The Metal Gear series has primarily focused on stealth, but Rising is obviously an action game similar to other Platinum titles. When and why was stealth abandoned as the game changed hands?
This game itself, the whole concept, was having someone other than Kojima create it. Rather than focusing on the stealth, [we're] using the appeal that Raiden has, making an action game, making him appealing. So more than a continuation to a series, a linear next step, our original concept was to take advantage of Raiden's individual appeal as a character. This is how we are thinking of this game.
In Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden had all of his cybernetics removed, and it was kind of a big deal that he was going back to his regular body. Did he have to undergo some serious procedure to get this all back for Rising, or can he add and remove his cybernetic parts now?
First of all, the Raiden that was depicted towards the end [of MGS4] wasn't completely human. He had a cyborg body that looked very human, which was why you could still see bolts, so he was still a cyborg at the end of MGS4. Rising takes place after the events of MGS4, and at the beginning of the game, he has the white armor that he used during MGS4. The reason for this is, in order to provide support for his family, he's working in a PMC [private military company]. He specializes in security, military training, and in case it's needed, he has this white armor.
When Rising was early in development, it was supposed to tell the story of how Raiden turned into a cyborg before Metal Gear Solid 4, but when it changed hands to Platinum, the timeline shifted. Is there going to be any retelling of those story elements? Are we going to see how he transitioned into a cyborg?
As you said, the initial story was to depict the events between MGS2 and 4. When we started working with Platinum Games, they said, "We are going to make an action game and we want to include a lot of crazy elements." In order to do that, it's a better fit to have a story that has more freedom, a story without a definite beginning and end. These are the reasons why the story had to be moved after the conclusion of MGS4.
So as to how he became a cyborg, and why this happened, this is not a story that will be told in this game.
Metal Gear games always contain a lot of secret jokes, Easter eggs like erotic magazines and posters, or the Yoshi dolls in Twin Snakes. Can we expect any of that in Rising?
Well, the director at Platinum Games is a huge fan of the series. He understands a lot of the Metal Gear games very well, so it's not that we made a specific request that these kind of elements are in the game, but he knows the series and thinks they are very important. So, he has been putting a lot of these elements into the game.
Can you offer your perspective on the working relationship between Kojima Productions and Platinum, compared to that with Mercury Steam?
It's a difficult question to answer. First, when we made the decision to work with an outside studio, this came from Kojima. The crucial element to the gameplay is a katana, a Japanese sword, so we have to work with a Japanese developer. From this point, we looked for the Japanese company that makes the best action games. Of course, Platinum has the action games Vanquish and Bayonetta. When we asked them to work with us, fortunately, they agreed to.
With Mercury Steam, I'm not sure how to compare working with them. But what I can say about working with Platinum Games is that they are similar to Kojima Productions; there are certain things they aren't willing to negotiate, and some very set beliefs in regards to what they do best. In that regard, we [communicate] that we have ideas that we want to do and what we believe is good. Of course, this would be ideal if it always worked like, "Yes, we want to do this." But, in most cases, we have different opinions and we clash; we don't want to step back. By having those discussions, those clashes, we continue working together, and since we want the same things in the end, we usually come to an agreement. It's like, if that's what you want, if you're really that convinced, you may have a point. In this fashion, we believe that Metal Gear Rising is becoming a great game as a result of the clashes that we've had.
At the end of the new trailer, there is a quadruped that appears and threatens Raiden. He shares similarities to Grey Fox, aka Cyborg Ninja. Will he be a part of Raiden's story as it develops?
Other than Raiden, we have shown another character in the E3 trailer, another cyborg that also has white armor, Sam. Sam, Raiden, and this doglike character that you mentioned [K-9000], these three characters' relationship will be crucial to the story. So that's the reason that we've present these three characters so far.
In MGS2, Kojima let players control Raiden so that he could elevate Solid Snake into legendary-hero status, so you could see him from another perspective. Now in Rising, Raiden is more powerful than Snake has ever been. Does this somehow play into the narrative, is it alluded to in the game, or does it influence the story or character development of Raiden?
First, we are very aware that Raiden appeared to be a very polemical character. We know that there are very strong opinions from people that don't really like him and people that think he is very weak. We are very aware of that. As to why that happens, in the Metal Gear series, we have this huge hero that is Snake. Raiden appears in comparison, the young apprentice, the one that is learning, the one that has difficulties and doubts about things. This is the role we had in mind for Raiden.
Now Metal Gear Rising takes place during the events after MGS4, so this is no longer the Raiden that was young and had doubts about everything. On the contrary, he has the experience of having fought alongside Snake and other characters. He is now a grown-up man and, in a way, is reborn. He is a hero on his own.
Earlier, you alluded to Raiden's family as motivation for his actions. Do they appear during the storyline and is there any strife involved relative to his existence as a cyborg. Do they find this to be conflicting with his role as a family man?
Well, at the end of MGS4, you see him living happily with his family. Again, in order to provide support for them, to feed them, he decides to use all of his skills and abilities. This is why he joins the PMC. He is careful to choose things that won't directly involve him in combat, such as providing security for VIPs.
Trophies were finally released for MGS4 after many years. Fans are kind of curious why it took so long, or why even bother at this point to go back and put them in.
Well first off, my information might not be as accurate, as that is a project that I wasn't in charge of. Kojima Productions, as a studio, we are focused on developing games, but we have only so many resources. So far, we had been working on Peace Walker, Fox Engine, which is the base for the next, um, for other games. We had been working on Rising internally for a long time, so we were aware that users wanted trophy support, but unfortunately, we didn't have the resources to make that happen. Using the excuse of the 25th anniversary, we decided to finally incorporate trophy support.