Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If the MGS4 product packaging was honest…

Everyone knows Metal Gear Solid 4 has a ton of cut scenes, over 90minutes worth by some estimates. So why are Sony and Konami trying to pass this self-congratulatory vision of a single man off as a video game?

It’s more of a movie that requires you to interact with it than a game. Not so much because of the in game cinematics but more so because it’s whole creation and existence is ultimately the vision of just one man: Hideo Kojima. Much like a film, where the director’s vision forms the overall look, feel, and message does this game creator’s vision reign over the final product.
Video games are supposed to be about the player. Perhaps this is a breakthrough concept in defining what the video game genre is, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually enhancing the experience of gaming. Personally, I like a game that you can pick up, play for a while, and disengage from. Even if that game is a sequel in a series or part of some larger franchise. Take Halo for example. I’m not saying Halo is the be all end all of gaming but it’s a fun game that you can play, at any point in the series, and enjoy without following all the character development stages or larger storylines. Some might consider this a flaw in the storytelling that Halo attempts but I think that balancing plot, art direction, and interactivity is the key to making a great video game.
Metal Gear isn’t about the average gamer. It’s geared towards fans of the series who know all the characters and twists and turns. Fans who I would guess would ultimately enjoy this game if it were simply a collection of short movies without any interactivity at all. This is Kojima’s vision. It’s your choice if you choose to be a part of it, but he’s going to do what he wants – controller in your hand or otherwise.