interesting, tricking gamers into believing that Solid Snake’s battle towards the Patriots and Solidus Snake would span the whole thing of the DVD disc that the sport was encoded into. Instead, Solid Snake’s playable mission ended with MGS1 villain Revolver Ocelot hijacking a Metal Gear Ray prototype and sinking the tanker that he’d had infiltrated. The legendary soldier appeared to go down with the ship, however there was no manner that Kojima was going to kill the star of the Metal Gear franchise…proper?The occasions of MGS2 occurred a couple of years later, and gamers discovered themselves in charge of a brand new operative: Raiden. Even when the bait-and-switch lastly revealed Raiden’s face to gamers, some gamers might have believed that it was solely a short lived change. Just a few missions because the fresh-faced rookie and it would not be lengthy earlier than Snake, who was posing as a random soldier known as Iroquois Pliskin, would shed his disguise, strap on his trademark headband, and present Raiden the way to take down a Metal Gear unit working amok. That was by no means realized although as Snake stayed within the sidekick spot. While this was undoubtedly a shock to the system for a lot of, Raiden’s starring position in Metal Gear Solid 2 arguably made for a greater sport general.Raiden proved to be divisive amongst followers, and even the event group had some reservations about Solid Snake taking a backseat in the course of the Big Shell marketing campaign. According to the design doc for Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden was developed as a personality who may attract individuals who by no means performed the unique Metal Gear Solid, whereas additionally being developed to attract in feminine players by being the precise reverse of Solid Snake in virtually each manner potential.”We will have the player control a different character from Snake, so that they can enjoy the game’s story even if they have not played the previous game,” the design doc learn. “They will be able to empathize with this character regardless of the fact they are new to the series. With Raiden (someone appealing to women), instead of Snake, as the main character, we will have a character in which women can more easily empathize. He is the antithesis of the older, hard-boiled image of Snake.”During Geoff Keighley’s The Final Hours of Metal Gear Solid 2 documentary, he discovered how the difficulty of likes and dislikes was a significant matter of debate among the many core group and even the sport’s assistant director Yoshikazu Matsuhana had some reservations.”I wasn’t sure this weak-looking guy was going to be well received by the fans,” Matsuhana stated on the time. “But we all trust Mr. Kojima because he has so many hits under his belt. He is basically allowed to do what he wants.”One fascinating inspiration for Kojima’s sleight of hand protagonist trick was Terminator 2, with the sport director explaining that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role-reversal within the blockbuster sequel led to him setting up a plot system that may let him shock gamers in a lot the identical manner with Raiden’s introduction.”I really love the movie Terminator 2,” Kojima defined. “That movie was so great because you never knew that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the good cyborg when the movie started. When he appears at the beginning you assume he is bad like the first movie. But then it turns out he is good. I remember being so surprised by that turn of events. When they reached the Plant chapter of the game I wanted them to wonder what was going on. And then they will meet this interesting character named Pliskin who looks and sounds like Snake. But is he Snake?”Ultimately, Kojima’s objective was to play with the expectations of his followers and shock them with some intelligent deception. “In a sequel you have to meet people’s expectations, but you also sort of have to go against them and deceive them I think,” Kojima defined. “This is my Metal Gear, and I can destroy it if I want to.”Two many years later, followers are nonetheless speaking about Metal Gear Solid 2’s numerous themes and concepts, prescient plot, and surprisingly correct predictions of how a web-based world would form society. Metal Gear Solid 2 is an exploration of thoughts management, an overabundance of knowledge, a glut of trivial data with none context to information it earlier than knee-jerk reactions are unleashed. Raiden’s story even follows an identical path to that of Solid Snake’s 1998 journey, and in doing so it gives extremely insightful commentary whereas additionally sometimes breaking the fourth wall, all accomplished with surgical precision.Raiden’s profession within the collection since then has had its ups and downs. In the prequel, Metal Gear Solid 3, the character of Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov bears greater than a passing resemblance to Raiden and serves as one thing of a joke in response to fan backlash of Metal Gear Solid 2. By Metal Gear Solid 4 although, Raiden had been reworked right into a extra tragic character after his seize by the Patriots and use as a check topic for experiments, which reworked him right into a cyborg.A starring position within the criminally-overlooked Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance would put Raiden again within the highlight, permitting him to save lots of the day as soon as extra from a rogue US senator, cyborg mercenaries, and even discover some closure when he reunited with the love of his life, Rose.Raiden’s legacy is intrinsically tied to Metal Gear Solid 2 although, because the plot twist of Solid Snake permitting new blood to take over is one which probably would not have had the identical affect right now that it did again in 2001. In an age of social media, damaged embargoes, and 24/7 livestreams, Metal Gear Solid 2’s massive reveal would probably have been spoiled inside minutes of the sport hitting the streets.20 years later although, Kojima’s surprising transfer to develop the Metal Gear Solid fandom nonetheless stands as a masterclass in misdirection.

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