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.

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