While I have not played much of the Metal Gear Solid games, I do know two key things: the games contain long but incredible cutscenes and they contain some weird but awesome characters.
With Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain being released only a few weeks ago (1st September), a debate has stirred up about one the characters, Quiet.
Because this is a spoiler-free zone (or at least tries to be), I won’t say too much about Quiet’s input on the storyline. I will say that she appears in the beginning of the game. During this sequence, she becomes injured and infected with a parasite known as “the one that covers” (if your MGS knowledge is good, it’s worth noting that this parasite is similar to the vocal cord parasite). This gives the victim amazing abilities, such as armour-like skin; invisibility; being able to disguise as someone else; acute eyesight (Quiet was actually able to spot individual blade on a helicopter rotor while at full speed); super human strength, jumping and speed.
But these powers come at a cost.
The parasite has to receive nourishment of some sort, meaning that she takes carbohydrates through photosynthesis (she can also drink water through her skin if she stands still for long enough). It also modifies the respiratory system within the host, meaning that she has to breathe through her skin (cutaneous) rather than through her lungs (pulmonary).
This then lead to a debate, mainly because Quiet wears next-to-nothing due to the fact that clothing would make her suffocate. Her outfit consists primarily of a bra-like top; gloves; a thong (?); tights (or pantyhose if you’re American) and hiking boots.
Hideo Kojima (the man behind the Meta Gear Solid series, but sadly no longer) has official stated that when it come down to designing Quiet, he wanted a ‘sexy’ character:
“Maybe the phrase ‘erotic’ wasn’t really [the correct word for] what I was trying to say. What I’m really trying to do is create unique characters. One of those is, of course, Quiet. She’s a really unique character, I wanted to add that sexiness to her. It wasn’t really supposed to be erotic, but sexy. You’re going to notice [when you play,] but there’s limited dialogue with the [Metal Gear Solid 5], and for that reason we really want to show the characteristic from each character. Sexy could be for guys, weapons, vehicles, it’s really that characteristic.”
The man who actually designed Quiet, Yoji Shinkawa, had this to say:
“From my perspective, it’s not just the characters, but often I look at a weapon or a vehicle and think ‘That’s really sexy.’ It’s not just the characters, but the mechs and weapons [as well].”
But despite this, Quiet also seems designed to be ‘badass’ of a character – something that a lot of the female characters in Metal Gear Solid are known for. Her powers and assassin abilities mean that she can kill enemies with precision and efficiency. On the other hand, she does so without hardly any clothes. There is one particular scene when she and Venom Snake start skipping around in the rain that showcases her body – when I watched it, I did feel like it was a rather ‘cute’ scene, but at the same time I felt like I was watching one of those burlesque shows (apart from the fact that she didn’t take off any of her clothes apart from her boots and tight-thingies). So, needless to say, I’m torn.
To get some more insight, I posted a forum on the Metal Gear Solid wiki asking for player’s opinions. Here what some of them had to say.
“I think that she’s absolutely a badass in her own right (shown through her passing Ocelot’s tests with flying colours as well as the choices she makes in her story arc) and her outfit doesn’t detract from that at all.”
“She’s sexualised. There’s really no two ways about it. It’s not wholly surprising because Kojima is atrocious with female characters (I can literally count on one hand the amount of female characters in Kojima’s MGS games who aren’t sexualised). The camera leers at her in a disgusting fashion at every opportunity, and the flimsy “after-thought” of an excuse which the game provides as to why she wears so little clothing actually doesn’t make sense in the context of the series (her powers are compared to The End, a character who wears full body camo).”
My conclusion from the thread is that a lot of players – like me – are torn between these two representations. As Doulomb says:
“A character can be an incredible badass and still be sexualised. And the thing is is that there is nothing wrong with this. First off, I don’t think anyone questions Quiets incredible skills, determination and sheer force of personality. She is strong, independent and an all around amazing character. She’s honestly probably the break out character of the game, and easily the best new character to the series. And she accomplishes this while saying (almost) nothing. Secondly, she is certainly sexualised, and you know what? That’s ok. This is an M rated game that deals with decidedly adult themes. I think its funny that this is a game that allows you to violently dismember realistic human soldiers with all manner of weaponry, deals with themes like rape, child soldiers and the horrors of war, but sound the fucking alarms because there is a girl in a bikini.”
So, what do I think? Well, I view her the same way I view Lara Croft from Tomb Raider – she certainly has elements of both being a strong character and sexualised by what she’s wearing, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Why can’t women be sexy and powerful? But let’s not forget that this is a video game – granted a woman (Stefanie Joosten) did the motion-capturing for the Quiet character model but apart from that, this is not real. Quiet is just made up of pixels, nothing more, nothing less.
- Here’s a video link to the scene of Venom Snake and Quiet messing around in the rain.
- Check out her wiki page here (warning of spoilers!).
- Want to join in the discussion? Here’s a link to the forum page.
Thank-you to my friend Crimson_Sky14 for suggesting this to me. Thank-you for reading, hope you enjoyed!