Call for Chapter Proposals: New Perspectives on the Metal Gear Solid Series (edited collection)
Editors: Steven Kielich (University at Buffalo) and Chris Hall (University of the Ozarks)
In 2015, Hideo Kojima and his company Kojima Productions split from Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Kojima’s departure from Konami marked an unfortunate, but understandable, end to the Metal Gear Solid series. Now, in this “post-Phantom Pain” era, it has become both possible and essential to make a retrospective study of the critically, commercially, and culturally resonant series that was Metal Gear Solid.
The games of Metal Gear Solid pioneered and popularized the stealth video game genre, effortlessly combining cinematic style with innovative gameplay, changing the very fabric of the video game industry. Additionally, the series has retained broad cultural import. From Metal Gear Solid 2’s postmodern, techno-paranoiac take on the digitization of our world, to the deadly language-borne virus threatening to liquidate entire nations in Metal Gear Solid V, each game in the series continues to possess a cutting-edge pertinence to our daily lives. With the series’ conclusion still recently behind us, and its themes more relevant than ever, we have at present a crucial opportunity to consider and reconsider the cultural, historical, political, philosophical, and aesthetic impact of the canonical Metal Gear Solid games.
Coming amid the 35th and 25th anniversaries of Metal Gear (1987) and Metal Gear Solid (1998), this collection welcomes abstract proposals for original contributions from emerging and established scholars. Successful proposals will approach the games of the Metal Gear Solid franchise through a variety of lenses and frameworks. Essays that respond to and extend existing Metal Gear Solid scholarship and criticism in new directions are welcome, as are those that carve out entirely new territory. This collection will serve as exegesis of and critical companion to the series by not only celebrating and critiquing these games, but critically interrogating them.
While each entry in the series has been the subject of spirited debate and critique both within and outside of academia, the series itself has yet to be considered as a whole through a rigorously curated, book-length edited collection. This volume will be the first collection of critical inquiries into the Metal Gear Solid series. Essays should take an interdisciplinary approach in moving to elucidate or complicate the impact of the series. By offering scholars the opportunity to approach the series from new perspectives, contributions will necessarily come from a diverse range of disciplinary and methodological approaches, including but not limited to:
- (Subversion of) player expectations, player/personal agency, autonomy, and interactivity
- Studies that consider the role of violence, rape, torture, trauma, and memory throughout the series
- Studies that consider the series’ approach to gender and sexuality: (hyper)masculinity, femininity, and queerness/feminist or eco-feminist readings of the series
- The human and the posthuman; Deleuze’s nonrepresentational philosophy (becoming-animal; becoming-machine; becoming-other)
- Essays that consider technology, embodiment, prostheses, and/or possession
- Science and medicine: innovation, mechanization, aging, disability, and healing
- Bioethics, technoethics, and the (a/im)morality of genetic modification
- Essays that analyze neurotechnology (nanomachines; codecs; A.I.; virtual reality) in the series and its potential links with contemporary issues/premises (e.g. Neuralink)
- Psychoanalytic/philosophical approaches to the series’ narratives or characters
- Analyses of the series’ villains and their motivations
- Analyses of the series’ female characters and their motivations
- The cinematic, literary, philosophical, musical or historical influences of the series
- The presence and importance of the supernatural and magic, dreams and nightmares
- Ecocritical approaches: ecology, ecosystems, nature preservation, or character/nature relationships
- Race/racism in/of the series: African racial dynamics; whiteness; racialized life
- Pedagogies and teaching through the series / approaches to teaching Metal Gear Solid
- Critical theory and cultural studies approaches (colonial, imperial, postcolonial)
- War and warfare: political readings, including analysis of biopolitics, international relations, terrorism, militarization and war, and nuclear proliferation
- Game worlds: narratologies, geographies, topographies
- Sound and haptics: hearing, seeing, sensing, and feeling
- Studies that account for the material engagements of the series’ game design, art, and promotion, especially Yoji Shinkawa’s art
The topics featured in this call invite scholars to consider a wide range of possibilities as they critically investigate and analyze the canonical entries to the Metal Gear Solid series: Metal Gear Solid (1998); Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001); Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004); Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008); Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010); Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (2014); and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015). Authors are welcome to include non-canonical titles in the series, but these should not be their primary focus. The essays that are received from this call will be reviewed and assembled by the editors so as to provide the most cohesive and well-rounded arrangement of critical work. The volume is aimed at a scholarly audience while still being as accessible as possible to fans and enthusiasts of the Metal Gear Solid games.
Please submit a 300-500 word abstract of your proposed chapter contribution and a brief CV including complete contact information by December 1st, 2022 to Steven Kielich and Chris Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors are welcome to reach out to Steven Kielich (email@example.com) or Chris Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly with any inquiries, but please do not submit abstracts, CVs, or contact information to the editors’ .edu emails.
Full chapters of accepted proposals will be between 5,000-8,000 words and will likely be due late April 2023 after signing a contract with a publisher. This collection is currently under consideration with McFarland & Co. for their Studies in Gaming series, edited by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell, and has received considerable interest from the press.
Note that acceptance of a proposed abstract does not guarantee the acceptance of the full chapter into the completed volume.
Editors: Steven Kielich (University at Buffalo) and Chris Hall (University at the Ozarks)