MGS2’s Raiden Designed by Japanese Women

I watched Metal Gear Saga Vol. 1 last night. This is the bonus DVD you receive if you pre-ordered Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence in North America. The DVD contains a short documentary about the two Metal Gear games and the three Metal Gear Solid games, including an interview with game designer, Hideo Kojima. The interviews contain a fair number of spoilers if you haven’t played the games. I have to “forget” what Kojima said about MGS2: Sons of Liberty, as I haven’t played the game properly. Yet. Must definitely do that before I play Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The DVD also contains trailers for Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

One of the most interesting bits of (new to me) information was the fact that Kojima and his design team conducted a focus group composed of non-gaming women as part of pre-production work for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. They wanted to find out what the ladies liked or disliked about such games. The consensus amongst the women, many of whom were junior high school students, was that they didn’t like playing games with old men. They would never buy such a game with an old, ugly guy as the hero, they said. The team were disappointed by this response; I guess they wanted their game to appeal to non-gamers as well. Kojima went to character designer, Yoji Shinkawa and told him to design the main character based upon the women’s feedback. And so Raiden, the main playable character in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, was created.

How funny! Raiden is exactly what I would expect if a bunch of Japanese women got together to design a videogame leading man. I know a lot of gamers hated Raiden. They were disappointed because they were not able able to play as Solid Snake, and Raiden’s appearance was “too effeminate” and delicate-looking. Whatever. I think Raiden looks cool. Bishounen FTW.

  3 comments for “MGS2’s Raiden Designed by Japanese Women

  1. 11 March 2006 at 20:55

    Hehe. I didn’t know about the focus group. But Shinkawa himself is interviewed about Raiden’s appearance in the Making of MGS2 DVD that shipped with that game in Europe. Apparently Kojima came to him (seemingly out of the blue) and decreed that the lead character must be a beautiful man. (I do believe I heard him use the b-word.) Shikawa’s response was basically ” … ookay, boss.”.

    Now that you mention it, the bid to appeal to female gamers explains a lot about MGS2 besides Raiden’s hair. The prominence given to EE and Olga. The absence of a useless screamer like Meryl. And *sigh* Rose nagging her boyfriend (over the telephone!) about their relationship.

    MGS3 keeps up a pitch to women (with [minor spoiler redacted] and the Boss), but it seriously takes the piss out of Raiden. I would urge you to play MGS2 before starting 3, but then I started 1 after I was partways through 2 and that turned out to be a fun way to do things. Just rest assured that anything that confuses you about MGS3 will be, um, a lot more confusing after you’ve finished MGS2. I draw your attention to the final line of the theme song.

    Oh, and complete this BRAIN TEASER:

    METAL GEAR is to GODZILLA as
    SHAGOHOD is to ?

    :)

  2. skanderberg
    13 March 2006 at 02:17

    ahha hahhaa ahahaa you like Raiden.
    Yeah hehe wheres your homo hentai girl!
    Ehehe its funny but I could see my granny liking Raiden, in a hes so warm yet lethal kind of way. And that awful swimming underwater bit is totally a girls water fantasy. It all makes sense. (maybe thats why MGS3 was going back in time to introduce a young Snake)

    I am gutted that Kojima would yield so much to a focus group, mind a lot was riding on the game.

    Brin is the moral of the story, women shouldnt make games?

    :D (just messing amigo)

  3. 13 March 2006 at 08:28

    I will have you know that I have absolutely no yaoi hentai at all. I don’t dig the yaoi, and I definitely don’t dig the “OMG squee” behaviour of the silly yaoi fangirls.

    Anyhow, I think the moral of the story is that Raiden is no match for Solid Snake.

    Oh, and apparently Raiden (“Jack”) and Rosemary were named after Jack and Rose from the Titanic movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Having said that, it’s interesting that Big Boss’s real name was revealed to be “Jack”… Hm…

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