Games publisher Konami turned to Logan to produce five short films as the introduction to the game Metal Gear Solid 4, immersing players in the sinister world of the not-too-distant future.
The fourth instalment of Metal Gear Solid, a series of stealth-based games, has proved popular – selling over three million copies worldwide in its first two weeks on sale, according to publisher Konami.
Part of the series’ success has been in creating a plausible near-future world with a dark, tech-heavy, militaristic edge. For Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the game’s creator Hideo Kojima tapped LA-based production company Logan to create a series of short films that run at the beginning of the game, to provide a further insight into this dystopian world. The films can be watched here.
Originally Logan’s co-founder Alexei Tylevich was asked by the renowned Kojima to design the identity for Metal Gear Solid 4, including the logo.
Later, at a meeting between the two in LA, Kojima asked Tylevich to create an opening sequence unlike that found on most other games.
“Kojima was essentially asking for original content to be created,” remembers Tylevich, “and I thought it was pretty incredible since he is the writer of the series. I collaborated on the script with my sister [Katya Tylevich, who also writes for the satirical Web site The Onion].
"I presented a wide variety of concepts, none of which incorporated cinematics or characters from the game. Some ideas were abandoned, as they seemed too conventional.”
The idea that the two settled on was to create the experience of flipping through TV channels broadcast by five of the game’s PMCs (Private Military Corporations, who fight wars on behalf of businesses), catching commercials and parts of programmes.
Each commercial was imagined as a corporate image spot for a particular PMC, and was conceived in the same way as an real-world ad campaign – using metaphors, associative imagery, voiceover, and a variety of media from CG to live-action.
“I thought it would be cool to imagine the different ways in which the companies could set themselves apart from their competition,” says Tylevich.
“Werewolf has a corporate voice trying to appear reliable, Pieuvre Armement chooses the tongue-in-cheek language of a perfume commercial, and Otselotovaya Khvatka plays to heroic, nationalist tendencies of its viewers.
"They were not meant to be literal or offer explanation about the PMCs, but rather evocative of something larger that may exist in the outside world that the game itself doesn’t touch upon.”
Alongside commercials for the five PMCs (Otselotovaya Khvatka, Pieuvre Armement, Praying Mantis, Raven Sword and Werewolf), Logan also created segments from five TV shows.
These include a gameshow (7th Circle), an exercise video (Body of Armor), a cooking programme (Bombshelter Buffet), a talkshow (Celebrity Moralist) and a nature programme (Ocean of Gossip). Over 20 minutes of video was created in total.