Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes, the latest game in Hideo Kojima and Konami’s long-running military drama that debuted in a flashy demo last summer, may not come out at all according to the idiosyncratic director. At least not in its current incarnation, said Kojima. During a roundtable question and answer session recounted by Videogamer, Kojima elaborated on some of the subjects tackled by Ground Zeroes that may make it a risky proposition. Gamers might not buy it and Konami may be reluctant to publish it. It’s not because of grotesque violence, but what Kojima considers to be “mature” themes.
“Video games as a medium haven’t matured much at all in the last twenty-five years,” said Kojima, “It’s always about killing aliens and zombies. Not that I don’t like those kinds of games. They are fun, but I think games have a long way to go before they can mature. Over the past twenty-five years I have tried to work with the Metal Gear series to introduce more mature themes, but it hasn’t gotten there yet. Compared to movies and books it still has a long way to go.”
Ground Zeroes apparently will be the evolutionary step Kojima has been trying to take with Metal Gear Solid for some years.
“That’s precisely what I want to try and tackle with Ground Zeroes. Honestly I’m going to be targeting a lot of taboos, a lot of mature themes that really are quite risky. I’m not even sure if I’m going to be able to release the game, and even if I did release the game then maybe it wouldn’t sell because it’s too much.”
Metal Gear Solid is notorious for its bombastic melodrama. This is a game series where the president of the United States is a super solider clone wearing tentacle armor and one-handed Russian cowboys deliver soliloquies on the nature of war. It has dealt with serious issues within that silliness, though, tackling nuclear proliferation, the rise of private military corporations, genetic manipulation, and child soldiers. Kojima’s statements here suggest that he may be ready to step away from Solid’s more exaggerated characteristics.
Based on the footage of the game shown last summer, where a group of soldiers walk through cages housing what look like young boys, it would seem that Kojima may be returning to the subject of child soldiers in his new game. In a time when violent video games are being more closely scrutinized – and publicized – than ever, Kojima may be right that his game can’t release in its current incarnation.