"Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance chronicles the series of events that results in the transformation of Raiden, the protagonist and player character of Metal Gear Solid 2 into his cyborg ninja persona in Metal Gear Solid 4. Rising takes place during a point in the series' chronology at which Raiden has already begun his transformation into cyborg form, albeit with a different and somewhat more cruel appearance from the one seen in MGS4. Matsuyama has also hinted that Raiden's past as a child soldier may be elaborated on, and that his personal weaknesses as a human, such as his resolve, will be explored.
While Kimura has been unable to reveal concrete details about the game's plot, teasers have depicted Raiden's body with portions of the body armor missing, and in his Metal Gear Solid 4 armor with sword drawn, crouching on the back of what appears to be Crying Wolf. The E3 2010 trailer depicts Raiden fighting a humanoid enemy equipped with a cybernetic exoskeleton similar to those worn by Metal Gear Solid 4's Beauty and the Beast Corps, which also bleeds the same artificial white blood that Raiden uses. Gameplay sequences also showed him fighting human PMC soldiers.
Matsuyama has stated that one of his goals for Rising is to put a greater emphasis on gameplay while featuring a less complicated story with shorter cutscenes than previous titles. His intent is to provide an experience that will be fully enjoyable to players who have not experienced its predecessors, and so it will function more as a self-contained story and will likely not lead directly into the plot of MGS4."
"Players assume control of cyborg ninja Raiden, the katana-wielding ally of series mainstay Solid Snake. Like previous titles in the Metal Gear series, Rising is a stealth action game. Creative producer Shigenobu Matsuyama notes that gameplay will focus on two key elements: swordfighting, and a style of stealth that is more fast-paced and action-oriented than in previous titles.
A key gameplay feature for the game is titled zan-datsu, which involves "cutting" through enemies and "taking" parts from the bodies of dismembered cyborgs and robots. Things which can be taken include life, energy, parts, ammunition, items, and occasionally information. For example, in the E3 2010 trailer, Raiden tears a battery — in the form of a glowing mechanical spine — from a dismembered cyborg enemy, which he then crushes after absorbing energy from it to heal himself.
"Cutting" entails sophisticated swordplay that lets players engage in third person melee combat, as well as precisely slash enemies and objects "at will" along a geometrical plane using a "free slicing" mode. Virtually any object in the game can be cut, including vehicles and enemies, though elements of the environment were intentionally limited to structures such as pillars and walls to better facilitate gameplay. The free slicing mode is similar to other aiming modes in previous Metal Gear Solid titles, but produces a special targeting reticule in the form of a transparent blue plane which can be rotated and moved, tracing orange lines across the surfaces of objects to indicate exactly where they will be cut; it can also be used to enter a bullet time state, giving players the opportunity to precisely slash targets during moments of action, such as slicing through a falling target from multiple angles before it hits the ground. These features can be employed strategically, for example disabling opponents, finding weak points and gaps in armor, severing support columns to collapse ceilings or walls onto enemies, deflecting enemy fire, or cutting through objects to remove enemy cover. This is particularly important when facing cyborgs and robots, as cutting through different areas of their bodies will allow you to take different mechanical parts from within. Although Raiden's main weapon will be his high-frequency blade, he will also have "sub-weapons", Kimura revealed; gameplay footage has briefly shown Raiden wielding a dagger in his left hand.
Rising's stealth elements will emphasize Raiden's considerable speed and agility through what Matsuyama describes as "hunting stealth." Unlike the "waiting stealth" of previous titles, in which players remained hidden and avoided combat, players in Rising will instead quickly stalk their enemies and use acrobatic maneuvers to stay out of sight while closing in. This ties in with the game's zan-datsu feature, allowing them to prey upon enemies to obtain weapons, items, and energy.
Director Mineshi Kimura has stated that Rising would carry on the series tradition of encouraging players to progress through the game without killing, noting that there is a moral difference between attacking cyborgs or robots and attacking human beings, and that there's a "certain virtue to simply disabling your enemies instead of killing them."While it was considered important to give the players freedom to do what they want, Matsuyama has indicated that players will never be rewarded for killing human opponents, and that the game will be designed so that players are never forced to do so."