First, the bad news: it seems as if Konami's promised 'lightning bolt action' might not be as quicksilver as we'd hoped. New rumourage reckons Rising's not going to make its original 2011 release date.
Whether - as some sources indicate - it's because gaming auteur legend Hideo Kojima has decided to devote more time to assisting this 'interquel's' development is unconfirmed, but there's no doubting this slash-heavy side project is a cosmic departure from Metal Gear's sneaky-sneaky roots.
As to what Rising actually is? Put simply, we're still hesitant. 'Lightning bolt' suggests brutal blade-based battling a la DMC - but when director Mineshi Kimura teases that killing humans won't actually benefit Raiden (as opposed to slicing 'n' dicing cybernetic foes, whose death provides our mechy man with various health replenishments and upgrades) we begin to suspect there's more to Rising's mettle than simple button bashing/hacking 'n' slashing.
Indeed, stealth will play some kind of factor in proceedings - with Raiden's preternatural abilities allowing him to leap onto roofs to avoid detection.
Konami's most prized invention, though, seems to be their 'cutting' mechanic, which allows you to actually guide Raiden's sword arm to orchestrate surgically precise slashes.
We've seen the results of this on various unfortunate melons/mechs, and it's undoubtedly impressive. As to how it'll impact upon gameplay? Konami still aren't really telling.
Given MGS's sprawling, slavering fanbase - allied to Konami's natural inscrutability and propensity for teasers - we've already seen some intriguing theories popping up on the interwebulator regarding Rising.
Eagle-eyed types spotted the contradiction in colouration between MGS4 Raiden's eye (blue) and his face orbs in Rising (yellow).
Remember, just like 'Snake', 'Raiden' is simply a callsign and not a name. So whether this Raiden could be a clone, a predecessor, a secret half-brother... maybe even the original MGS's Gray Fox... well, you wouldn't put anything past wily old Kojima, would you? Fingers crossed it'll still make 2011.
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