Kojima Productions has revealed the first gameplay and story details of Metal Gear Solid: Rising at Konami's E3 press conference.
The game will be set between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, and show how protagonist Raiden changed from his first appearance in MGS2: Sons of Liberty to be the cybernetic samurai ninja seen in Hideo Kojima's PS3 opus MGS4: Guns of the Patriots.
It will blend stealth play with the fururistic, samurai-style dismemberment seen in the trailer shown at Monday's Microsoft press conference. But the stealth will be much faster-paced than that employed by Solid (or Naked) Snake, and utilise Raiden's acrobatic abilties to allow you to sneak and attack from on high.
You'll be able to take life, energy, parts, ammunition and items from enemies by chopping them free - but, said producer Shigenobu Matsuyama, you'll need to strategise what you take.
"You saw [Raiden] pulled out the guts from a cyborg," Matsuyama said. "We call it in our development studio a stomach battery, what he pulled out. He actually absorbed the enery from that.
"At times you could even take information. This is how you proceed in the game, but what's so different from other action games is you really have to strategise what you take, and you really have to aim and angle where you want to cut. So it's a little bit one step further than the normal sword action games in the market today," he said.
Director Mineshi Kimura explained that the "Zan-Datsu" samuari concept, or "Cut at will", will allow you to cut enemies, objects and scenery wherever you want and adjust the angle that you aim. It will also allow for non-lethal combat.
"You can cut anywhere you want and destroy it, but you can actually aim where as well and that leaves you the freedom of killing your opponent, or you could cut without killing your opponent," Kimura said. "It's really up to the player how you cut." He said the comic watermelon scene at the end of the trailer was there to show just how much precision the player can exercise.
He didn't provide details of how the controls will work. "We're working on the control part and how it works, but I can assure you that when you get used to this system you can have fun just cutting and cutting."
Kimura reassured the audience that the game will still feature the stealth gameplay associated with Metal Gear Solid, despite its new "Lightning Bolt Action" tagline.
"Of course Metal Gear Solid: Rising will have stealth elements, but it's not like the stealth you've experienced in Metal Gear Solid before," he said.
"I'm going to utilise Raiden's ability and have more speed in the stealth, so you don't have to worry about back problems like Snake had in the past," he joked.
Verticality will be a much bigger feature in Rising, he explained. "I also want to implemet height stealth because of Raiden's acrobatic abilities, so we don't want to have that hiding on the ground like the hero we had in the past. I want to make this stealth different - almost like a hunting stealth," Kimura said.
Although Raiden's main weapon will be his katana, he will also have "sub-weapons", Kimura revealed.
On the story, Matsuyama said he wasn't allowed to say much, but revealed that Rising would be set between MGS2 and MGS4 in Metal Gear Chronology, bridging the gap in Raiden's character and powers between the two games.
Concluding, Matsuyama said: "I assure you Metal Gear Solid: Rising will be somthing different, a totally new experience that you'll have with the sword. The actual stealth-ness of the katana, and the strength, not even losing to a gun.
"I want to express the fear or the power you have with this blade in this game, and what I want to do is raise the populairty of Raiden even more in this game. Please look forward to hearing more about Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
We certainly do. Metal Gear Solid: Rising will be released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2011.