On Metal Gear Solid 5’s Quiet: Kojima, You Can Do Better
Kojima can do better with Quiet’s design.
Hideo Kojima and his crew at Kojima Productions have never shied away from creating sexy, if strong female characters. Throughout the Metal Gear Solid series of games, we've seen characters like Meryl Silverburgh, Naomi Hunter, and Sniper Wolf—strong secondary characters who've served not only as foils for the protagonist Snake, but as interesting characters in their own right. Savannah Harrison writes about them in her recently published piece on the "Daughters of Liberty."
At first glance, Quiet appears to be an interesting female character like any other that has graced the series. However, Kojima's recent remarks on how he had plans for a "more erotic" Metal Gear Solid 5 character throw any preconceptions about Quiet into disarray.
Her character design reveals her to be wearing little more than a bikini and fishnet stockings. Far be it for anyone to judge the character on her outfit alone, but it's all very creepy in context of Kojima's remarks that he intends for the character to be "erotic" to sell figurines and encourage cosplay.
Kojima has attempted to clarify his remarks. "Maybe the phrase 'erotic' wasn't really [the correct word for] what I was trying to say," Kojima says. "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.”
Personally, I don't see the difference between "erotic" and "sexy". They're synonymous terms that mean almost the exact same thing. Maybe in Kojima's mind, "erotic" means "slutty" while "sexy" has a more classy meaning to it. Who knows?
"I want to create a character everyone can feel okay to objectify" is how I personally read Kojima's remarks on 'eroticizing' the character, and that hasn't at all changed with his attempt to clarify his remarks.
Echoing my own reaction to the subject, other members of the press, and in particular Halo 4 designer David Ellis have called out the the design as "disgusting" and "lazy".
It's possible to create attractive, sexy, deadly femme fatales without resorting to the laziest possible designs. Kojima isn't untalented. He's capable of creating nuanced, well-written female characters. But Quiet's design is just lazy, plain and simple. It's hard to see what the context is for making her look the way she does, but as she's presented right now, there's very little to defend about the way she looks.