Kojima on the necessity of Ground Zeroes’ gruesome scene, and its censorship in Japan

Realizing some of the shocking scenes in Metal Gear Solid V was difficult, but it was also necessary. This was explained by Hideo Kojima in an interview with Belgian fansite MetalGearSolid.be.

The site asked Kojima how is team reacted to the horrible scene with Paz that can be seen in the E3 2012 trailer.


Kojima explained that, as one can imagine, the team was very much opposed to the idea. However, for Kojima it was a very important scene, because it will justify the metamorphosis Snake will go through, and it is from here MGSV will become a dramatic episode. Of course, it was necessary to have this cruel scene imposed on the player to show Snake’s emotions from a narrative point of view.


As we know, both motion and facial capture was used for the game, after which it was dubbed for the Japanese version. When working on the dub of the famous torture scene, the team was so disturbed by the scene that they began to cry. It was difficult to shoot this scene, and they were forced to take regular breaks. They were so overcome with emotions that they were also very embarrassed by it.

In Japan, this scene is somewhat censored: the camera moves away to avoid showing what is going on.

Here is a comparison of the scene in the Japanese version (on the left) and the North-American/European version (spoilers for those who haven’t played the game yet):

Thanks to B1GN05E on Twitter!

Source: MGS.be

  • MitchXOF

    They did a good job at censoring it without changing the feel of the scene. I almost like it better in the censored version as you can see the emotion in snake and chico’s faces more clearly.

  • PrinceHeir

    Reminds me of The Last of US Censorship, They didn’t really exactly censored the scene itself, but rather change the angles when the scene is being take place.

    Still I don’t know why they censor stuff like this, while we have movies like Ichi The Killer that has full blown nudity, decapitated bodies showing their organs and all.

    • Hellrasinbrasin

      Because the standard for what is considered Taboo in Films vs Video Games in Japan are 2 completely different things.

      • Not only in Japan. As soon as a video game has violence in it, it gets an 18+ rating here. Meanwhile, the most violent and gory movies are still 16+.

        • William of Orange

          Not entirely true, there’s some development. COD:Ghosts got an 16+ rating. It used to be 18+.

    • 홍성철

      because Videogame consoles in Japan, it’s categorizate for family use.

      it’s ‘old regulation’ before ‘children protect function’. but still intactly 🙁

      one of dosen’t keep up with age.

  • William of Orange

    I don’t know if I’m entering sinister territories, but reading about the team taking regular breaks and at one point, some members of the team started crying, makes me wonder: did any of you guys felt uncomfortable during this scene? If so, why?

    • No Place For Hayter


      No not really, but that scene should have really impacted me; I think there are two main reasons that scene really had no affect on me.

      1) I had seen it all in trailers a thousand times before.

      2) I found the characters and the way the camera was handled to be very awkward for me and because of this I never was even remotely immersed in what was going on.

      For those who are wondering what I found awkward.

      1) The camera’s “one take one camera” made the camera feel like another human being and thus for me made every scene feel crowded specifically in the helicopter.

      2) the camera was never focused on the right place, for example when Paz’s guts are spilling out we are shown her guts and blood instead of the looks on the faces of Big Boss and Chico, we do see a bit of there faces but not a whole lot, instead of conveying a sense of the scene and it’s emotions we got Paz’s guts in our face.

      3) Big Boss and Kaz always had a soft spot for Paz, and Kaz even knew who she was all along, and yet in ground zeroes they all want to kill her because they hate her because she betrayed them. It feels like they did not remember who they were in peace walker.

      4) Big Boss from the point where he sees mother base being destroyed to the point where paz starts talking about a bomb, Big Boss does not say a SINGLE word, Big Boss sees all he built in front of him killed and burned and not a word of any emotion and not even a single question as to what happened from Kaz, the only character that seemed to react to anything was Kaz.

      5) When Big Boss gets Chico and Paz on the helicopter he sits back and chills, why? he needs to know if either of them has said anything and he needs to know if any of them are hurt (Paz’s shirt is covered in blood for god sakes) but instead of any of that he just sits back and relaxes until Chico yells at him.

      6) Aside from the medic being thee worst voice actor ever but the line “no time for anesthetic” makes no sense at all, (A) they would have some around to treat major wounds (B) no time? why does he think they have no time? it is not clear on what he means and because of this it seems shoe horned in just so Paz can suffer.

      7) Big Boss’s reaction to the object in Paz’s stomach, how does he know it’s a bomb and why is he so certain? and why does he lose his mind and start yelling at everyone? getting loud and shocked all because of an assumption he makes.

      8) Not a single person has any questions for Chico? not a single person asks if it was chico who talked? Chico has talked under torture and pressure before, Paz is a special agent and Chico is just a kid my first thought is “Chico talked” not “Stupid Paz”

      9) All the side characters from peace walker disappear with the reason that they are all just away at the moment, Amanda is even talking to Kaz in one audio tape but we do not hear her voice at all. This all feels like a cheap excuse to not hire the voice actors again.

      I think all these problems stem from two things.

      1) The characters are acting as they will in the phantom pain, that is NINE YEARS from now instead of acting like who they were in peace walker.

      2) Kojima’s new approach to having everything be about subtle emotions has him ignoring characters normal reactions. When Big Boss sees all his work burned and killed, he would not give a subtle reaction, he would give a very strong reaction, but the only thing we get at the most is him yelling once. I think in Kojima’s new approach of subtle he is missing the non-subtle, most the time peoples reactions are not subtle and I think Kojima missed that.

      • Castlebridge

        I completely agree with the 4. point. Big Boss doesn’t say a word, and it was very strange, since his facial expressions weren’t that intense to express what he -should- feel. He’s more like someone who’s high and just staring at the events.

        Secondly – and maybe I won’t be popular with that – I hate PAZ’s voice in this game. She just can’t deliver the emotional depths, and it really kills the experience to me. (The “Will you really kill zero for me?” and the screams when they remove the bomb is ridiculous).

        • William of Orange

          It’s not that bad, I hated her voice during Paz’s “angel of peace” act in PW. Did you obtain all the tape’s? If not, trust me, her voice will grow on you. This applies to Skull Face as well, I used to think that the VA’s performance was a bit dull, but after listening to his motives and his backstory, the voice started to grow on me.

          • Castlebridge

            Yes I agree with the Skull Face thing, he’s great in the casette tapes. Can’t wait to find out more about him.

          • No Place For Hayter

            I thought at first that Skull Face had a bad voice actor but after hearing everything I think he can do a great job.

            Every voice actor in MGSV-GZ seems to not be giving it their all, who ever is directing the voice recording sessions really needs to put the boot down and get better quality performances, I mean some of the lines are out of place when said, the voice director should have easily caught onto those lines and had them redone, but instead we seem to be getting weird performances from everyone.

          • William of Orange

            Idk, Both Skull Face’s VA and Tara Strong’s performance were pretty “solid”, if you ask me. Kiefer was overall not that bad, but he sounded like Jack Bauer on various occasions (MEDIC!!!!-Kiefer Sutherland). Robin Atkin downes did a decent job, Kaz’s is way cooler than Campbell! But once he’s angry, he’s not really evincive.
            (THAT SPYING BITCH)! If kaz actually attacked and beated the living crap out of her, he would have convinced me, right away.
            But he holds back…. wtf!?

          • No Place For Hayter

            Over all yeah they did a good job, but what I’m saying is that there are cracks in their voice acting performance (for example skull face in the first cut scene sounds terrible, like an over acting tough guy, but in the audio tapes he sounds great, same thing with Kaz in the opening scene his line “you will just miss our “guests”” there is no reason to make the word “guests” sound ominous and secret, it is just a normal line, even the Japanese voice actor for Kaz treated this line like a normal information line and not something dramatic) and it’s the voice directors job to fix those cracks but here the weak lines are kept.

            But it is just my opinion that some lines are really weak, some people might like them a lot.

          • The reason he is saying ‘guests’ like that is because he’s being sarcastic. They don’t want the inspectors there, in fact Big Boss told Huey to decline their request but he invited them anyway. So they’re unwanted, hence ‘guests’.

          • No Place For Hayter

            You may be right I might just be taking the line out of context, but all Kaz does is add a dramatic pause, I personally have a hard time taking a dramatic pause as sarcasm, the only thing the pause does for me is make the line feel dramatic, but in the end I’m not psychic.

      • primepeng

        I saw my own face….that will describe how their faces look like

      • Heinz Catsup

        I agree with 3 since as soon as I saw Kaz lashing out at Paz I was like “Dude you knew who she & Zadornov were all along so why so pissed?” when he was just as guilty as she was, aside from the fact that he, too, was working with Zero (Cipher).

    • Golgari

      I felt uncomfortable because of fantastic sound effects that happened during this emotional scene.
      In fact, I think Ground Zeroes has the best sound effects in M-rated games. The atmosphere is incredible when “shit” happens.

      Also, the way camera is moving during these scenes… You not only believe in this but you think that you are there with them.

      But this scene has not effect on me story wise because we saw all this in trailers.

      • William of Orange

        Thank you for sharing! Yeah, it’s horrible,all right. I…. Nah, forget about it.

      • glitchbomb

        Yeah, i really wish they just kept it out of the trailers. Instead of just a sort of twist ending we would have been treated to a double whammy!

      • Machine Gun Kid

        Well put, couldent agree more

    • I felt uncomfortable. After reading Paz’s tapes I really started to like and pity that character, it’s easy to feel sorry for her.

      And even though it’s fiction, rape in war is still a thing. So many people throughout history somewhere have very likely endured the same sort of torture. It’s depressing really.

      • William of Orange

        Yeah, she and chico became a lot more interesting, after listening to all the cassette tapes.

      • CrazyGuy207

        Which one was she raped in? I heard them all but they just sounded like they were beating her up.

        • No Place For Hayter

          Chico’s Tape 4

        • primepeng

          the pants being unzipped…

  • William of Orange

    Hey ” No place for Hayter”,
    I’ve read your comment and you made some valid arguments, but I assume Nyxus (aka Cipher, nah just kidding) banned your comment, because of the major spoilers you adressed in your comment.

    • No Place For Hayter

      Lucky for me Snake, Otacon, and Raiden killed the AI’s and now my useless internet information is up, lol.

      • William of Orange

        Lol, it’s back online? Hmm, anyway,*spoilers* (Nyxus, ban this post, please): How did Heuy managed to escape MB? Am I the only person who noticed this?

        • No Place For Hayter

          *SPOILERS* IN POST
          In one audio tape Skull Face says the scientist was their way in (I assume he meant Huey) implying that Huey betrayed Big Boss for what ever reason, in which case either Huey left before hand or was pulled out while the rest died.

          • William of Orange

            Lol, I listened to every tape, but I can’t recall your info at all!
            which tape was it?

          • No Place For Hayter

            Chico’s Tape 6

          • William of Orange


          • No Place For Hayter

            Though Skull Face might be referring to Huey’s stupidity and not his cooperation.

          • Invader_skoodge

            If I recall correctly, if you listen to the briefing tapes, I think Huey Insisted on the inspection. Big Boss said to send them a message refusing the inspection later Miller tells Big Boss that Huey let the dateline to refuse the inspection pass, and had already set it up so he just went with it. Another thing to notice is that Dr. Strangelove had left Mother Base some time before this events. I think I have a little more understanding on why on the red band trailer, Miller is interrogating Huey . I’m no good at speculation, but this is a juicy story.

          • Guest

            Yeah, the timing is a, little to0o perfect.

          • Guest

            Could be a part of why Huey is taking a bird bath.

          • glitchbomb

            Yeah, the timing was a little to0o perfect.
            Could be part of why Huey is taking a bird bath in TPP.

  • .

    It was just hurting my stomach to watch this because you can just imagine how painful this was, also in reality she would have passed out before they even got the thing out.

  • Paul Hoffmann

    I don`t know, I thought the censored version is far more effective, because you only hint at the operation and the most of it is happening in your mind… I`m still unsure of the scene. Maybe it would`ve been more effective if Big Boss himself forced the medic to do the surgery without anasthetics, to do what`s necessary to protect himself and Chico… so afterwards he would hate himself for doing it… but anyway… I mean, it`s a strong symbol, the girl of peace and purity from “Peace Walker” being corrupted, first by revealing herself to be a double agent, then by destroying her body and mind… Paz was in many ways more a projection than a character.

  • Nekkedsnake

    I gotta say, when I first saw the scene after I finished the mission I was expecting it to be worse than it turned out to be. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it was gonna be. That said, the whole cutscene was Fucking EPIC.

  • Solid Snakes Revenge

    One thing I don’t understand to the censoring is that when the original resident evil came out Japan got the uncensored version and US got the censored one. I know they are totally different games but it still doesn’t make much sense to me why Japan’s got censored eventhough they’ve had gruesome scenes before in games.

    • syrup16g

      Japan didn’t have its game rating system, CERO, before 2002. The rating system was also revised in 2006. MGSV:GZ is rated ‘D’ in Japan which is not the highest level, ‘Z’, which requires ID (over 18) to purchase. However, The Last of Us was rated ‘Z’ in Japan and was still censored. Japan has many contradictory laws and policies and this is just one of them. To put it simply, laws got stricter over time.

      • Solid Snakes Revenge

        Thanks for the reply and the knowledgable answer. I’m in America so yeah I had no idea things got stricter. I always thought since I saw the comparison of the Japan and US Resident evil 1 that Japan was more hardcore than us. Thanks again.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    how much more intense does the scene get if what we saw in the red band trailer was already very heart wrenching? (I haven’t played through the game yet so that’s why I’m asking and I don’t want spoilers).

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