E3 2014: Kojima Responds to Metal Gear Solid 5 Torture Controversy

Hideo Kojima says, "There are things that I just cannot look away from and I need to depict."

This post contains story spoilers for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has responded to the controversy surrounding the torture referenced in this year's Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. During a roundtable interview at E3 this week attended by GameSpot, Kojima said he anticipated some blowback.

"There are things that I really think that we cannot look away from" -- Kojima

"Of course I expected people to react to this, but then again, the theme of the game I'm trying to bring here .. themes such as race, chain of revenge … that's something I don't want to look away from," Kojima said. "I did kind of see it coming that people would react to this. But that doesn't change the message that I want to relay. And there are things that I really think that we cannot look away from."

"Certainly what I'm trying to do is different from just shooting at a zombie that pops up," he added. "I think because I have a very specific theme I want to relate, there are things that I just cannot look away from and I need to depict."

Kojima went on to explain that the sensitive scenes in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes are meant to help players empathize and understand Snake's feelings of "why he feels he needs to go after someone." Asked if he thought Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would also be controversial, Kojima explained that the game's story is structured differently, and that it will feature "barely any" torture scenes.

In Ground Zeroes, torture is referenced in hidden tapes you need to discover. This varies greatly from Grand Theft Auto V, which features a scene where players actively torture someone during a graphic interrogation sequence.

Earlier this year, Kojima said games will never be considered culture if they don't broach sensitive subjects.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently in development for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, though publisher Konami has not announced a release date for the game yet. For more on it, be sure to read GameSpot's previous coverage from E3 this week.

See more coverage of E3 2014 →

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

40 comments
Jgamer125
Jgamer125

"Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently in development for Xbox One and PlayStation 4..." So I guess this won't be coming out for PS3? That's too bad, I won't have a PS4 by then.

KSSuperhero
KSSuperhero

Zero's was such a piece of crap not sure who would buy another one.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Why is torture such a bad issue? Surely torture in a GTA V sense where putting a car battery on a guys nipples or having a guy hanging from a chain surrounded by dead corpses in a horror game is just as much torture as anything? Why the sudden hooar?

forkandplate
forkandplate

I didn't buy GZ because of the dark content and I won't be getting this either. I don't care that he's trying to get us to empathize with snake. He could have accomplished this without the cringe-worthy scenes and audio. 

Foppe
Foppe

"Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently in development for Xbox One and PlayStation "

When did they skip the PS360?

Tatts
Tatts

I trust Hideo 100% Keep up the amazing work! MGS series is the best ever!

PsychoChick966
PsychoChick966

I really don't understand the controversy.  Torture happens.  If you're going to make a game based on life, why would it not be there?  It's appropriate to the story.  I also don't understand why torture is controversial, as opposed to murder, or any of the many, many other horrible things we do in games?  They're GAMES.  I thought by now, most people knew that gamers are capable of playing these roles, or being witness to them in-game, and still be compassionate, empathetic, non-murderous creatures..  You'd think if anybody would get that, it would be gamers.  


So... is this ACTUALLY controversial?  I mean, really, I'm asking where this is coming up, that people are upset about it, or is this the same "controversy" that Far Cry 4 recently "had" (you know, the non-existent stuff that was dreamed up about the character on the cover)?

Heisenberg1
Heisenberg1

Kojima has a seriously inflated image of the power and importance of the story he's telling. 

Deano
Deano

how is torture ingame worse than randomly killing people which appears is majority of games? 

Kaz_Keyblade
Kaz_Keyblade

Why is it ok to torture in Films, TV shows hell even Arts and Music Videos but its a big No No in Video Games?

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

It's funny how things like torture, depiction of women and violence only become a problem when they're in video games.

But these bleeding heart Dbags never say a word when this stuff happens for real around the world. Every day Islamic extremists kill, torture and abuse women but You never see protestors outside an Arab embassy or Mosque.

Everyday children (we're talking toddlers!) in Asia are encouraged to smoke cigarettes. But you don't see a media outcry about it. Nope, go after video games because it was simply depicted.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

I think the fact that everyone has a go at him for including controversial topics just solidifies his points about how people are too quick to close their eyes, cover their ears and yell 'lalala' the second something sensitive appears. I know there was an uproar about the bomb scene in Ground Zeroes so I decided to check it out, and I actually found it far less terrible than everyone was making it out to be. 

If I had to say something negative it would be that all this dark stuff feels slightly out of place in what is usually quite a campy series, but it's Kojima's project and he should be able to do with it what he wishes. I guarantee if this stuff happened in a film no-one would bat an eye. They'd say 'Well, I guess it was rated 18+ for a reason' but in this case I think people are being unfair 'Controversial topics in something rated 18? BLASPHEMY!' I think games should be able to encompass whatever the creators want, and trying to hold back Kojima's vision is the real problem, especially when no-one is forcing you to buy the game.

Sirkrozz
Sirkrozz

Games are not PG-13 movies, thankfully.

This simple fact is enough to make everyone with a pre-XXIst century mentality to keep their mouths shut.

'nuff said.


raddys2001
raddys2001

lol honestly there have been worse things mention in Metal gear like the stories of the BBs and the violent childhoods they had or vamps back story please.  Also Raiden didn't exactly had a peaceful child hood either.

observer98
observer98

Cool dude. He stands up for his work without succumbing to the "politically correct" crowd.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Oh, so you need to depict up-skirt shots?  Can't look away from them, Kojima?

RC-Sev
RC-Sev

I don't know, I'm fine with this.

ogellte
ogellte

@KSSuperhero speak for yourself... i loved it and woulda paid more then 30 bucks for it. and you spelled zeroes wrong.

S4vagecabbage
S4vagecabbage

@Foppe Hmmm...interesting question, word is...Ground Zeroes was a flash in game length in comparison to The Phantom Pain. My theory is, Ground Zeroes was put together as a demo, therefore it fit onto the past gen of consoles. Perhaps it was a "producer style" covert-espionage-infiltration-operation conceived in order to convince more consumers to invest in the necessary hardware to run the full fledged game. This is mere speculation and I could be wrong but this is how it seems to be from my perspective.

Atzenkiller
Atzenkiller

@PsychoChick966  well, i guess it's kinda new in videogames and videogames are the evil anyways. torture in tv is fine though, just not in a cutscene in a videogame

Immortallix
Immortallix

@PsychoChick966 Lucy from IGN made it a bigger controversy herself when she did this big article blowing it out of proportion, trying to say it was sexist because Paz got tortured, completely ignoring the fact that Chico did as well.

sanchango
sanchango

@Deano quick and painless(shooting, for the most part anyways) vs. slow and painful(torture)

X-RS
X-RS

Video games are still the 'new' medium for some generations alive today, they are terrifying!

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

People get pissy and think games are just for kids. Games are a good scapegoat too. "Why did Billy set the cat on fire?" "I think he saw it in a video game."

S4vagecabbage
S4vagecabbage

@DamnILoveGames Campy as hell, f*ckin' rights it is! Videogames are getting a lot more flack for their content than I expected. Movies are just as brutal...occasionally even more so, I think gaming is touchy to a lot of parents considering these contents is because a video game has a player in some way performing such atrocities...for entertainment purposes. Personally I sense a bit of hypocrisy there because it's just entertainment. You'll learn just as much about violence and horrific scenarios from a movie or even a book as you would in a game. Children are able to differentiate fiction and non fiction. If they do not then keep an eye on them/away from videogames until they can prove to you that they are capable. Warnings should be given to kids before they play anything, followed by threats of punishment from the guardians to enforce the warning's details. "Have fun with your game, boy...but listen carefully...it's a game and if you try anything you see in the game, I'll grab the wooden spoon/my belt and you'll have something to think about before you try ANYTHING you see in a stupid game"

shoguntake
shoguntake

@Thanatos2k An entire issue on torture (a very serious thing) is presented in the article and you bring that up?

Immortallix
Immortallix

@soilworker651 they don't even let you post comments with the word "feminazi"in it. Total BS & they know it