Just like its predecessor, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty received its own art book filled with sketches and drawings by Yoji Shinkawa, the game’s art director. The book, titled ‘The Art of Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty – Yoji Shinkawa Official Illustration Book Part 2’, was released in Japan in April of 2002, a few months after the launch of the game.
The 160-page book is made up of five parts:
- Official Illustrations Part 1
- Concept Illustrations Part 1
- Official Illustrations Part 2
- Concept Illustrations Part 2
- Talk Collaboration – Yoji Shinkawa & Takato Yamamoto
Artworks used for promotional purposes, like boxarts, posters, magazine covers, etc. These are the more familiar ones. Its content ranges from colored arts of the various characters, to full page posters, and there’s even a fold-out artwork of Olga. It also contains some artwork made for Metal Gear Solid Ghost Babel, the spin off for Game Boy Color that was released a few years earlier.
Artworks used during development, like sketches, character designs, etc. Here we can find drawings of the game’s characters, environments and mechanical designs. Printed on darker, less smooth paper. The part with concept illustration is often one of the most fascinating segments of these books as it also shows sketches of scrapped characters or early designs for characters that ended up looking very differently. For example, some art shows sketches of Vamp before this character was changed from female to male, and designs for unused characters like ‘Doc’, ‘Max’ and ‘Chinaman’, a boss who was ultimately cut from the game.
An interview-like conversation between Yoji Shinkawa and Takato Yamamoto (an illustrator who worked on novels, magazine covers and ads, and has had several exhibitions). The text is in both Japanese and English, which is nice for non-Japanese speakers, since it provides some pretty interesting insight into how Shinkawa works. A cool looking illustration of Raiden, made by Yamamoto, can be found here as well, and some black and white photos of both artists, as well as a brief description of Shinkawa’s career.
As always this book is a joy for Metal Gear fanatics. Not only is it filled with gorgeous Shinkawa art, it also sheds some light on the creative process behind the famous game and its characters, and how they ended up looking like they did. However, since the book released well over a decade ago, it’s not that easy to find for a reasonable price. Still, it’s a great item for any Metal Gear collector, and fan of Shinkawa’s artwork.
The Art of Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty – Yoji Shinkawa Official Illustration Book Part 2
Published in Japan on April 15th 2002 by the KONAMI Corporation