Staying True to Metal Gear


Filed: Community, Games, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, PlatinumGames

Hey. I’m Kenichirou Yoshimura, a former designer at PlatinumGames who recently turned freelance. I designed enemies and side characters in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Three days before I was about to leave Platinum to go freelance, without much left to do, I strolled over to the nearby Rising team to see if they needed any help. “I could design something small, if you wanted,” I said. Then I saw their designs – the art style could not have been further from the Metal Gear universe. Immediately, I slammed my fist on the director’s table. “You cannot put this in a Metal Gear game!” I told him. Before I knew it, my last three days at Platinum turned into over half a year.

I’ve played through the entire Metal Gear series and I share the same impressions as so many other fans – Shinkawa-san does unbelievable character and mech design. I collect all the art books like everyone else, (not to mention that I love Z.O.E., too.) so if you had told me I was going to be working on a Metal Gear game someday, I never would have believed you. Joining the team, I was as excited as I was terrified.

The first character I designed was Raiden’s rival, Sam. The director asked for “something samurai-like”, so I roughed out a few ideas.

A rough design for Sam.

A rough design for Sam

A rough design for Sam.

A rough design for Sam.

Another rough design for Sam.

Another rough design for Sam.












He looks pretty naked in the first sketch here. In the second version of the sketches we’ve got him battle-ready…

The near-final rough design.

The near-final rough design.

After thinking over some different styles, we finally settled on going in the direction of that second pass. The key points to look at here are:
-Asymmetrical design. His right arm has been enhanced for faster blade drawing.
-The top of the sheath is structured like a gun from the inside out, again for enhancing blade drawing speed.

I argued with the director for a long time whether to have his base color be black with a white right arm, or be white with a black arm. I wanted the black body/white arm personally, but we opted to go with a white body/black arm to contrast with Raiden’s black color scheme, which I think was the right decision in the end.

Usually we’d be close to the final design at this stage, but to have things be true to Metal Gear, we needed to add that extra layer of detail. Once I got into it, all I can say is the detail is insane! (Every single part has it’s own specialized warnings and labels!) But even going through that process, I can’t say I was an expert on what it meant to be truly “Metal Gear.” I had to keep trying and failing, but by keeping all those Shinkawa-san artbooks close at hand, I was able to accomplish what I set out to do.

Sam's final design.

Sam’s final design.

Sam's final design - waist up.

Sam’s final design – waist up.

Sam's final weapon design.

Sam’s final weapon design.

Sam final design detail.

Sam final design detail.

Sam's weapon "saya" final design.

Sam’s weapon “saya” final design.

The sheath was designed by Platinum’s military buff, Muneyuki “Johnny” Kotegawa.

With these designs, my first priority was making sure that when a fan of Metal Gear plays Rising, they would feel they fit right alongside Shinkawa-san’s. I wanted what I designed to be deserving of the Metal Gear name.

So while Konami gave me the green light on most of my work with their initial check, next in line was always a meeting with Shinkawa-san, where he would tell me his opinion of my work directly (which, of course, scared me to death).

“You’ve set my mind at ease,” he said. I was elated.

The Metal Gear staff work hard to stay true to the Metal Gear world; PlatinumGames works hard to ensure quality gameplay. The chance to work with these two different sides of the project has taught me a lot. I’m truly honored to have been a part of this one!

All that’s left now is hoping you guys pick up the game and have a great time.
Until then… Farewell!

A picture of Sam that Shinkawa-san drew for me in an artbook during our meeting!

A picture of Sam that Shinkawa-san drew for me in an artbook during our meeting!

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14 Comments Add Your Own

silentgig Posted on December 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I cant imagine the amount of pressure mixed with excitement that must have been!

Im so glad you was able to overcome your personal challenges and deliver something that turned out to be onpar with MGS series. I really love the designs youve put forward. Cant wait to see it in the game!

Thank you for sharing!

FAUNA Posted on December 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I love Sam's design, especially his high frequency blade. I feel this character is the perfect fusion of Kojima Productions / Platinum* aesthetic. Oh man, these concept sketches make me want an art book even more! Very cool.

Francisco Riquelme Posted on December 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Sam's design feets perfectly. He also reminds me of Mitsurugi from Soul Calibur. You did so well slamming your fist on the director's table at that moment.

martins Posted on December 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Ocelot: "You are pretty good Yoshimura"

LightningBoltAction Posted on December 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Somebody at Platinum please tell this guy he's LightningBoltAction approved.

And Sam's design is > Raiden's design.

"Kenichirou Yoshimura, I will remember your name." ***sheaths sword*** ***walks away like a cool Samurai***

Demon Dethchase Posted on December 28, 2012 at 5:48 am

Wow! Loving the designs on display! Can we please get an artbook at some point and by artbook I mean a proper one and none of them wee flimsy ones that you normally get when you pre-order a game thats filled with the same old GC renders we've already seen online. No, what I mean is stuff like that's being shown here and more like that with other weapons, characters, locations and other miscellaneous things (emblems for character/side or unused designs that never made it stuff like that). At least 200 pages and I'll be sold.
Thanks and the demo is fantastic, can't wait for the full game

ShinobiOfTheWind Posted on December 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm

THIS is the reason I love PG for , commitment. Not going overboard with this but if you posted these claiming they were Shinkawa-san's , I'd still believe you. We demand an LE artbook Yoshi-kun! ^_^

Oh wait , are these included in the artbook by Shinkawa-san himself in the Konami Style LE of Japan ? Damn! PLEASE SAY YES!

Also , PG , a humble request. Please extend the 5 game deal with SEGA after Anarchy Reigns. I really can't picture ANY team in the industry right now than you guys that can live upto the standards of rebooting Shinobi and making a sequel to Otogi 2. With nextgen around the corner , this would be a fanboy's wet dream.

jmsmel Posted on January 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Love the dedication to the artwork and artists! If only there were more artists like this in the industry.

ZEROINTELIGENCE Posted on January 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Slamming your fist onto the desk, always makes a difference. You'll release all of this as an artbook right?

TheMan Posted on January 18, 2013 at 7:03 am

i have just started taking my art seriously and man if i was approached or whatever to make the art for mgs i would probably black out and all that. i love the art and i love the attention. this is why i love platinum games. they take good care of their own games and takes risks on some. but this just made me appreciate rising a lot more.

العاب براعم Posted on April 29, 2013 at 8:42 am

Whoa! Adoring your types on present! Can we you need to get an artbook eventually in addition to by means of artbook Come on, man an effective a single in addition to undertake and don't tiny flimsy people that you generally get whenever you pre-order a casino game that is full of the same kind of GC makes we have now previously noticed on the internet. Simply no, why is things like that is certainly being demonstrated below and even more that way using various other items, figures, locations and also other miscellaneous factors (emblems intended for character/side as well as unmetabolised types that in no way managed to get things like that). A minimum of 200 pages in addition to I will be marketed.
Many thanks and the test is amazing, are unable to watch for the entire sport.

free game traienrs Posted on April 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Metal Gear is my favorite game. You have written a great article.

Game Trainers Posted on September 21, 2013 at 1:44 am

Wow my favorite game man played the game more than a year now but still enjoy it

Endre Osborne Posted on July 28, 2014 at 5:13 am

I kind of wanna know how the original concepts looked, but the final designs were definitely great!
I look forward to seein more of your works!

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