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.
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!
Tagged: Atsushi Inaba, Etsu Tamari, Hideo Kojima, It's gotta be the 'fro!, Kenji Saito, Kojima Productions, Konami, Metal Gear Rising, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Nice story bro, Playstation 3, PS3, Xbox 360