November 24, 2009. That is a day that every Metal Gear fan will mark down in their diaries for years to come. For that is the day that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, that great game we all love, and the best game in the Metal Gear series, will be destroyed forever.
Former James Bond novelist Raymond Benson novelized the first Metal Gear Solid. It was of average quality. The writing was riddled with cliches, and the quality of writing was what one would expect from a writer just beginning in his or her career. Now, I don't know if you know this, but Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is a pretty complicated game. A whole melange of postmodern stuff is going on. And, Raymond Benson, as good a James Bond novelist as he may have been, is perhaps not the best choice of writer to tackle such a project. He's a perfectly good thriller novelist - but Metal Gear Solid 2 is not a thriller of a game. It's deep. It's very confusing. It's very Haruki Murakami.
Haruki Murakami would be the perfect writer for a Sons of Liberty novel. But he'd never do it. Unless, of course, he saw how rad Metal Gear Solid 2 was and decided to write it. But that would never happen either. So, we're stuck with Benson. I might be wrong. He might surprise us all, and, believe me, I would love for that to happen.
Here are some excerpts from the first novel.
“Oh! You gave me a start, Doctor,” the gray-haired politician said. It always had struck Clark that the president was a very nervous type when he wasn’t in front of a camera. She rather enjoyed scaring the poor man; that was ironic because she was a woman, albeit a woman with a commanding presence and powerful charisma.And,
The president squeamishly turned away from the window and waved his hand around the chamber, indicating the hundreds of stalactites on the limestone ceiling. “Do any of those things ever fall?”He doesn't sound very president-like to me. Do you see what I mean about the writing style? It reads like something you'd see published on the internet, like an eBook. I'm just concerned. Concerned. I probably won't read it anyway, but... Best of luck to you anyway, sir. I hope you do the game justice.
Cross-posted from Metal Gear Scholar