Blizzard warnings were in effect Tuesday in Colorado, where the temperature plunged more than 50 degrees in less than 24 hours and the wind chill approached zero. Wyoming got more than a foot of snow, and forecasters said hurricane-force blasts of frigid air were possible in Utah. The culprit is a deep dip in the jet stream that swung west and pulled arctic air far into the country. As it collides with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, strong storms and tornadoes are possible in the Great Plains and Texas.
Jet stream? Maybe Jetstream Sam. Play as Sam and learn how he came to join the Desparado clan in the second release of Metal Gear Rising DLC available today on XBL and PSN!
Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Etsu Tamari from Konami’s Kojima Productions, I was the scenario writer for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
The MGR blog posts here are mainly for the development staff at PlatinumGames, as you can probably tell by the shining “P” up at the top. Since this is a collaborative work, however, I’m making myself an honorary member of the team.
And why not? I mean, I have a seat with my name on it at Platinum’s office. I haven’t shown my face there recently, but for a while I was spending at least one night a week in Osaka. Around November, I think I spent more time over there than in Tokyo. I still lose to our cutscene director, though; he moved there.
When I explain all that travel to people, they usually ask me, “Isn’t the scenario supposed to be finished a little earlier than that?” I always tell them a game scenario isn’t something you just write and then never touch again. Well, depending on the person or the project, I’m sure sometimes you finish writing a scenario and are told not to mess with it again, but that’s not how we do things with the Metal Gear series. That’s not how we could do things, in order to have Metal Gear stay Metal Gear.
Even if a game has a good story, if the gameplay sucks, it’s shit. Making gameplay interesting requires a repeated process of creating something and tearing it down. For example, the game’s maps might look interesting on paper, but once you try working them into the game itself, you might realize they’re boring. That happens a lot. Written plans will never convey how the game truly feels, and as such, will never be an indication as to whether or not a game is actually fun.
So you can write plans on paper or in excel, and you can have meetings brainstorming all the ideas you like. The results, however, are equivalent to air; you can’t give substance to something just by arguing and discussing it. With making games, I’ve realized you just won’t understand how something is until it’s actually in front of you.
Whenever I had doubts when writing, I’d look to this: the scenario for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Next to it is part of Rising’s Abkhazia chapter.
If your game doesn’t have a strong link between the scenario and gameplay, obviously making a change to the gameplay shouldn’t affect the scenario. With the Metal Gear Series, however, this is a different story.
All the background info you get from each codec, every line said from each enemy, everything needs to be carefully integrated into the game. Only through this can the player actually feel like he’s Raiden, and has entered the world of Metal Gear Rising.
So even after you’re done writing the main story, you have to stick around and write codecs and enemy dialogue as the game is being made. If any changes are made to the game itself, you make adjustments, think of codec text that might better fit the situation, talk things out with planners or designers whenever you run into any trouble… it takes a lot of persistence to make it right. That’s why I kept finding myself in Osaka, over and over again.
In the end though, thanks to those business trips, and to Saito-san’s undying love for all things Metal Gear, I think we made a game that had a perfect fusion of PlatinumGames and Metal Gear.
In the pre-release events we’ve been doing around Japan and North America, we’ve received a lot of feedback that this game lives up to the Metal Gear name. If you’re a fan, you won’t be disappointed! The game is also full of the PlatinumGames brand excitement and has a story you don’t need to be up on the rest of the series to enjoy. For Platinum fans and action fans alike, this could be a good first step into the Metal Gear universe.
As crazy as it sounds, I actually got asked in an interview a few days ago, “Why does this game feel so Metal Gear?” I could only respond, well, that’s because it is Metal Gear!
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is out in stores now! Be sure to check the game out yourself!
Hey. My name is Takahito Washisaka, I was in charge of background graphics in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I’m feeling nervous from excitement thinking about how close Rising is to its release now. Before long you’ll all be able to check it out! I’m thinking about sneaking into a local retailer when the game hits stores, but something tells me I’d run into the rest of the development team there.
One word that caused me a lot of trouble while working on the background stages of MGR was “balance.” Balance between what and what, you say?
Cutting mechanics have undoubtedly been a key focal point of Rising’s development, but among Raiden’s abilities there also exists something called the “ninja run.” The ninja run basically allows Raiden to move at an increased speed while automatically overcoming any obstacles in his path. Something like this ends up having a tremendous influence on our work in background design; add to this the necessity for this game to run at 60 fps and suddenly the ninja run takes a considerable amount of attention.
Cutting mechanics, ninja run, 60fps… balancing these different elements and deciding how to go about creating MGR’s graphics and stages resulted in a fair deal of stress for the background team (and especially me).
To put things simply, the ability players have in Rising to cut even background objects apart sometimes made adjusting the stage so the player didn’t make dead ends for themselves a monumental task. If we toned down the cutting concept, however, the result would be an overall less satisfying action game with less challenging stages. As the ninja run is designed to automatically scale obstacles, the right programming will solve some problems, but using simple shapes in stage design also improves players ability to get through stages smoothly. Only, the more we dumb down stage design, the duller Rising’s look, not to mention a critical decrease in the realism of the game.
Hypothetically, even if we were able to make stages full of complicated structures that could all be shred to pieces and smoothly sped through, the CPU would never be able to process the images fast enough to keep the game at 60 fps. We would have to continually cut the quality of graphics until we could release the necessary CPU strain… but that doesn’t sound like an ideal option either.
That’s why the word “balance” became so important.
What balance is necessary to maintain the right amount of enjoyment and challenge within the game…? Carefully considering both the game’s system and the world it takes place in, what should be the right level of graphic quality…?
The margin for error here is razor thin. Each aspect is extremely important. Through the cooperation between our team’s background artists and programmers, however, I think we were able to find this balance in Rising. You might have been able to see this for yourself in the promotional videos we’ve released until now, or the game’s demo. Nevertheless, I suggest seeing the whole package after the game’s commercial release.
I don’t want to write too much, so I’ll post some videos for you to take a peek at.
Augment mode not only tells you where the enemy is located with easy to understand visuals, it also highlights objects that Raiden is able to cut with a fuzzy blue tint. (If you could cut everything on screen, things would just be a complete mess of blue… another reason why balance is so important).
You’re free to play without AR mode and figure out what you can and can’t cut among background objects by yourself, though personally I recommend diligent use of it when entering a new area. This way you can confirm where the enemies are and what you can cut through, helping you to adjust your strategy to either sneak through the stage or rush in full force.
There are also a few stages we’ve prepared that will be difficult to get through without AR mode’s assistance. When you’re stuck, don’t forget it.
(This entry was posted on the Japanese PlatinumGames blog site on February 19th.)
Finally, it’s here. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a completely new Metal Gear born from a collaboration between Kojima Productions and PlatinumGames, is on sale now!!
Did you get a copy? Pre-order arrive safely? I’m so anxious about the game’s release I think I’m going to loiter around game stores here in Japan until someone calls the cops on me. Hi, it’s Kenji Saito, the director.
When development started, I remember how nervous and excited I was to make the move from programmer to director. I didn’t know what would lie ahead, but I was ready to take on anything. Now two years have passed since I shaved that katana slash in my head, all in the name of Rising.
At Rising’s wrap party, I had a short conversation with PG’s president, Minami-san.
Minami-san: I’m tired of that haircut. Got anything else?
Me: How about a mohawk?
Minami-san: I like a man in a mohawk.
Me: (Seriously? Can I?!)
We had our fair share of difficulties to overcome during production, but here we are, witnessing the game’s release. The day a game goes on sale really is a special day to the people who made it. It’s a day when something you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into for months and months finally reaches the public. Honestly, back when I was a programmer, I would be so relieved just to have the game make it to release. I would think, “It’s finally out. Now I can relax.” Obviously though, I realize this is the real starting line now; the moment Metal Gear Rising reaches you, and we receive your feedback after you played it!
Still, I have confidence this game can satisfy both fans of the Metal Gear series and of Platinum brand action. Cut away in Rising like you never have before. Cut until there’s not an inch left to be cut!
Now that development’s finished, you can find me on a luxury cruiser, surrounded by beautiful babes, an exotic, fruit-rimmed cocktail in one hand, laptop checking some Rising reviews in the other…
As if. Development is not over. Development is far from over!
Right now, we’re working on DLC that we hope can give you a deeper glimpse into Rising’s universe. I’ll write a little something here that’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
DLC1: VR Missions!
Rising’s first DLC is a pack of 30 special VR missions: some for Raiden, and some testing your skills with the dwarf gekko.
VR Mission #19: Raiden takes on cyborgs with nothing but his fists in this street-styled VR mission. To change things up, this mission actually features a fixed camera that follows you along as you progress through the stage, like an old school platformer. Watch for your chance to parry counter and slam your enemies with an iron fist!
VR Mission #21: Dwarf Gekko Training. This whole stage is one long, dark path.
Your VR mission: control the dwarf gekko and incapacitate all enemy cyborgs without getting caught.
DLC2: Sam’s Story!
Here are a few shots of Rising’s second DLC, a side story about Sam. There’s not so much I can say for now, but just know that playing as Sam will pack a different punch than when playing with Raiden.
DLC3: LQ-84i’s story!
We’re currently right in the middle of making this one. Stay tuned!
The characters you get to play as in these side stories offer a different experience to what you get when playing as Raiden, and allow you to see a little further into the world of Metal Gear Rising. Hope you’ll check them out.
(This blog was posted on the Japanese PlatinumGames MGR blog on Feb. 21, 2013)
On Monday, February 18, Konami held a launch event as part of the Metal Gear Rising World Tour. Fans were able to get autographs at GameStop, then enter a VIP party at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe where there was a special event in store. The incredibly talented artists on the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance soundtrack would be performing all of the vocal tracks from the game… LIVE!
Along with our friends at Konami/Kojima Productions and IGN, we’ve filmed this incredible show, recorded great sound, and are happy to give you a front row seat for a special live performance of the first truly metal Metal Gear.
Stay tuned to this blog for behind the scenes information on how we made this amazing night happen.
METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE LIVE IS
and secret special guest Howard Jones.
Nita Strauss – Guitar
Johnny-Death Young – Guitar
Jussi Karvinen – Bass
Jamie Christopherson – Keyboards
Ralph Alexander – Drums
Damien Rainaud – Drums (Red Sun)
Logan Mader/Jamie Christopherson – Musical Directors
Wedge Brannon – Front of House Engineer
Mikey Lopez – Lighting
Micah Electric – Back Line Tech
Andrew Ferrara – Back Line Tech
Evelina Christopherson – Band/Event Coordinator
All songs written by Jamie Christopherson
It Has to Be This Way, Collective Consciousness, The Stains of Time, The Only Thing I Know for Real, Red Sun, A Stranger I Remain
Written by Jamie Christopherson and Logan Mader
War Still Rages Within
Written by Jamie Christopherson, Pete Crossman, James Chapple, David Kelly, Graeme Cornies
Lyrics by Jamie Christopherson
Hi guys, this is K here, the environmental concept artist for Metal Gear Rising. It is my great pleasure to share with you some of the work done for this long awaited game!!
Having played most of the games in the Metal Gear series, I was shocked when asked to do environmental concept designs for Metal Gear Rising. I was overjoyed and extremely nervous at the same time because of the immense reputation of this very franchise!
Being a joint production with Konami there were many hiccups from the start. I came across the environmental designs that Konami did before Rising became a joint venture with Platinum Games. The direction was futuristic, very much more than it was in MGS4.
After Platinum took over the development of the project, the direction was shifted to a more modern look. Director Saito-san wanted to shift away from the direction of the previous series, he wanted something more realistic and modern without stepping into the realms of the cyberpunk. The story is pretty much set in non-military locations, meaning that I had to come up with something that would fit the Metal Gear universe and yet be believable. For example, in one of the stages there is this factory(like you always get in MGS), in the usual sense the factory would have been gritty with alot of metal, metal walls, rusty floors etc. Instead, I chose to work with concrete and stainless steel to give it a non-military feel, as well as using LED light panels that glow from underneath for the workshops, just stopping short of making it look all too sci-fi. By working within the philosophy of modern architecture and the characteristics of the Metal Gear Universe, I tried to create a sleek, functional and believable modern world for Raiden to be in.
Of course it wasn’t all smooth sailing from the start. There was great confusion over the art direction of the game initially. Konami seemed keen to try out a new look while Platinum having made several fantasy titles, the style was somehow open and up for grabs. Back then I certainly did think that it would be safer to just fall back on the general direction of the previous MGS titles. For illustration purposes, I have included two ‘before and after’ designs.
Before: This earlier design shown below is bordering on fantasy.
After: A simpler, down-to-earth look more suitable for a military corporation.
Before: Earlier design of the rooftop deck.
After: Final design is of a more realistic and functional look.
Looking at the difference from earlier designs, it has definitely come a long way from when the project was first announced! Being a project with so much hype and excitement, as well as considering the dynamics of two studios, each with their own distinct individuality, I could see that Rising could have easily been pulled into a totally different direction. It is nice to look back to when nothing was fixed(when i was pulling my hair), and now looking at the final direction we settled on I hope we managed to create a believable world for Rising.
It has been a pleasure sharing my work and thoughts, I thank you for your time and please sit tight til the release in February!
This is Naoto Tanaka, music director for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Rising’s soundtrack is going to be released alongside the game, and I can’t wait for both. For this entry, I’d like to talk about the music we made for the game.
The Metal Gear series was one of the first games to adopt Hollywood-style production methods. The soundtracks for these games are like something out of a movie; one of the reasons why the experience is so immersive. For Rising, we went to Jamie Christoperson, another composer who who just happens to reside in the apex of the movie making world.
Listen to the Tokyo Game Show trailer and I think you’ll be able to hear how talented he is:
Those who have played the demo might also remember the music that played in the town or on the coastline. Jamie made unique pieces for this scene using traditional instruments from Abkhazia, a country facing the Black Sea, and the setting for this chapter.
For the battle scenes, a pivotal part of any action game, I decided to the game needed to switch gears from movie soundtracks to metal. Jamie was able to find a powerful ally to join our music production team: Logan Mader, original guitarist for the metal band Machine Head. I’m not especially well-versed in metal myself, but I know the name Machine Head, and I think his cooperation in the game’s music might come as a surprise to a few metal fans.
So don’t just expect Hollywood-style cinematic tracks; Rising also comes with enough metal (complete songs, with lyrics and vocals) to fill an entire CD. I think the vocal songs are powerful and add to the appeal of the game.
At this point, we were sure the game had a solid soundtrack, but we wanted to take the metal tracks a step further. We decided to remix the vocal tracks to make them really fit the game.
One of the artists we came across was a dubstep outfit known as the Maniac Agenda. Their ability to intelligently remix metal tracks, coupled with their love for video games, made them perfect for the project. If you ever listen to their original material, you’ll see that it doesn’t stray that far from the sound of their Rising remixes.
I also decided to have some remixes handled internally at PG as well. Akira Takizawa, a member of our sound team, was who I tapped, as I knew he’d be perfect for the job. One of his remixes, which you can hear during the fight with LQ-84i, has already received praise from those who’ve tried the demo. While the game isn’t out yet, those positive comments have put me at ease.
As you can see, the music of Rising couldn’t have been possible with just one person. It was a team effort, and each member’s unique style came together to create the music of the game.
Finally, a bit about the soundtrack CD themselves. There are two different CD releases scheduled. The first is the Metal Gear Rising OST, part of the limited edition package, which features the instrumental tracks from the game. The second CD is called “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Vocal Tracks,” which like its name implies, features all the vocal tracks from the game. The contents of both CDs have no overlap, so only by getting both soundtracks will you be able to complete a full collection of music from the game. I’m sorry if this is sounding like a sales pitch, but I wanted to make sure fans aren’t misled by the multiple packages and make the right purchases. There are plenty of times that a lack of information has led me to purchase the wrong soundtrack myself.
I hope you enjoy the game’s music and, of course, the game itself! Nothing would make me happier as a composer.
During development, I started to imagine how my daily surroundings would look after being sliced up a bit. Which is worrisome, I know… My name’s Masaki Yoritomi (call me Tomi), I’m in charge of character modeling.
For this entry I’d like to talk about Rising’s most original feature: characters that you can dismember part by part, limb by limb.
Those of you who’ve played the demo I’m sure already know this, but Raiden’s sword can be freely manipulated to cut up almost everything in almost any thinkable way possible. When you cut something in two, however, two new surfaces form from the area you sliced. This means, we have to provide possible surfaces for any kind of cut. For example, take this watermelon here…
Slash! One slice and we get to see the typical insides of a watermelon.
But adjust the settings a tad and…
Slash! Ummmm…? What the…
By changing a few figures, we can switch the surface to anything we want. In the example above, the formula for horizontal cuts give us an orange and vertical cuts give us a watermelon. These kinds of settings normally wouldn’t be necessary for a watermelon, as it is a sphere where the insides look the same no matter what angle you cut it from. Enemy characters, on the other hand, are a different story. Take a look at the following pictures and see if you can guess the enemy?
Here is your answer:
When we start dealing with mechs and cyborgs, we need to prepare different surfaces for each part of the body. If we cut the head, we need to get something that looks like a cutaway of the head. We also need to do the same with the arms, the legs, the hands… And you need to prepare different surfaces for different angles of cuts as well! The insides should look different depending on whether you cut vertically, horizontally, sideways, and so on.
Can you just imagine how many possibilities do we have to make?!
Eventually, we realized we’d have to not only design what characters looked like from the outside, but from the inside as well. We’d spend late nights discussing things like “How should this guy should look like this from this angle?” and “There should be a bone here, right?”
“Umm… this should be like this here. These parts here should go here…”
Playing the game normally, a lot of these surfaces would be hard to notice, but we were rather particular on how each detail was designed. But now that Metal Gear Rising’s release is getting so close that you could do a countdown by seconds, be sure to check out the enemies’ insides when you play the game, too!
Nice to meet you, I’m Tetsuro Noda, Lead Programmer for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
When making a game, game designers (particularly the director) bring ideas to artists, who turn these ideas into materials for the game. The programmer’s role in development is to take these materials and, following the game designers’ plans, structure them into the game.
At a glance, the seeming complexity of stringing together a lot of operations and formulas may have a few of you thinking, “Wow! Programmers are pretty neat!” The real work we do, however, isn’t really as complex as you’d make it out to be. Some of the stuff that we do does require some critical thinking, but it’s not like every programmer does nothing but intense coding all the time. I’m not good at any of that complicated stuff myself, so I just toss it to other programmers on the team.
Then there might be some of you who think we all just pound away at our keyboards all day in complete silence, but feel free to remove that thought from your head. In reality, that would slow things down more than it would be helpful.
So we don’t do a lot of complex of work and we don’t live in front of our keyboards. “Then what do you do?!” would be the next logical question. Like I mentioned above, our job is to take what the artists give us and put it into the game, following the game designers’ guidelines, but we only follow these guidelines closely, not exactly. It wouldn’t be as interesting if we just worked in everything as we’re told, without adding our own touch. (But I don’t want you to make the mistake that all we do is protest everything the director asks of us… The director’s ideas form the base; we simply rework some of the details.) Still, as we are changing things on our own, we have to explain ourselves to the game designers and artists pretty often. Sometimes we even have to try and stand our ground against game designers and artists that pull a lot more weight than we do. Every now and then you can see droopy-headed programmers returning to their seats after losing a dispute.
But I digress… The alpha and omega of Metal Gear Rising, the ability to cut through enemies at any point and angle, was also responsible for giving a few programmers a heap of trouble. I’ve asked two of them to speak about that here, so let’s see what they have to say.
Our first guest is Takashi Wagatsuma, who programmed Blade Mode:
Takashi Wagatsuma and Programming Blade Mode
The guidelines I received for Blade Mode were touched upon in the director’s blog entry, but to go over them again, they were as follows:
Have a heavy focus on response, allowing the player to shred the enemy to pieces with their katana.
Let the player be able to carefully adjust the positioning and angle at which they want to cut.
Give enemies a weak point that, when cut by the player, gives the player a chance steal energy from the area they cut (a.k.a. “Zandatsu).
Actualizing these requests involved some heated discussion among the team and a lot of trial and error. For example:
-How the left and right sticks should be used to control character movement, camera movement, and the angle and positioning of your katana.
-Should strikes in Blade Mode follow after the player’s motions, or should they be focused on camera direction?
-When entering Blade Mode, should the camera angle shift to where the player is facing, or to focus on the enemy? Or should it not shift at all?
-When the player uses Blade Mode to cut several things successively, in order to not overstrain the game’s system, what minimum amount of time do we need to allow between strikes?
The controls we settled on were as follows:
The right stick in Blade Mode is used to rotate the angle at which Raiden will cut, while the left stick is used to adjust where Raiden is facing and the cut’s elevation. Using both sticks allows the player complete control over where to slice their sword.
Bringing the stick from the outside to the center (by releasing your hold) will cause Raiden to slice across the line appearing on the screen. Moving the stick in a direct line will cause Raiden to slice after a certain distance has been input; the □ and △ (X and Y for 360) will cause horizontal and vertical strikes, respectively.
When the player enters Blade Mode, we wanted our priorities to be on letting the player swiftly cut where they aim. To do this, we made sure the first strike in Blade Mode always follows the path displayed by the line on the player’s screen.
Furthermore, pushing down on the left stick while in Blade Mode will cause the camera to stay fixed in position and enable the player to move Raiden.
Multiple strikes don’t require line direction input to pass through the center of the stick; moving the stick in directions slightly off center will still cause Raiden to slice.
Decisions such as where the camera should go when the player enters Blade Mode caused arguments that continued on into the final stages of development. Several different views existed on how Blade Mode should work, and determining what to adopt into the system proved to be a tremendous task.
Well? I think you can surmise from his tone that he’s lost his share of disputes. What he wrote, though, is what really goes on, and by having these disagreements over and over, eventually we end up with something a lot more interesting than we had before.
I feel sorry for the battle scars he had to endure along the way, but I believe you’ll be able to see the results of his efforts when you play the game and experience how thoroughly developed Blade Mode really is.
Our second guest is a system programmer, Tsuyoshi Odera. Odera-san is behind Rising’s concept of being able to cut any part of an enemy. His involvement is a little different from Wagatsuma-san’s; while Wagatsuma-san stays out in the open, Odera-san works more behind the scenes. Odera-san might be close to everyone’s idea of what a programmer is.
A Programmer/Dismembering Specialist: Tsuyoshi Odera.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance uses PlatinumGames’ own game engine. At first, our engine wasn’t capable of doing something like cutting through an opponent anywhere, so I had to make it so that it could. I looked at official trailers and other game data from Metal Gear Solid: Rising and tried to make our engine fit with what I saw.
I assumed it wouldn’t be so difficult implementing this concept into the system, and in actuality it only took around three months until we were able to make objects that could be cut. Just implementing the concept, however, doesn’t make it a game. This freedom to cut anywhere turned out to use an amount of memory far greater than any other processes in the system. In order to implement the concept into the game smoothly, we adjusted the process so it would be distributed over multiple frames. We calculated the speed at which Raiden swings his sword and made sure the process would be finished before the end of the swing, and it would feel right to the player. This, along with a few other techniques, helped us to create a kind of cutting freedom that players haven’t often been able to experience in other action games until now.
The way he writes just screams “programmer!” Don’t you think? It’s probably that cool, stoic tone he has. Contradictory to the cool guy he’s trying to play off here, however, he clashed opinions with other members of the team quite frequently. I can still remember him yelling “You can’t cut that much!”and “You can’t cut that off!” and “You’re cutting too much!!” The memories.
Thank you for your time, you two!
If we were to introduce any other programmers in here, I’m sure they’d sound more or less the same: plenty of stories about the all out warfaredisagreements that happen around the office. I’ve heard enough cries of “What…?!” and “You can’t actually expect me to do that…!” for two lifetimes.
Sorry! Think I wrote a little too much. Thanks for reading everything. When Rising is released, be sure to take a moment of silence for everyone on our team who died so that you could play it (aside: no one actually died).
The Bayonetta developer commentaries make the final turn as we enter Chapter 16 and Hideki Kamiya discusses the collaboration between Soundelux and PlatinumGames, from sound design to voice actors, in Part 56!