Quiet but not Silent; MGSV and game journalist bullshit

I don’t think I actually need to link any articles to demonstrate the rather extreme criticism of Hideo Kojima, Kojima Productions, and Konami for the appearance of the character Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V. Instead, I’ll lead with what Kojima himself had to say on the matter:

We all know Hideo Kojima is meta and modernist as fuck. The reason for Quiet’s exposure is hardly secret; the player is outright told in the game. The “secret” was out before the game’s retail release, due to leaks and street date-breaking. So, what is the “secret reason” for Quiet’s exposure? Well, unlike most game “critics” I did Kojima the favor of actually paying attention to the game, what goes on in it, and the social commentary being made.

Let’s start with this:

And, in this video, Joosten discusses the level of mocapping she did for the game (long story short, everything but the stunt work). So, the big question is “why?”. Well, “why?” beyond the realm of the technical. This video answers that quite succinctly, at least in my opinion:

The central theme of the game is communication. More superficially, communication as expressed through spoken language, but lest we forget communication is also carried out (for the most part, even) nonverbally through expression and body language. So where does that leave a character who is effectively mute?

One that communicates through nonverbally, that’s where (well, aside from her humming to indicate she has a target and is ready to open fire as a game mechanic conceit, that is). If the player actually watches Quiet rather than gawks at her lack of clothing, it becomes pretty damn clear pretty damn quick she’s easily the most communicative character in the game, especially contrasted against an entire cast of characters that talk at length but say little if anything (Ocelot, anyone?). The converse of that, of course, is that if the player gawks at Quiet’s lack of clothing rather than watches her, they’ve effectively silenced her as a character.

I’d bet the farm that’s the “secret reason for her exposure”, as Kojima put it. To accept Quiet as a character means the player must first see beyond her (lack of) clothing, and to see nothing but her exposure is to negate her character entirely. Hell, Kojima dares the player to do it, for all the (superficially) gratuitous T&A Quiet brings to the screen. Without mentioning spoilers, it’s even something the character herself calls out in a subtly fourth wall-breaking scene later in the game.

We know where critics of Kojima have placed themselves vis-a-vis Quiet. It’s bitter irony — and a rather blatant, but on Kojima’s part incredibly devious, display of hypocrisy — that in fixating on Quiet’s appearance, they’ve erased a very strong female character who is anything but silent.