Let’s Talk About THAT Quiet Scene in Metal Gear Solid V
Spoiler Warnings Ahead: Nothing in Metal Gear Solid V’s story is spoiled in this article, but if you wanted to watch Quiet awkwardly writhing around in the rain for yourself, then you might want to give this a miss.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain does a lot of things right. So many things, in fact, that it’s a serious contender for game of the year. However, there are also a few things that, depending upon your perspective, the game does wrong, and sitting atop that list is its treatment of Quiet.
An otherwise compelling addition to the Metal Gear series’ wide and varied cast of characters, it is a crying shame that physically she is reduced to an embarrassing source of titillation, with her needlessly sexual design (Hideo Kojima’s explanation that she breathes through her skin so therefore needs to be more-or-less naked isn’t a reasonable justification for it, no matter what he says), combined with the game’s clear objectification of her through gratuitous camera angles and awkward “intimate” scenes, all contribute to her being an unfortunate source of controversy in what at this point in time is believed to Kojima’s swansong with the series.
The very worst scene, however, takes place when you return to Mother Base with her on a rainy day, in which the following mess ensues:
While players can go through the game without encountering this scene, those who have are inevitably talking about, with it being the most unashamed example of how uncomfortable the overtly sexual portrayal of Quiet is. Now, I do not believe that sex and video games are two mutually exclusive things – though I personally cannot get my jollies off to ladies made out of polygons rendered by a team of programmers, there is certainly a very reasonable argument for sex being includes in games, much like it is in all other forms of entertainment.
I also believe that there are many who see sex in video games as a white and black argument with no shades of gray, with some routinely arguing that any portrayal of an attractive female (I am using females in this instance because so rarely is a male video game character portrayed in such a way) in a video game is inherently an example of objectification, while others believe that video game creators should be allowed to do as they please, dismissing any critique of how they feature female characters in their games as though video games should be excluded from the same sort of debates that we frequently have about movies, television and music.
But I do believe that the below image of the team at Kojima Productions angling the camera firmly at Quiet’s arse cheeks is disappointing, regardless of how silly the world of Metal Gear is.
I understand the series is a flamboyant one and that absurd scenes are expected if not required, but there are times when MGSV plays out like a pervert simulator in which the player is the unwitting participant. This is no more apparent than in this scene, in which Quiet strips down to her thong and rolls around in the rain while some incongruously introspective music plays in the background, as though this scene is meant to be an emotional one in which the player should feel something for Quiet other than wanting to wrap her up in a blanket because she might catch a cold.
As I’ve said, there is no harm in having video game characters both female and male engage in nudity or scenes of a sexual nature if they are handled well, but in the case of Quiet, the character is treated with very little dignity. Watching her crawl around on all fours in the rain doesn’t serve to add anything to the character other than adding a few more minutes onto the game in which the game intends for you to ogle its female character, and that isn’t okay.
Throw your accusations of “social justice ruining video games” at any critic of Quiet’s portrayal, but the fact remains: if we’d seen this shit in a movie we’d all be scratching our heads about it, and video games are not exempt from having a responsibility to not portray women as nothing more than a source of sexual stimulation for men.