The “Rising” of Technology (Part 2)

Metal Gear Rising Revengence is set in the year 2018 which isn’t that far from our current year. As mentioned previously, Rising is known for it’s ridiculous and almost campy style of action. However the Metal Gear series has been known to take already existing technology and apply it with some tweaks in the Metal Gear universe, Rising is no different.

In Metal Gear Solid 3, the Shagohod is a variant based on the real life Russian tank, Shnekohod. The Shnekohod is a screw-propelled tank that’s able to go on snow and swamp terrains. The whole concept of the Shagohod mimics that of the Shnekohod, a tank that will go anywhere.

The evolution of the Shagohod in Metal Gear Solid, is Metal Gear Rex. The main evolution was that it had legs as opposed to being a screw propelled tank. While there is currently no real life version of Metal Gear Rex, there has been some development regarding a tank with legs, the RHex robot. There is some interest in the whole concept of a tank with legs.

“The Army Rapid Equiping Force has already bought four to use in Afghanistan, particularly to climb in and out of ditches and culverts where insurgents love to hide roadside bombs but where the wheel-driven robots used by most bomb squads cannot go.” – Sydney J. Freedberg JR.

Another example of Metal Gear technology already existing in real life is the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system from Metal Gear Solid 5. The Fulton system is used by the CIA, United States Air Force and United States Navy to recover ground operatives through the use of an aircraft. According to the official CIA website:

“Fulton first used instrumented dummies as he prepared for a live pickup. He next used a pig, as pigs have nervous systems close to humans. Lifted off the ground, the pig began to spin as it flew through the air at 125 mph. It arrived on board undamaged but in a disoriented state. Once it recovered, it attacked the crew.” – CIA

A prominent example of futuristic technology present in Metal Gear Rising are prosthetic limbs, or rather bodies. Prosthetic limbs themselves aren’t exactly new in this day and age. The earliest form of a prosthetic limb is a false foot believed to be roughly 3000 years old. The whole concept of upgrading your body through prosthetic limbs isn’t that far off either. While the main protagonist of Metal Gear Rising, Raiden is able to fight giant machines and has crazy fast reflexes, real life prosthetic limbs such as the Bebonic hand comes with some enhancements that are useful for self defense. As stated in this article:

“The hand may be impressively lightweight and streamlined, but it can pack a punch. Wallace explained that they have to make the fingers stronger than human fingers owing to the lack of biofeedback. While you’d never lean your entire weight on your little finger—it’d hurt—you could put a lot more pressure on the prosthetic without realising it.” – Kevin Evison
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The main piece of technology that’s responsible for all the crazy and insane stunts pulled off in Metal Gear Rising is nanomachines. Nanomachines in Metal Gear Rising is the source of all the powers the characters have. In real life however rather than having a combat-focused function, they’re used for medicinal purposes. While still very early in the development stage, the possibility of using nano-particles to feed medicine into a person’s brain is being explored. These nano-particles can also be remote controlled to guide the nano-particle to it’s destination. As stated in this Motherboard article the nano-particles can be used to fight brain tumors. “With magnetic heating of magnetic nanoparticles that are attached to the BBB, we can evaluate the efficacy of orally administered chemotherapeutic drugs such as temozolomide on this tumor.”

Despite how detached the Metal Gear series can be from reality, there is a surprising amount of technology that’s achievable in our current day and age. Although not to the insane level of taking down colossal war machines, not yet at least.

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The “Rising” of Technology

It’s no myth that technology is deeply integrated into our way of living. As stated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in this report “The number of households with access to the internet at home increased, reaching 7.7 million in 2014–15, representing 86% of all households (up from 83% in 2012–13)” As for what devices were used to access the internet in these households the results are as follows:

  • Desktop/Laptop: 94%
  • Mobile/Smart phones: 86%
  • Tablets: 62%

This is only one aspect of technology that’s integrated into many people’s lives but what are the effects? Many movies, books and even games have questioned the future of technology but there is one that is unique; Metal Gear Rising. Despite being set in a video game world, it is an interesting look at (while extreme and almost unbelievable at times) what technology can offer.

The Metal Gear series is infamous for it’s themes of war being the main focus of the series. In Metal Gear Solid 4 the theme of modern war was tackled, Metal Gear Rising does the same albeit to the extreme. Metal Gear Solid 4 had players tackling soldiers enhanced with nanomachines and advanced war machines but despite this it was still grounded in (some) reality. This was due to the fact you as a player still had the limitations of human ability by playing as Solid Snake (Main character of Metal Gear Solid 1 and 4)

Metal Gear Rising turns it to 11 with the player taking control of a powerful ninja cyborg Raiden who has the ability to take on gigantic monster sized war machines with ease. To give you an idea of just how extreme Metal Gear Rising, here’s a quick look at some combat:

If people can make an analysis of the distant cyber-dystopian world of Matrix and Ghost in the Shell and apply those themes to reality then Metal Gear Rising is no different. While Metal Gear Rising does have a couple of themes that drive the story, one of the main themes is the blur between human and machine.

When you think about it what is the difference between human and machine? Simply put, one is made out of flesh and organs while the other is completely made out of metal or anything other than flesh and organs. But with recent advancements in technology, the reality of at least having cyborg prosthetics can be achieved. Prosthetic limbs is entirely possible and have been used on people without arms or legs.

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Daniel Omar, a 14 year old with a prosthetic arm

With how rapidly this kind of technology is advancing, how long would it take for humans to reach the capability to even make bodies for a person to inhabit? And at that point the question arises whether or not they are human. Metal Gear Rising explores this theme thoroughly although not many people tend to look into it. The themes of cyber-dystopia are most certainly there but hidden behind humor, fast-paced action gameplay and high octane music.

As for how I’m going convey these themes, it’ll be done through a YouTube video series a la Let’s Play videos. The standard format of general Let’s Play videos include commentating live on what’s happening within the moment, not often are they scripted. However, due to the non-informal nature of Let’s Play videos I’ll be adding commentary post-recording. This commentary may include things such as;

  • Character motifs as they appear
  • Reasons for certain events happening
  • How said events and characters add to the overall story

This is done to avoid the non-informal nature of Let’s Play videos. Generally lots of Let’s Players tend to go on for 20 minutes talking about their own lives or just reading character dialogue. While others can find entertainment out of these kinds of Let’s Plays, I want to avoid falling into that category.

The current plan is to include only important segments within the game such as boss fights and cutscenes (though this is open to change as the project goes on).