The Metal Gear Solid series is one of the longest-running franchises in gaming, and also one of the most varied. It features compelling storytelling, wildly twisting narratives, highly memorable characters, and modern gameplay features. Most of the Metal Gear games have all been about stealth, strategy, and tactics, but one relatively recent entry in the series was about pure, blood-pumping action. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (I know, we’ll talk about the goofy title, shortly) starred the character Raiden, who was first introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Even though it was a drastic departure from what fans of the series were used to, it nevertheless won people over with its outrageous story and fast-paced fighting. Now, those same fans are wondering when we’re going to see Metal Gear Rising 2, an eventual sequel. Is it even in the works? Could we see it for this console generation, or even in 2017? Is there a release date on the horizon?
If you want to truly enjoy the Metal Gear Solid games, you need to be able to embrace the serious right along with the absurd. As much as the stories told here involve serious emotions for its well-drawn characters, some of the dramatic arcs are absolutely ludicrous. However, this isn’t a drawback; it’s one of the endearing features of the series that Hideo Kojima has overseen and directed for so much of his career. The man has risen to fame right alongside the series that he’s influenced. Now, the Metal Gear Solid franchise is one of the most highly-lauded in all of gaming history.
What a shame, then, that Hideo Kojima’s break from development studio Konami was almost as storied as the games he’s directed.
Though we’ll speak more on it below, the split between Kojima and Konami is a heartbreaking story. We’re not just talking about for the future of the Metal Gear games—that IP is owned by Konami and we know that it’s going to be continuing, even without the father of the series. A great majority of the heartbreak felt from this is for fans of the series. Those who know that the franchise will not be the same without the person whose influence has helped to shape it over the course of decades.
Still, that hasn’t quelled overall optimism or demand—one the true, undeniable signs of a game’s success. Metal Gear Rising might not have been the smash hit that the numbered games in the series were, but that hasn’t stopped it from developing a rather sizeable cult following.
But is that demand enough to coax another sequel out of Konami, whose attachment to the Metal Gear Solid franchise isn’t even all that certain? We’ll talk about that below, and also whether or not we should speculate too heavily without any evidence to back it up.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, you play as Raiden. He’s a former member of a fictional US Special Forces group (FOXHOUND, which has immense relevance in the Metal Gear series) who wields a katana sword. Players first met him in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where he had the surprising turn as the game’s primary protagonist.
However, while that game largely revolved around sneaking, stealth, espionage, and political plot points, Metal Gear Rising is all about action. Quite a lot of time has passed since we first met Raiden, and though we met him once again in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the character has changed quite a lot.
Metal Gear Rising is a single-player game, much the same as the rest of the series. It features a linear narrative, a fantastic soundtrack, and memorable characters. The game was stuck in “development hell” for several years, primarily due to uncertainty about how to execute the blazing-fast gameplay that it would become known for, but it was eventually released after receiving many changes, corrections, and improvements at the hands of Platinum Games.
Gameplay & Story
The story itself kicks all kinds of ass, but once again, you need a healthy suspension of disbelief to really get into it. In the years since we last saw Raiden—four years since Metal Gear Solid 4—he’s returned as a katana-wielding cyborg. The injuries that he sustained over the course of his life have left him with very little of his human body, and instead, he’s almost entirely machine.
The story that’s told in Metal Gear Rising is fittingly high-tech. Following the destruction of global mega-faction The Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 4, this speculative future Earth has broken down into a wide collection of warring private military groups. Nanomachines, cyber technology, and walking tanks (the “metal gears” of the franchise’s namesake) are commonplace, and the various factions present in the game largely compete by trying to sabotage each other’s tech.
Raiden is an enforcer for one such organization, and the supporting cast of characters that accompany him on missions are coming collectively from the same side of this conflict. That helps the entire story to be relatively more straightforward than we’re used to in a Metal Gear game. The enemy factions, Desperado, is appropriately comprised of memorable villains, from Jetstream Sam to Sundowner to Mistral.
Fighting is performed in lightning-quick maneuvers and much of the fun involves using Raiden’s sword to hack his robotic enemies into bits. The game is renowned for controlling quite well, making the combat some of the best that you’ll find in the third-person action game genre.
So, with all of these high marks complimenting Metal Gear Rising, shouldn’t it be inevitable that we’re going to see a sequel?
Konami & Kojima
The answer to the above question, frustratingly, is that we have no idea whether or not we’re going to get a sequel to Metal Gear Rising. No matter that the game was well-received and has a massive cult following, the obstacles to a sequel’s development run deeper than feasibility.
Hideo Kojima was more than just a video game director. He is largely considered to be the “father” of the entire Metal Gear franchise, from the series’ origins back on the Nintendo Entertainment System, to the surge of new popularity in the PlayStation’s Metal Gear Solid, to the much-lauded final entry in the saga, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. It’s one hell of a legacy to have, stretching from the roots of the gaming industry into the fresh experiences that are being designed for current consoles.
For the past few years, it’s been no small secret that Konami—the studio responsible for publishing and distributing Metal Gear games—and Kojima weren’t seeing eye to eye. He had the tendency to inflate games’ budgets, delay their progress, but always put out titles that had an exceptional amount of polish. They were cinematic experiences, designed to be flawless and unique. During the tail-end of Metal Gear Solid 5’s production, those internal conflicts came to a head.
Kojima’s name was largely removed from all of the branding associated with Metal Gear Solid 5, and just after the game’s released, he parted ways, leaving the company that he had worked under for decades. For gamers and fans of the Metal Gear series, it was heartbreaking. What would it mean for the future of the franchise?
What Does it Mean for Metal Gear?
First things first—we know for a fact that Konami isn’t done with the Metal Gear series. We know that future games aren’t going to look anything like those that we’ve come to know and love. They can’t, without the oversight and direction of Hideo Kojima. However, there’s still plenty of room to explore the series’ lore with what has already been created, and the newest Metal Gear game—Metal Gear Survive—is already in development. It’s set before the events of Metal Gear Solid V, but after the short prequel to that game Ground Zeroes.
Already, it’s looking a lot different than what we’re used to. Who knows? Maybe this will end up being a good thing; a breath of fresh air that the franchise didn’t even know it needed. Fans, however, are doubtful.
Will We See Metal Gear Rising 2?
The future of a Metal Gear Rising sequel, however, seems much more set in stone. Unfortunately, that’s likely a gravestone; we probably aren’t going to be seeing a sequel to Metal Gear Rising, and if we do, it’s going to happen much further down the line. If anything, it’ll happen on a different console generation.
Because the elements of Metal Gear Rising that truly make it great were so related to Hideo Kojima’s own work, his departure has likely nailed the coffin shut on all sequel talk. Of course, only Konami is going to know this for sure, but given the company’s cagey history when it comes to transparency, we probably won’t even hear about it, until it’s in production. This certainly isn’t good news—many are still keeping their hopes up for a release date, maybe even for the PS4. But it looks as if Metal Gear Rising 2 is one of those ideas that was put to the chopping block when the father of Metal Gear departed from Konami.