Did Kojima go too far? (Chico's Tape spoilers)

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Bocam

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After thinking about I can't really understand why Kojima thought we needed to hear Skullface's various torture sessions. Which include him belt whipping Paz, forcing her and Chico to have sex, having her gangraped, and the kicker: forcing a bomb into her abdomen that is set to go off when Snake rescues her in a timely manner. Oh, and this isn't even going into the second bomb Skull Face shoved up her vagina.

Don't get me wrong I'm not demanding that they get removed or anything. I'm just questioning the necessity of including them as the player is perfectly capable of figuring out what happened by the conversations heard around the base.

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Quid_Pro_Bono

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Jesus Christ. That's pretty intense. Sounds like A Serbian Film levels of depravity for the sake of it.

I guess it should be taken into context of how Kojima is always talking about how games won't ever be taken seriously if they can't tell "mature" stories like film and books. The problem I see is that if that's what Kojima thinks makes a mature story, he's sort of barking up the wrong tree. I don't know that I would argue for it to be taken out of the game but that sounds grotesque and unnecessary.

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MooseyMcMan

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#3  Edited By MooseyMcMan

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the rapings are worse than the implanted bombs. Not in the sense that one ends in death, but you can get away with implanted bombs in PG-13 movies.

Did he go too far? Maybe? I dunno. I think that maybe they shouldn't have shown so much of her organs when they were removing the bomb. That could just be me being sensitive to that part of the body now that I have a intestinal condition that could (but hopefully won't) result in needing surgery at some point. Don't like seeing intestines.

@quid_pro_bono To be fair, most of that stuff is in audio tapes that you don't get in the main mission. It's not like you see any of that stuff happen. But I guess just hearing it is still pretty bad. Or hearing of it. You have to unlock them and/or find them. The most brutal thing seen in the game is the removal of the bomb from Paz's abdomen.

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Humanity

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#4  Edited By Humanity

I honestly can't tell if this is real or not because that is some heavy stuff. How old is Paz supposed to be?

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Make_Me_Mad

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I think the whole point is to further illustrate just how fucked up of a villain that they're dealing with here. Not only does he plant a bomb in Paz, he has most of her organs left out so that she'll die regardless of what happens. Not only that, he plants a SECOND bomb to make sure that even if they take out the first, it's useless. He doesn't just torture Chico physically, he makes him watch and participate in Paz's torture and then gives him tapes of the torture to listen to. Torture has always been a thing in the Metal Gear games, Skullface is just taking it to the logical, horrifying extreme and being as sadistic as possible. And, sadly, it's not entirely unrealistic in terms of what people have always done to each other over the years.

The problem here is that they need someone who's monstrous enough that Big Boss is willing to do anything to get revenge. Think of it like the Eclipse from Berserk, if that means anything to you; someone has to be enough of a goddamn asshole and just generally terrible enough that an okay if sometimes amoral guy will go off the deep end out of sheer anger and outrage at what's happened. The thing to remember is that with all that happened here, it's almost certainly going to go even farther in Phantom Pain.

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cmblasko

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#6  Edited By cmblasko

@quid_pro_bono said:

Jesus Christ. That's pretty intense.

Yeah, that was my reaction when I first read about this stuff.

Is there story justification for why all of this was recorded? It'd be pretty weird if this tape was simply a collectible.

Either way, I don't really see an issue with this being in the game. Kojima said he was taking the story into dark places and clearly he meant it.

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gaminghooligan

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#7  Edited By gaminghooligan

This is really in the game? I mean I'm not one for censorship and I think artists have a right to do whatever they think is right for the final product (within reason), but wow that is INTENSE. Kind of like @quid_pro_bono said above he wants to tell mature stories which I totally understand, but I don't really associate the Metal Gear Solid series with being a mature and serious experience. There have always been parts that have some weight to them sprinkled throughout, but then you have moments like the porn locker on the tanker in MGS 2. Hopefully it has some story context associated with it.

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MooseyMcMan

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@make_me_mad: I think you found the best justification for it. Now that they've gotten past sexual abuse and implanted bombs, I guess genocide's the only thing left for Metal Gear to cover.

Oh dear, I wish I hadn't said that now...

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Jonny_Anonymous

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meh

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fleabeard

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@cmblasko: The story is that Chico was recording everything on his walkman. I think the collecting them part is because videogames.

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#11  Edited By DannyHibiki  Online

@mooseymcman said:

Did he go too far? Maybe? I dunno. I think that maybe they shouldn't have shown so much of her organs when they were removing the bomb. That could just be me being sensitive to that part of the body now that I have a intestinal condition that could (but hopefully won't) result in needing surgery at some point. Don't like seeing intestines.

@bocam said:

Oh, and this isn't even going into the second bomb Skull Face shoved up her vagina.

If her vagina is hooked up to her intestines Paz has more problems than Skull Face.

How do you know the second bomb is in her vagina? Ticking sounds emanating from down below? Seems like an assumption to me....

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Bocam

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@cmblasko: Chico has a tape recorder.

@make_me_mad: The comparison to Berserk works for me

@humanity: I think she's in her late twenties. She tells BB her real age near the end of Peace Walker.

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HatKing

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I'd have to play the game, but Kojima's work doesn't really interest me, so that's probably not going to happen. I'll say that I don't think it's inherently wrong to go hardcore violent in a game or any work of fiction. So long as it means something. If it's just there because it's going to get a rise out of the audience, and ultimately doesn't do anything for the narrative, that would be exploitation. And while some people get a kick out of exploitation films, and I guess as a thing to look at and not take seriously I could understand that, I certainly wouldn't consider them good works of art. At the same time, going extreme with this sort of stuff can be a very valid way to comment on real issues or develop your point. In the same way a work of fiction might exaggerate violence in an effort to comment on desensitization, I could see Kojima take an exaggerated stance on torture and sexual violence as a means of commentary on their presence in a war. You can have horrible nasty shit in something you've created without being a proponent of that thing in real life.

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Itwastuesday

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metal gear has been trending more towards the direction of "serious war atrocities + j sasaki, the shitter guy goofy antics." there was always some aspect of this but it got out of control in 4. it seems like it might REALLY be out of control for GZ/TPP.

You will feel ashamed of your words & deeds.

How do you know the second bomb is in her vagina? Ticking sounds emanating from down below? Seems like an assumption to me....

Heavily implied in the tapes.

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Oginam

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I've tried a couple times to write what I think about this and I just can't. What the fuck Kojima?

Kind of wish the ESRB would start giving out AO ratings for stuff like torture and rape.

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#17  Edited By BisonHero

Is it the scene that was in that red band trailer for Phantom Pain? When I heard about the fucked up ending that people were talking about, I immediately thought of that part from the trailer, which seemed super messed up.

Loading Video...

I swear the Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain trailers have used scenes from both interchangeably.

Anyway, "Gene, Meme, Scene, Sense, Peace" were MGS 1-4 and Peacewalker, and supposed Phantom Pain will be "Race, also REVENGE" according to some tweet Kojima made. I feel like the theme is shaping up more to be "Revenge motivated by super gnarly torture to most of the main characters".

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Make_Me_Mad

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@dannyhibiki: There were two bombs. One was left in her abdomen in place of many of her vital organs, behind a fairly obvious scar. The second bomb they didn't find, and Paz threw herself out of the helicopter moments before it detonated; all that's known about the second bomb is that it was left 'somewhere no one would look', and that line was followed by a lot of uncomfortable noises as it's shoved... somewhere. With all the crap Skull Face did to Paz, it'd actually be more surprising if it wasn't there, but I don't think they're gonna go out of their way to spell it out for anyone.

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#19 DannyHibiki  Online

@make_me_mad: Okay. Wow, that "somewhere nobody would look" line. I think I would be laughing like crazy at the ridiculousness of that scene watching it play out. Pushes it from terrible body horror to just plain silliness.

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Dallas_Raines

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Violent rape, torture, child soldiers, super politicians, SKULLFACE and a dude taking a wet shit in a barrel. Wow, it all meshes together so well.

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Itwastuesday

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@make_me_mad: Pushes it from terrible body horror to just plain silliness.

this really sums up a lot of kojima's work if you replace "terrible body horror" with any serious or grotesque subject of choice

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Bocam

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@bisonhero: Almost every cutscene from Ground Zeroes has been shown in the trailers Konami put out.

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#23  Edited By DannyHibiki  Online

@itwastuesday: Yeah, he does go to extremes pretty easily. One moment you're making silly jokes with your diminutive robot pal and the next you discover a decapitated corpse of your colleague. Then it's time for some Neo Kobe pizza.

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Musubi

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Here is my thoughts. Its extremely uncomfortable. That is obviously the intended effect. I feel like its meant to build SkullFace into this horrific monster. Reading about it or having another character say what happened isn't as effective as hearing it. It also seems that Kojima in general is trying to set the tone of the game which is to say its dark. Extremely so. There are no heroes in this story. I think it is pushing extremely hard at the bounderies of being okay but never actually crosses the line in to being too much.

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@dannyhibiki: Is it wrong that I think of that as more of a general Japanese tonal issue? Be it films, games or anime. Media out of Japan always seemed more willing to just jump genre and tone whenever it wanted to, also when isn't it time for some Neo Kobe pizza?

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EuanDewar

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I haven't played the game so I won't try and critique it but I will say this:

Blimey!

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Dallas_Raines

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@demoskinos: It just sounds like what comic book writers always do with a new villain, just endless acts of ultra violence and terrorism for no apparent reason other than to say "See, this guy is even more evil than the rest!".

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#28  Edited By DannyHibiki  Online

Listened to the Chico tape and watched the ending. Goofy and lacking impact. I didn't play Peacewalker though.

When did voice acting for Metal Gear games get so bad and stilted? Guess I won't miss codec screens after all.

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Draugen

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#29  Edited By Draugen

Ah, geez.

I haven't seen it myself, so I'll reserve judgement, but this kind of stuff is the kind of thing that'll make me lose interest. There's only so much "grit" and "edginess" I need in my life.

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#30  Edited By Dallas_Raines
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Oldirtybearon

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@demoskinos: It just sounds like what comic book writers always do with a new villain, just endless acts of ultra violence and terrorism for no apparent reason other than to say "See, this guy is even more evil than the rest!".

Skull Face isn't a new villain. Perhaps play Peace Walker?

As far as the ending and all of the nastiness that occurred in Ground Zeroes; goddamn. Just goddamn. I'm not going to argue with people who wonder if it was necessary. It's not necessary. That's the point. If this is how Ground Zeroes set the tone I can't imagine what's in store for The Phantom Pain.

Kojima's "revenge" theme for MGS5 makes total sense now. I don't think a video game has ever made me feel that disgusted before. And I've played through torture missions and brutal murders and executions. That Paz and Chico shit was on a whole new level.

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#32  Edited By NAKent

As someone that played Peace Walker, I'm sorta surprised that they wanted you to sympathize with Paz. She stole a MG and was the main villain at the end of PW. But even so I looked away when they were taking the bomb out. It was a lil jarring.

Also, I don't think Skullface is the main villain so it's weird that they want to show how evil he is. I think it's commentary on Guantanamo and US torture. In MG there is always someone worse.

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#33  Edited By TruthTellah

I've definitely heard a few folks disturbed by that tape(and the ending), and no one I've talked to seems to feel it really added anything besides "oh no, evil guy is evil" and "this young girl never ceases to be treated like crap". Like, if it wasn't so gruesome, you'd almost laugh that of course Paz is having this happen to her. I don't know how Kojima really feels about the character, but if I didn't know better, I'd say he hates her.

I'll have to experience the ending for myself, but damn. Where do we draw the line? And if we don't draw the line, is it bad if we might even get used to it? I don't know. I think developers should be able to put whatever they want in a game, but at the same time, we should maybe think more about what we subject ourselves to. And if it doesn't feel necessary for the game, maybe we should at the very least ask Kojima, "What the fuck?"

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#34  Edited By DannyHibiki  Online

@dallas_raines: I thought the VA in the first MGS was pretty good. It wasn't always totally natural, but I could get into it and connect with the characters. Now it just sounds like a wooden, typical anime dub to me. I guess the secret sauce was probably Jeremy Blaustein.

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Draugen

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I'll have to experience the ending for myself, but damn. Where do we draw the line? And if we don't draw the line, is it bad if we might even get used to it? I don't know. I think developers should be able to put whatever they want in a game, but at the same time, we should maybe think more about what we subject ourselves to.

Yeah, censorship is never the answer. But on a personal note, there are things that will prevent me from buying a product, if I feel it goes to far. Stuff like this does not make me want to play this game.

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Humanity

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#36  Edited By Humanity

@oldirtybearon said:
@dallas_raines said:

@demoskinos: It just sounds like what comic book writers always do with a new villain, just endless acts of ultra violence and terrorism for no apparent reason other than to say "See, this guy is even more evil than the rest!".

Skull Face isn't a new villain. Perhaps play Peace Walker?

As far as the ending and all of the nastiness that occurred in Ground Zeroes; goddamn. Just goddamn. I'm not going to argue with people who wonder if it was necessary. It's not necessary. That's the point. If this is how Ground Zeroes set the tone I can't imagine what's in store for The Phantom Pain.

Kojima's "revenge" theme for MGS5 makes total sense now. I don't think a video game has ever made me feel that disgusted before. And I've played through torture missions and brutal murders and executions. That Paz and Chico shit was on a whole new level.

Man @bocam linked me to all the tape recording back to back and just sitting there listening to it is very disturbing. Kojima managed to make you completely unsettled without showing a single image, letting your imagination fill in all those gaps. The end cinematic is gruesome but those tapes are something else.

Also after having listened and seen all this, those early Metal Gear trailers they showed with Skullface leaving the base while the song is playing in the background - man how clever is that? At the time I'm sure everyone was thinking "wow what?" but then you listen to the tapes and that trailer makes perfect sense. I love those "oh now I see" moments. Metal Gear games always have really masterfully crafted trailers.

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LibrorumProhibitorum

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It's rough. It's a type of horror which is supposed to make you feel personally uncomfortable. I'd say he isn't going too far, he's just edging his way out of his usual rut of serious storytelling with a lot of comedic overtones. I can't speak for Kojima, but it feels like he wants to get down to what war is and how disgusting things do happen to people during war from all sides now that he has the power of the next generation to properly display how graphic it can be.

Again, this is all based on observation of the game and his directional choices, not anything he has said personally, but if Kojima wants to tackle some rough themes which makes us feel uncomfortable I say go for it. The best selling games these days are games where you murder set in war torn environments and it feels like a farce how you shoot them down without a second thought, adding some realism to war is a good thing. While Ground Zeroes probably contains a fair bit of "shoot them and get on with it" from modern shooters, at least it is something resembling real war atrocities.

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NMC2008

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In my opinion, going too far doesn't exist in fiction, only in reality. So no, he didn't.

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Quid_Pro_Bono

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It's just so strange to have this juxtaposed with Raiden flipping around naked. I certainly respect Kojima for trying to evolve in the type of stories he wants to tell, however I feel that people have a certain expectation of the content in a Metal Gear game, and it's not hearing people getting raped. Maybe he should create a new series for these sorts of experiments. Not to mention that the rape of a female character is the most hackneyed way to make her a sympathetic or "revenge-justified" sort of character. It just seems lazy. All his ravings about how we'll "all feel ashamed" about our protestations against Quiet's design have me a bit skeptical. Like, okay, I'm guessing that we'll feel ashamed because she dresses like that due to sexual abuse, right? Because that's the only way to give a female character motivation?

I've never been much for Hostel, Human Centipede, or other "shock and gore" movies, and I don't know that I'd like it in my games either. Again, I want to reiterate (since this is the Internet) that my having a problem with it does not mean I think it should be censored or not exist, I'm just said to see this sort of thing seemingly becoming even more common in games and other media. It's kind of alarming, and this is coming from a dude who watched Cannibal Holocaust at 14 (which was an ill-conceived plan.)

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#40  Edited By Milkman

I'm by no means a Metal Gear super fan but doesn't that kind of fly in the face of the tone of the rest of the series? To me, Metal Gear has always been pretty goofy. I mean, the guy's name is fucking SKULL FACE. If you want to tell this story about all these horrible war atrocities, more power to you but when the guy's name committing these atrocities is SKULL FACE, it's a little hard to take it very seriously, no?

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Musubi

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@milkman said:

I'm by no means a Metal Gear super fan but doesn't that kind of fly in the face of the tone of the rest of the series? To me, Metal Gear has always been pretty goofy. I mean, the guy's name is fucking SKULL FACE. If you want to kill this story about all these horrible war atrocities, more power to you but when the guy's name committing these atrocities is SKULL FACE, it's a little hard to take it very seriously, no?

I'll say some of the naming conventions are goofy but they never make me take anything the games do less seriously.

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@demoskinos: I haven't played Ground Zeroes yet but I know the silly stuff was downplayed a bit in MGS IV. Does this game go even farther in that direction? I really loved all the gameplay changes in MGS IV to modernize the series but if V is going really far into this "SERIOUS WAR STORY" direction, that lessens my interest a little bit. Just because there's so many of those in games and I generally come to MGS for something a little different.

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TruthTellah

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@nmc2008 said:

In my opinion, going too far doesn't exist in fiction, only in reality. So no, he didn't.

I think we're talking about tone and whether scenes support or hinder an experience. So, it isn't a matter of "going too far" for the medium; I'm sure much worse will end up being done in games. The real question is whether it seems like the right choice for a game.

Like, if you're enjoying a romantic comedy, you might find it distracting to suddenly have a gruesome death in it. Obviously gruesome deaths happen in various movies, but as far as what the rest of the movie was trying to accomplish, does that feel like it supports or hinders that goal? In videogames, we often question whether part of the gameplay hinders or improves an experience. For example, "the fixed camera view makes it harder for me to navigate". It's a game design choice that impacts your experience. So, with something like this that impacts the story aspect of the game, people may feel it is out of place or actually detrimental to their experience.

I don't think anyone here is suggesting that content in itself is "too far" conceptually, but as far as the game itself and the kind of series it is, it's understandable for people to wonder whether this design choice to include such scenes adds or detracts from the experience. Personally, when I'm toying with guards and being a cool James Bond/super soldier, I may be a tad more thrown off by sudden scenes of rape and gore. Some people may appreciate such scenes, but it's reasonable for some people to express concern over whether it felt out of place or like something they wanted to experience.

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Bocam

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#44  Edited By Bocam

@milkman: One of the side missions in Ground Zeroes has you rescuing Kojima by helicopter

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#45  Edited By DannyHibiki  Online

What I don't get is why everybody just assumes it's in a specific orifice. There's moreexamples of bombs placed elsewhere. There's way more room for it in there! Guess it would jive with Kojima's weird treatment of women characters though.

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#46  Edited By Itwastuesday

@nmc2008 said:

In my opinion, going too far doesn't exist in fiction, only in reality. So no, he didn't.

I think what most of us mean is- not too far as in "oh this offends me" or whatever, but too far as in "you have poorly established the tone of this game, throwing SAW into the middle of it feels weird because you didn't set the tone up correctly to pull that off."

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#47  Edited By SomeJerk

Kojima went too far.

For your tastes.

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Strife777

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I wasn't going to read spoilers but I got curious after reading the thread title. The reason is we got copies of the game at the video store I work at and when I read the back, I noticed it said "sexual violence" with the ESRB rating. That definitely raised a question mark (right over my head, and I said "huh? Is someone there?"....... Sorry.)

I think it's good that they're taking serious matters into this/those games. Guess what, war is fucked up, and there's crazy people in real life.

What matters is that it's delt with maturely, which I guess I'll see for myself whe I get the game tomorrow.

Disclaimer: I've only read the OP, don't really want to spoil anything else.

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Milkman

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#49  Edited By Milkman

@bocam said:

@milkman: One of the side missions in Ground Zeroes has you rescuing Kojima by helicopter

Well now I am ashamed of my deeds and words...

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TruthTellah

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#50  Edited By TruthTellah
@somejerk said:

Kojima went too far.

For your tastes.

Obviously.

We're talking about whether he went too far to the point of impacting -our- experience with it. I'm sure there are some folks that will be tickled pink by it, but we can only express our own response to the game.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

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