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. Follow @yoshimura256
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.
He looks pretty naked in the first sketch here. In the second version of the sketches we’ve got him battle-ready…
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.
The sheath was designed by Platinum’s military buff, Muneyuki “Johnny” Kotegawa. Follow @pg_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!
Tagged: Art, Atsushi Inaba, Character Design, Hero Worship, Hideo Kojima, Kenichiro Yoshimura, Kojima Productions, Metal Gear Rising, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Muneyuki Kotegawa, PlatinumGames, Playstation 3, Raiden, Sam, Xbox 360