5 controversies that will haunt the legacy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a long-awaited game in an iconic series, and one of the most highly anticipated games of 2015. It’s also a game that has been plagued with a lot of controversy during its development.

From a new voice actor to the infamous Kojima/Konami dispute, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has seen its fair share of turmoil. And some of those controversies could haunt the game forever. In honor of it being the fifth MGS title, here are 5 MGS V controversies that the game might never shake off.

5. Microtransactions

As the release date approached, it was unveiled that microtransactions would be part of the online experience. Players who participated in the PvP feature could develop extra Forward Operation Bases (FOB), using MB Coins as currency.

Fans were outraged, as the practice of microtransactions has been very controversial in the gaming industry. Other games have faced the same kind of backlash when opting for microtransactions in the online gameplay.

Things only got worst when Konami introduced FOB insurance, a feature that has players pay real money to recover lost resources. This only added fuel to the fire. Players bemoaned the microtransactions, while many in the media were quick to denounce the feature.

4. Kiefer Sutherland replaces David Hayter

The first big controversy to hit Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was the rumor that David Hayter would not return as the voice of Big Boss. Gamers were shocked to learn that the rumors were true, and that he had been replaced with Kiefer Sutherland.

Fans of the series were either outraged or conflicted, as Hayter had been the voice of Snake and Big Boss since Metal Gear Solid. On the other had, Sutherland was well-known for his role as Jack Bauer on 24, so we knew he had what it took to play a badass character.

But here’s one of the biggest problems: Big Boss is driven by resentment and the desire to continue the legacy of his mentor. Jack Bauer is the personification of a hero America needed to look up to in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. We all wondered whether Sutherland would be able to separate himself from that patriotic role and bring to life the much darker motivations of Big Boss.

3. Quiet’s outfit and sexual assault

The portrayal of women in gaming has been a hot topic issue in recent years, and the use of rape in games is always a lightning rod for controversy. So it should not have been a surprise when gamers had a problem with Quiet’s skimpy outfit and the use of sexual violence.

Back in December 2013, it was revealed that the ESRB had listed Sexual Violence among the reasons why Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes had received an M rating. This was because of an audio recording of Paz being gang-raped while she was detained at Camp Omega. Even though it was an audio recording, many gamers found it to be very disturbing.

And most of us were not too pleased with Quiet’s lack of clothing, along with the fact she never speaks. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the beginning of Mission 45: A Quiet Exit, shows Quiet narrowly escaping sexual assault by a soldier.

Many felt that her attire was at best juvenile and at worst incredibly sexist. And the lame excuse they gave us doesn’t really help either. She breathes through her skin because of the parasites? Sure. It seems that if hypnotherapy and extensive facial reconstruction can turn a random medic into a supersoldier, someone in the MGSV universe would be able to create more breathable fabric.

2. Ground Zeroes short playtime

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain were first announced back in 2012 simply as Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. However, the project was split due to the long development time and Kojima’s desire to give players a sample of what to expect.

Gamers were excited to sample the next chapter in the iconic series, until it was revealed that it had a playtime of only two hours. Many felt that Konami was trying to pass off a demo as a real game

Kojima assured gamers that there was more to Ground Zeroes then the main game, but fans were not appeased. The controversy forced the game to undergo several price cuts before and after its release. But for some fans, that still wasn’t enough.

1. The Kojima/Konami dispute

Of all the controversies that have plagued the development of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, none has been as detrimental as the feud between Konami and Hideo Kojima.

News of a breakdown in their relationship first became public when the Kojima Studios credit and Kojima’s name were removed from all promotional material for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Konami also removed his name from the game’s official box art.

Next came one of the most controversial decisions of the year: Konami announced that production of Silent Hills had been canceled. The announcement enraged gamers, and Guillermo del Toro announced that he would never work on another video game.

Allegedly, the root of the dispute is that Konami is undergoing a change in structure, and they want to focus more on mobile gaming. At the same time, the leadership at Konami was not happy that the production host of The Phantom Pain had hit $80 million. More than likely, those were both contributing factors to the fallout.

The dispute has been a disaster for Konami’s public image, as most of the gaming community has sided with Kojima. The industry has taken a more mediated approach, either asking that they bury the hatchet or passively taking a pro-Kojima stance.

Despite the turmoil, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of the best games of 2015 and a fitting conclusion to the series. Did any of these controversies make you reconsider the game? What’s your opinion on some of these issues? Let us know in the comments below!

Written for GameSkinny
10/11/2015
Original Article: 5 controversies that will haunt the legacy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Study finds low skilled gamers are more likely to be sexist

According to a new study, male gamers who are low or unskilled at playing online are more likely to demonstrate sexist behavior towards female gamers.

The study was conducted by Michael M. Kasumovic and Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff from the University of New South Wales, who observed over 163 matches of Halo 3 and coded the behavior of the players. The purpose of the study was to examine if the presence of a skilled female would be disruptive to the ego of an unskilled male, who may feel their sense of hierarchy is threatened (be it in a game or work environment).

The research team used Halo 3 because its a game that relies on skills and fast thinking, hence everyone starts on an equal footing. Plus all the subjects are anonymous and may not have a personal history with the research team or other players. Another reason is that because everyone plays as a SPARTAN soldier that has the appearance of being gender neutral.

Based on the data collected, male gamers who performed poorly were more likely to act hostile towards a female player. It was also noted that the unskilled player was less likely to act hostile towards a male player who was more skilled.The theory is that the unskilled male gamers would try to compensate for their failure by trying to act more masculine towards their female counterpart.

Meanwhile the study also found that male gamers who performed better were more likely to be respectful towards female players. This was because they didn’t fear that their hierarchy was being threatened while trying to get the attention of the female player.

All of the data was collected by observing and recording the actions of other players through Xbox Live, no consent was made and the team made no interactions with the observed subjects.

This has been the second major study done by Michael M. Kasumovic on the effects of video games on gender roles. It was reported over the weekend of July 10, that a study by him and Thomas F. Denson found that violent video games boosted the self-esteem of women gamers.

Looks like this may explain the behavior of those affiliated with the GamerGate movements, a legion of noobs that wants to protect their masculinity by lashing out at women gamers.

Written for Digital Journal 
7/19/2015
Original Article: Study finds low skilled gamers are more likely to be sexist

Why is gaming culture misogynistic?

The question was brought up recently in the Mother Jones article “Why It Sucks to Be a Woman in the Video Game Industry” by Interactive Editor Tasneem Raja.

Raja’s article examines the sexism women deal with in the gaming industry from sexual harassment and disparity in the compensation structure to having female developers go unacknowledged for their accomplishments.

One could just brush all that off as some liberal publication trying to preach about feminist ideology. Unfortunately, Raja is not the first writer to bring up the misogynistic aspect of video game culture.

Back in 2010, David Wong, Senior Editor of Cracked.com, examined the gaming culture’s attitude toward women and the industry’s depiction of them in “5 Reasons It’s Still Not Cool to Admit You’re a Gamer”.

Most notably, Wong cites an article from The Guardian about the sexual harassment women gamers are subjected to online. The best example of this is when females play with male avatars just to avoid the “Tits or GTFO” remarks.

Several months after Wong’s article, Seanbaby (iconic humor writer and avid gamer) wrote in his column about the misogynistic undertones of Red Dead Redemption. He even explores the obvious sexism in the “Dastardly” achievement/trophy, which is unlocked after the player sets a hogtied woman on the train tracks and witnesses her death.

Flash forward to July of 2012 when Cracked writer J.F. Sargent wrote “5 Prejudices That Video Games Can’t Seem to Get Over“, which had a section dedicated to games that degraded strong female characters. The article gave a lot of attention to the feminine traits displayed by Samus Aran in Metroid: Other M (a lot of it based on Abbie Heppe’s review for G4).

Why is gaming culture so misogynistic?

The best answer regards the upbringing many gamers had during the ’90s up until the mid ’00s. During this era, gaming was part of geek subculture and so was often ridiculed by mainstream culture.

Gamers were more likely to be outcasts in high school, which made them the victims of taunting and teasing. It’s likely that many had bad experiences with women or relationships in their youth while being stereotyped as “virgin for life.”

Later in life, these gamers became adults and entered this industry just as video games became accepted by mainstream culture. Unfortunately, these gamers still harbor the old animosity toward women.

Their life experience has conditioned them to see women as nothing more than useless sources of pain and pleasure.

Another perspective is the influence of pop culture on the narratives of video games. Cinema and comics of the mid ’70s to late ’80s has had a major impact on the development of video game stories; however, most of these films often placed women into the “useless chick role” or had strong but overly sexualized female characters.

Sure, there’s exceptions to the rule that gaming culture is misogynistic. But trying to write up a list of “strong video game heroines (not overly sexualized)” tends to be limited when all you have is:

· Jill Valentine (Resident Evil & Resident Evil 3)
· Rebecca Chambers (Resident Evil 0)
· Claire Redfield (Resident Evil 2)
· Samus Aran (Metroid)

End of list!

Gaming is supposed to be a fun way for people to escape their boring and mediocre life for a few hours (or more). Video game culture has recently become part of pop culture, but it won’t become socially progressive if it continues to have such a demeaning outlook toward women.

Written for GameBeats
12/3/2012
Original Article: Why is gaming culture misogynistic?