"Standing on the edge..."

As the Metal Gear Series' narrative edges chronologically closer to the point of origin (the original Metal Gear on the MSX and the canonical debut of Solid Snake), this latest E3 trailer for MGSV: The Phantom Pain has stirred within me some hunches and gut-feelings. Hideo Kojima is conspicuously, yet tactfully, credited at the bottom of this trailer for the directing and editing of this trailer, and the visceral scenes and haunting melody all work together to lead me to a wholly unfounded yet completely alluded-to intuition: that THIS is what the entire Metal Gear saga looked like to Kojima in his own head the entire time. This is probably what it looked like when he conceived of the original Metal Gear game and story, what it looked like while he was pitching the idea to his superiors in the 1980s. When Metal Gear Solid came out in 1997 for the original Playstation, Kojima was quite happy that the advances in 3D graphics technology had finally advanced to the point where he could tell the story closer to the way he had originally intended. Kojima is a self-proclaimed unabashed film buff, and I think a lot of that passion for the cinematic medium has come through in all of his effort since MGS in 1997.

With The Phantom Pain (or at least with this trailer), I feel that the technological platform has enabled Kojima to get incrementally closer to his original vision of an anti-hero with motivations that are so very personal and complex that he has no responsibility or inclination to explain said motivations to anyone. Having cited as much, the only way to get close to understanding why Big Boss is Big Boss is to become Big Boss--to assume the role of the legendary soldier and see life through his eyes. Personally, pressing the play button has potentially never been more poignant.

Hmph.

And we deem to call such an activity "play."

#mgs #kojima #japangamestudies #japanesegameindustry

About the Author

PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.

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