What Osama bin Laden and Metal Gear Solid Have in CommonS

On Sept. 11, 2001, the world changed forever. Al-Qaeda, the organization Osama bin Laden created, carried out attacks that left thousands dead. The impact was felt around the world.

Either out of respect or fear of being insensitive, the second entry in the popular Japanese stealth series Metal Gear Solid was altered. According to Metal Gear creator, the characters were named after warplanes and weapons. "'Raiden' is named after the Japanese navy's local battle plane 'Raiden,'" tweeted Kojima.

Until 9/11, Raiden's name was written in katakana as ライデン or literally "Raiden".

"On the Japanese version, 'Raiden' was spelled in katakana until the 911 happened," Kojima continued. "After the 911, it was decided to spell in Kanji."

So Raiden (ライデン) became 雷電 in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, which was released in November 2001 in North America.

"Since the story resembled 911 closely, and some people said 'Raiden' reminds them of 'Bin Laden,'" added Kojima, who also noted that the pronunciation between "Raiden" and "Laden" are different.

In Japanese, "Laden" is written as ラーディン. Regardless, nobody in Japanese refers to Osama bin Laden as simply "Laden". It's like calling Robert De Niro simply "Niro" or Leonardo da Vinci as "Vinci".

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had content cut because of 9/11. According to the Metal Gear Wiki, the game's novelization—released in 2009—contained deleted scenes such Raiden cutting down the American flag as well as one depicting a vessel crashing into Manhattan.

Even as innocuous as the "Raiden" and "Laden" comparison seems today, think back to that fall in 2001. No wonder these changes were made.

An HD version of the game will be out this November, featuring Raiden, whose name is still written in kanji.

Hideo_Kojima [Twitter]

(Top photo: Konami)

You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at bashcraft@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.