Metal Gear Rising is going to the star the highly controversial Raiden. Raiden, who was first introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2, was met with some mixed emotions from fans and critics. Some critics thought he was one of the worst aspects of the series while others enjoyed and welcomed his presence. So, why all the controversy?
Let's take it from the top. Raiden was a playable character created by Hideo Kojima and designed by Yoji Shinkawa. Raiden first made his debut in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty as a trained FOXHOUND member and later made an appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
So, Raiden was highly criticized for two main reasons. The first being that he just isn't Solid Snake and the sudden substitution of Snake. Secondly, people complained about this "feminine" appearance. I think the former exacerbated the latter though. The reason why Raiden was created came from Hideo Kojima's desire to show Solid Snake in a different light. To view Snake from a different point of view, which I think makes a lot of sense.
We've been with Solid Snake since the game's inception. We've seen him in so many different situations and been through so much with him that Hideo Kojima felt that seeing Snake from a third person perspective would give us a fresh view of Snake. Hideo Kojima was inspired by Sherlock Holmes novels. Dr. Watson(Holmes sidekick) would often narrate and describe detective Holmes, showing the audience not only reflecting they felt about Sherlock Holmes but also how Dr. Watson felt about him. Further immersing us in the character.
We had no idea about Raiden's inclusion until launch day, so of course he was met with some controversy. However, while I played as Raiden and began hearing Snake being referred to during a cutscene, it would make me even more excited about the character. Playing as Raiden made me realize how awesome Solid Snake is and hearing about his actions during a codec meeting made him even cooler. Raiden inclusion placed Solid Snake on a pedestal so high, I couldn't wait to play as him all over again.
Some fans and critics felt annoyed by Raiden not because he was substituting Snake, but because of his "femininity". His white hair and elegant behavior rubbed fans the wrong way. The Metal Gear franchise is huge, so as you can imagine, Hideo Kojima received a lot of fan mail. One of which came from a young woman who was not interested in playing the game as an "old man". Hideo and his team took this into consideration and decided to create a character who would not only shine Snake in a different light, but also appeal to the female fanbase.
Yoji Shinkawa, the designer, stated that the team focused Raiden's appearance on a Bishonen archetype. Bishonen, is a Japanese term which indicates the "beautiful Youth" for boys, which apparently borderlines with femininity and appeals to the female fanbase in Japan.
Raiden was later buffed up in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, he proves he more than just a Bishonen face. His character, improved visuals and armor and iconic katana definitely place Raiden up there in the cool crowd. Same case is happening now with the new Dante in DmC: Devil May Cry. Maybe these new protagonist are there for a fresh start or maybe they're there so we can appreciate the older ones.