Note: This article is about the character in Metal Gear. For other uses of the name, see Raiden
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Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, as illustrated by Yoji Shinkawa.
|Series||Metal Gear series|
|First game||Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty|
|Created by||Hideo Kojima|
|Designed by||Yoji Shinkawa|
|Voiced by (English)||Quinton Flynn|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Ken'yū Horiuchi|
|Motion capture actor(s)||Eiji Morisaki, Takeshi Yoshioka (MGS4)|
|Also known as||"Jack the Ripper", "White Devil". Briefly assumed the codename "Snake" before the Big Shell incident.|
|Affiliations|| Army of the Devil (Liberian Civil War) - Pre-MGS2|
Force XXI (sometime before 2009) - Pre-MGS2
Pseudo-FOXHOUND operative unknowingly employed by The Patriots (2009) - MGS2
Free Agent - MGS4
Raiden (雷電), whose real name is Jack, is a character in the Metal Gear series. Raiden literally means "lightning god" as it comes from the word raijin in Japanese. Rai means thunder and Shin means God He is the protagonist of the Plant Chapter, the main act of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2), and a supporting character in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (MGS4). His role as the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2 was a controversial twist, both for the unexpected substitution of the established hero, Solid Snake, and for his androgynous appearance, the latter so much that the ridiculing of his effeminate appearance became a running gag in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (MGS3) and several early Metal Gear Solid 4 promotional videos featured on Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. Compared to his reception in the West, he became a popular character on Eastern shores. He is set to appear as the main playable character in the next Metal Gear game Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
Concept and creation
According to the series creator, Hideo Kojima, the decision to make a new character the main protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2 instead of Snake stemmed from the developer's desire to develop Snake from a third-person perspective, as well as to avoid treating Snake like a rookie again. Kojima has also stated that Raiden's character and its perception by the audience were important for the overall feel of the story (i.e. they contribute to a sense of lack of control, being subjected to major manipulation by unknown, deceptive and/or mysterious persons, and a general lack of knowledge about the conditions and motives of several characters as well as the twists and turns of the plot). Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2 is considered to be a representation of the player, through the shared experiences between the player and the character during the course of the game.
Designer Yoji Shinkawa noted in the Making of Metal Gear Solid 2 featurette that he and the other character designers took a great deal of inspiration for Raiden's appearance from the bishonen (or "pretty boy") archetype. Kojima had received many pieces of fan mail and one letter stuck out at him from a female which stated she did not want to play a story with an old man. He later took this into consideration, along with his team to design a character that would be more appealing to women. The end result was Raiden (ironically, the concept of an old man being used as the lead character is revisited in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots).
Raiden's real name, Jack, was taken from the American codename for the Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" fighter plane of WWII. His role and status were also likened by the designers to those of the jack in a deck of playing cards, with Fortune representing the Queen, Solidus Snake the King, SEAL Team 10 the expendable "spot" cards and Solid Snake as the Ace.
Konami kept Raiden's starring role in Metal Gear Solid 2 a secret right up until the game's release in North America, even going so far as to replace Raiden with Snake in teaser trailers and other preview materials (although Raiden did appear in a few preview trailers in his scuba gear, his presence was not as emphasized as the other characters). The presence of Raiden in the game was announced to the Japanese press on the same day as the game's release in North America. The character proved controversial.
Sons of Liberty
The player takes control of Raiden in the Plant Chapter, where he is introduced as a newly-recruited VR trained member of FOXHOUND with no live combat experience prior to his current mission. His primary outfit in this game is a black skin-tight military uniform similar to Solid Snake's sneaking suit dubbed the Skull Suit, named due to its resemblance to a human skeleton. Assisted via Codec by his commanding officer, the Colonel, and his girlfriend Rosemary, Raiden's initial mission objective is to rescue the U.S. President and other hostages from a terrorist group dubbed "Sons of Liberty". Raiden also gains the assistance of a Navy SEALS operative named Iroquois Pliskin (Solid Snake operating under a pseudonym), and a mysterious entity dressed in a Cyborg Ninja suit calling itself Mr. X (Olga Gurlukovich in disguise).
As the story progresses, the true nature of Raiden's mission is revealed, along with his past. His commanding officer is revealed to be a computer generated A.I. built by a mysterious organization known as The Patriots, with Raiden himself unknowingly serving as one of their agents. Additionally, Raiden is revealed to had served as a child soldier for his adversary Solidus Snake during a civil war during the 1980s (specified to be the Liberian Civil War in The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2). Solidus took in Raiden after murdering his true parents. Raiden battles and defeats Solidus at the end of the game and is reunited with Rose.
Raiden is scheduled to appear as the main character in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The title will be set between Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots and will chronicle his transformation into a cyborg ninja and his personal transition into his "MGS4 self", as roughly outlined in the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database.
Little is presently known about the plot of the game, but it occupies the period of time during which Raiden left Rose, rescued Sunny from the Patriot's Area 51 stronghold, and became affiliated with Big Mama's resistance force, Paradise Lost. Following an unsuccessful infiltration of Area 51 to recover Big Boss's remains, Raiden is captured by the Patriots and used as a test subject in the latest incarnation of their Perfect Soldier Project, of which Gray Fox had previously been a victim.
Already beginning his transformation into a cyborg, Raiden's cybernetic body is markedly different from the one he would later be outfitted with in Metal Gear Solid 4, and Rising will reveal the details of how and why these changes occurred. His exoskeleton is somewhat more savage, with metal plates and jagged edges protruding from his shoulders and forearms. A barcode pattern is imprinted on his forehead, and small screws and surgical scars can be seen above his left eye, which is covered by a bandanna worn as an eyepatch. His hair is swept upwards, and while initial renders depicted his right eye as red, footage from the E3 2010 trailer shows that his eyes are blue, and appear to simply glow red as part of an aiming mode.
Guns of the Patriots
Raiden appears as a non-playable character in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Following the events of Rising, Raiden is now a cyborg as a result of The Patriots' machinations. The trauma of his break-up with Rose, coupled with the apparent miscarriage of his child and rigorous training, have turned Raiden into a cold and emotionless fighter. He seems to care nothing for his own life or Rose. He is outfitted with a cybernetic exoskeleton similar to the one worn by Gray Fox in the original Metal Gear Solid. Working as a free agent, Raiden has rescued Sunny from the Patriots, leaving her in the care of Snake and Otacon, and was recruited by Big Mama to find the corpse of Big Boss, and later leads Snake to her resistance force "Paradise Lost." In South America, Raiden reveals himself to Snake after fending off a squadron of Gekko. He informs Snake of Mama's whereabouts after fighting Vamp, whom he previously defeated during his infiltration of the Big Shell. Though victorious, he is severely wounded in the fight. Raiden later recovers and assists Snake on Shadow Moses Island and defeats Vamp once and for all after Snake returns him to his mortal state, and helps Snake escape the collapsing hangar with the reactivated Metal Gear REX. During the attack on Liquid Ocelot's Outer Haven, Raiden sacrifices himself and is apparently crushed to death by the warship. He is confirmed by Otacon to have survived but is in no condition to help Snake in his final mission aboard Outer Haven. However, as Snake makes his way deeper into Outer Haven, he is saved once again by Raiden from a group of FROGS. Missing both arms and wielding his sword in between his teeth, Raiden holds his own for a while, but is ultimately overwhelmed, the FROGS are incapacitated when Snake and Otacon shut down the Patriots' AIs using Naomi and Sunny's FOXALIVE program, thus saving Raiden's life.
In the game's epilogue, Raiden is sent to a hospital and has all of his electronic implants removed, though closer inspection reveals that he remains heavily cybernetic, such as having new arms, but with an even skin tone. Rosemary visits Raiden in the hospital and reveals to Raiden that their child was not miscarried, and that her marriage to Campbell was a hoax designed to protect her and their son from the Patriots. Upon learning this information, Raiden reconciles with Rose.
Although Raiden himself does not appear in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the character is the subject of much self-parodying throughout the game. When the player begins the game, they are asked to choose their favorite MGS game. If "I Like MGS2" is selected, the main character Naked Snake begins the game wearing the Raikov face mask, a character who is himself a parody of Raiden. When the player returns to Grozni Grad for the second time, if the player looks in the locker they put Raikov in earlier, there is a sneaking camo suit which mimics Raiden's sneaking suit. The Metal Gear Solid 2 version of Raiden appears in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus expansion pack, where the player earns him by completing the "Infinite Missions" mode on the Hard setting, while in Metal Gear Online, the Metal Gear Solid 4 version of Raiden appears as a unique player character.
Raiden appears in an early promotional trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4 (shown at E3 2005), literally fighting for control of the franchise with Solid Snake in a series of comedic sequences. A sequel to this trailer was produced titled "Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser", in which Raiden travels to the past to assassinate Solid Snake's genetic progenitor, Naked Snake, but fails in comical fashion. "Metal Gear Raiden" was first shown at TGS 2005 and was included as a featurette in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. In the English version of this trailer, Raiden was voiced by Charlie Schlatter, Raikov's voice actor, instead of Quinton Flynn.
He also appears in the game Little Big Planet as a sticker and as a playable sack boy character. He can be accessed by buying the Metal Gear Solid 4 DLC (which is included in the GOTY Edition). And also appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a collectible sticker.
GamesRadar listed the switch from Solid Snake to Raiden as one of this decade's most memorable moments in gaming, stating that it was "one of gaming's most poorly received WTF-iest moments." They again listed the switch of protagonists, listing it this time in their top seven most definitive Metal Gear moments. Cracked.com criticized the switch as well, describing him as effeminate and whiny versus Solid Snake, who they described as "ultra cool."
- ↑ Jeremy Parish, “Raiden,” Electronic Gaming Monthly 225 (January 2008): 93.
- ↑ "Snakes and Gears: A Metal Gear Overview," Game Informer 182 (June 2008): 108.
- ↑ The Final Hours of Metal Gear Solid 2. Featured article at GameSpot
- ↑ James Howell & Ryan Payton (2008-03-20). The Kojima Productions Report Session 084. Kojima Productions. Retrieved on 2009-11-24
- ↑ Matthew Weise (2003). How Videogames Express Ideas. Level Up: Digital Games Research Conference. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved on 2009-11-21
- ↑ Metal Gear Saga Vol. 1 DVD
- ↑ The Making of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty DVD packaged with European version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
- ↑ The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2
- ↑ David Radd (November 10, 2009). 'Controversial' Games: Dealing with Fan Backlash. Industry Gamers. Retrieved on 2009-11-21
- ↑ The decade's most memorable moments in gaming. GamesRadar (2009-12-31). Retrieved on 2010-01-05
- ↑ Top 7... Definitive Metal Gear moments. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-01-05
- ↑ The 15 Most Annoying Video Game Characters (From Otherwise Great Games). Cracked (2008-02-19). Retrieved on 2010-01-05