By BisonHero 43 Comments
Let me start with a question: do you think the prison camps we've seen in trailers are meant to be evocative of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp maintained by the U.S. during the "War on Terror"? I believe it is explicitly mentioned in some Phantom Pain material that one of those prison camps in the game is in Cuba, so I don't feel I'm making a huge leap of logic here. The red-band trailer for Phantom Pain also has a pretty significant focus on torture sequences, and seemingly several members of Militaires sans Frontieres get maimed pretty badly (some while in captivity?).
So do you think Kojima is actually going to try to make a point about the whole Guantanamo Bay situation and the use of torture? Or is it just one more thing to kinda keep the game full of more imagery of current world events, without having anything meaningful to say about those current world events?
I'm still not sure I really buy that Kojima games are about anything other than the kinda wacky nanomachines and Patriots and giant robots and Enfants Terribles they've been about since MGS1. Additionally, the games give a good focus on the personal struggles of their respective leading characters. But as far as the greater issues? MGS1 is...maybe about nuclear disarmament, or lack thereof, after the conclusion of the Cold War? Except that's like, 1% of the whole game, and the rest is about FOXHOUND and this rogue group of super villains and a robot with a nuke railgun (which is just silly when nuclear ICBMs are more or less just as unstoppable as a railgun). And MGS2 is...kinda about the ability of technology/the internet to easily distort information? Except again that was like 1% of the game, and the rest was about vampires killing SEAL teams, and GW, and Liquid's soul being contained in his forearm until they retconned that out or whatever. And so on.
I went back and rewatched that red-band trailer for The Phantom Pain (with gross little kid intestines), and it strikes me that it's the third big budget game I can think of in recent memory that has some pretty gnarly prisoner abuse (GTA V and Splinter Cell: Blacklist being the others). I have high hopes for Kojima to actually do something meaningful with the inclusion of torture, but I'm also really afraid that it's going to fall flat because the plot will be so wrapped up in the fake Patriots/Outer Heaven fictional history of the MGS series that it won't have any real point to make about torture being used on soldiers in real armed conflicts.
Kojma and co. have an opportunity to say something about the human rights violations that prisoners of war can be subjected to, and I think he has a better likelihood of taking advantage of that opportunity, at least compared to jingoistic games like Splinter Cell or Call of Duty, or toothless satires like GTA V. But I don't have a great sense of whether Kojima is actually a guy to give a shit about Amnesty International and political activism and that's why he's putting it in there, or if he's just an otaku game designer who likes the idea of putting random current events in his game so they seem edgy but he doesn't actually have any viewpoint he wants to express with their inclusion.