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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hideo Kojima
Hideo Kojima 20100702 Japan Expo 1.jpg
Kojima at the 2010 Japan Expo
Native name 小島 秀夫
Born (1963-08-24) August 24, 1963 (age 55)[1]
Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Video game designer, writer, director, producer
Years active 1986–present
Notable work Metal Gear series
Snatcher
Policenauts
Zone of the Enders series
Awards Game Developers Conference Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)[2]
The Game Awards Industry Icon Award (2016)[3]
AIAS Hall of Fame Award (2016)[4]
Signature
Hideo Kojima Signature.png

Hideo Kojima (小島 秀夫, Kojima Hideo, born August 24, 1963) is a Japanese video game designer, screenwriter, director and game producer. Regarded as an auteur of video games,[5] he founded Kojima Productions in 2005,[6] after starting at Konami Digital Entertainment where he rose to vice president in 2011.[7][1] In late 2015, Kojima became an independent game designer.

His most notable video games are the Metal Gear series of stealth games, as well as the adventure games Snatcher and Policenauts. He has also produced Zone of the Enders, Boktai and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • HIDEO KOJIMA'S GENE [Internal Perspective]

Transcription

"Dissolve." That's the word Hideo Kojima chose for the visual concept behind the game's promotional campaign. I picked "dissolve" because it signifies the end of the series under my direction, as well as the end of the Solid Snake saga. When a flower dies, it scatters its seeds. Snake's DNA, his seeds of life, dissolves into the wind and gives rise to new life in a new place... That's the kind of "dissolve" I had in mind. Likewise, I hope that I can pass various genes on to a next generation of game designers who will create future Metal Gear titles. That's the inner meaning the word has to me. The staff of Kojima Productions numbers close to 200 employees. It is a group of some of the most talented individuals in the industry, be it design, programming, scripting, or sound. At the very back of the expansive studio floor is Kojima's office. This is where all his ideas are born. This is my desk. As you can see, it's a little messy. This is where I do everything. Right now I'm checking the game and making notes about what I see. Things like, "Move this item to the right," or, "Make this sound like this." I've tried wearing a patch over my finger to prevent myself from getting a callus, but it hasn't worked. Situated next to Kojima is Yoji Shinkawa. We're in Yoji Shinkawa's office. He's in charge of character design, mechanical design, and art direction. How's it going? Hello. The two of them are close friends, having worked together on Metal Gear for over a decade. Throughout the series I've been responsible for overseeing things like the designs of the characters and the game world. All the visual aspects, basically. However, the shift to the PLAYSTATION 3 has increased Shinkawa's workload several times over. When you're working on the lighting for something, it can sometimes take ten times longer working with PS3 than PS2. It's not that we can't release the game, it just simply isn't close to being complete yet. The increase in workload isn't just due to the new hardware... Character designer Hideki Sasaki was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the game. It's not solely the PS3 that's increased the amount of work this time around, but the fact that the game itself is so much bigger. There's over eight hours of cutscenes in the game, with well over 100 characters appearing in it. We're also in charge of things like costume variations and the creation of various effects, so in reality my workload has probably increased about five-fold this time. This added work brought about significant delays in the game's development. - The entire team's under a lot of pressure right now. Everyone in the sound department is really worn-out. MGS4 has been such a massive project, and that brings various problems with it. - Honestly, I feel that right now the enemies in the game aren't quite at the level that players will be expecting. Their comments reflect the tough development process. Kojima attempts to encourage team members suffering from the stress. We have to wrap up development in the next few months. These months amount to about 50% of the entire game. How well we hold it together here will determine how good or bad the end product turns out. That's how crucial this point in time is. The closing period ultimately decides the quality of the game. Kojima continues to rally the team. We're in the last two, three months now. This is when we polish the game by carefully double-checking everything. There are certain things you can't grasp until you bring all the game's parts together, add in the music, add in the various effects, and see how it all comes together. That's when refining all those little details becomes extremely important. But you're not just focused on making it, you also have to play through it again and again. You have to get peoples' opinions on it, and make adjustments as necessary. Games are an interactive media, so you have to be very attentive to detail. That's something we're able to do for players. Kojima begins his final checking process. He plays through the game, making adjustments to the controls, presentation, and difficulty. He writes down revisions and hands them over to the appropriate people, giving them specific instructions. He returns to his office and resumes checking the game, doing nothing else the entire day. I have a suppressor equipped right now. I was spotted despite my gun not making any noise. The gun wasn't supposed to make sound right now? That's right. Not so much the gun but the enemy wasn't supposed to spot you. The game is in the Caution Phase right now. This is a bug. I was also checking when you hang from the other side of this railing. I'd asked that smoke be added to this part, so I was checking to see how it turned out. Also, there's an item on top of this platform here. I'm checking to see if you can pick it up by jumping from here. I was checking things like how footsteps sound in this area as well. Even minute aspects elicit detailed instruction. This is a revision sheet drawn up by Kojima. It's very difficult to read. It will seem hard to read, but you learn how to read it, despite how messy the handwriting is. One day it just clicks. Can anyone really read writing like that? Producer and long-time Kojima colleague, Yoshikazu Matsuhana. If you haven't worked with Mr. Kojima on games for a significant period of time, I doubt you'd be able to read it. Someone will say, "This came from Mr. Kojima for you," but the person sometimes has trouble reading it. So someone will write translations in the margins when that happens, then give it back to the person. On January 15th, the first monitoring event for the game was held. We're evaluating the boss fights here. We want to know if people can figure out how to beat them, how long it takes with each weapon... Things like that. This was the first time people from outside the development team got to play the game. The results of three years' worth of effort are laid on the table. The eyes of the team remain glued to the players. The reaction couldn't have been better. There are smiles all around. There were some people who got stuck on certain parts of the game, so we tried to address those issues... But, I think it was pretty good for a first evaluation. However, at a separate monitoring event, an unexpected problem arises. Most players don't use OctoCamo, one of the game's new features. OctoCamo is a core element of the game... It sets it apart from other games. I can't believe we've come this far without actually explaining it in the game. People on the team naturally use it, but people who have played previous Metal Gear games won't be familiar with how it works. It turns out a lot of players aren't using it. They'll hide in the cardboard box or the metal drum instead. We don't want that, so we need to introduce them to OctoCamo at an early stage of the game. We were talking about that this morning, about how to implement that. We might display a new icon on the player's screen, informing them of the OctoCamo. Then we explain the controls in a briefing-style format. Kind of like this - like an instruction booklet. It's a difficult process adding data at this stage, but we think we should add something. We'll also need to check the end result by having people play it again. It's a back-and-forth process. It requires patience, but it's a fun period of development. It isn't all fun, however. The occurrence of bugs is a part of game development. Every time a correction is made, another bug rears its head. The elimination of bugs is essential to finishing up the game. My main job at the end is getting rid of bugs. Sometimes things won't work because there isn't enough memory, or something that never occurred before will suddenly appear... The team must find all the bugs lurking within the game. A bug-check unit is assembled for that purpose. Their job is to spend the entire day playing the game, hunting for bugs. In charge of that team is mechanical designer Keiichi Matate. How many have you found so far? We're constantly fixing problems as they emerge, but I'd say around 12,000. How many may ultimately appear? To be honest, we don't know. We still have new components to add to the game, and we still have to adjust areas that don't mesh well. So the game will continue to change. I get the feeling we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Kojima and the rest of the team try to polish the game as much as possible as development winds down. Shinta Nojiri is one of those people. Nojiri is in charge of the game's motorcycle sequence and tailing sequence. This is a reflection of my personal character, but when I become involved with a game, I end up wanting to add humorous elements to it. Like what happens when you throw different grenades at enemies, playing kick the can and getting spotted and captured... They might feel a little out of place, but I hope players enjoy them nonetheless. It isn't just the internal staff who work to polish the game... In charge of the game's opening sequence this time is Logan's Alexei Tylevich. He continued to work on it right up until he traveled to Japan to hand-deliver the data to the studio. We asked Tylevich his impressions of Hideo Kojima. However, Kojima doesn't consider himself a perfectionist. I am essentially a perfectionist, but no matter how perfect you try to make a game, because it's interactive, it's ultimately each player who puts the finishing touches on it. After all, there are different ways of playing it. When you look at it like that, there's only a certain point we can go when making a product. I used to write my own books, and at one point I wanted to make my own movies, but I don't have the confidence to do that. The confidence to put the finishing touches on it. I might spend forever tweaking it. Because it's games I'm making, there's a limit as to how far I can go with a product. Kojima was obsessed with movies and books as a child. What led him to enter the games industry? There was obviously nothing as powerful as the PS3 back then, but I saw incredible possibility within this medium. I saw this new media as something different from movies and books. It was a more advanced, more exciting media to me. Back then a lot of people who joined the industry did so because they failed to break into other industries. There was no limelight for us back then. Those people wanted to create manga, or be in a band, or go into graphic design. But everyone wanted to live out their dreams. Someone may have released their own album, for instance. It didn't sell well, but they still wanted to be involved with music. That's the way game developers were twenty years ago. Being with other people like you really brought out the best in you. We all wanted to raise the profile of games as a media. Even though others would mock us for it. It was an indescribable atmosphere back then. Producer Kazuki Muraoka joined Konami at the same time as Kojima. He says Kojima's Policenauts tuned him into possibilities within games that previously hadn't existed. The story by itself was already incredible. You didn't even have to make it into a game. The story stood up by itself. I was involved with its development, but when I actually got to play it, I saw how it brought these dramatic elements to the screen that you can't convey through just a written story. It really impressed me. At the time I thought, "Doing something like that in a game requires somebody really special." There are some things only games can do, so you should do whatever you can to make that game as good as possible. Kojima continues to offer directions for improvement on a daily basis, as if motivated by that very sentiment. It's hard knowing the deadline and not being satisfied enough to release something. I'm always bothered by wanting to do something yet not being able to do it. You think, "We can't release it like this. We should really polish the game more. What could we do?" That's the way it goes. That's all I think about. As soon as you change something, however, a bug appears. The player can't advance, the screen doesn't display properly, there's no sound... νarious bugs give the team trouble. For instance, I exit out to the title screen... - To see if it sets off the entire thing? - Yeah. - I wonder what's the best thing to do. - But it hasn't gone off. Not even the system. Nor the resident. Part of a programmer's job is to eliminate bugs. The lead programmer, Yuji Korekado, feels he has reached his limit. Part of a programmer's job is to eliminate bugs. The lead programmer, Yuji Korekado, feels he has reached his limit. The following took place at the leaders' meeting on February 18th. We have to stabilize the game before we can release the master. We won't finish if we don't. I'm saying we'll make it. Why don't we take a break from the revisions at least for now? If we don't, we probably won't even make it for the end of March. Korekado proposes they halt revision work to preserve the game's release date. Well we can't release it like this. Right. But we won't make it on time the way we're going. But saying we should stabilize the game first... That doesn't make sense. Yeah it doesn't make sense. We have to address how we're going to modify things. That's why we're not moving forward. But there's no discussion. And if we give up now it's all over. It's always like this. But that's why I'd rather change the process. We need to come to some kind of compromise here. I'm trying to find out why that would cause bugs. Why? If you change something then, it will cause more bugs. People make mistakes. How can you be involved in developing games with that mindset? It's not something you want to do, but if you don't factor in the cost, it endangers the product. The positions of the director and programmer clash. The former wants to polish the game, the latter wants to stabilize it. From a director's point of view, I do think he's right. He'll tell us something he wants done, but we as programmers still have to create a stable game regardless. We need to go back and forth to find the best middle ground. It's just one of those aspects of developing games. Kojima is aware of the risk surrounding continuing the revisions. I want to stabilize the game too. And I'm responsible for the development schedule above everyone else. But I don't want to release the game in its current state. We can't. Everyone has certain expectations for the game. So how do we get around that? It means our output has to be different, for one thing. The easy thing is to say we can't do it, but doing things you normally can't do is what receives attention. So we need to figure out how to make things possible. What do we try to work on, what do we let go? In terms of the stability of the game, what he's saying is correct, but we need to raise the quality of the game while still meeting the target date. People who can do that are true pros. What do other team members think of their viewpoints? I think they're both right. It makes sense when you think about it. Mr. Korekado feels that if you want to see a game released, sometimes there are certain things you need to let go. I understand where he's coming from. SOUND DESIGN LEAD RYOJI MAKIMURA Sound designer Ryoji Makimura senses a particular attachment to this game from Kojima. He says, "We can't release it in this state." Is he like that with every game? It's been more this time. He's done it a little with previous games, but this time... I suppose it's been more of an issue. He's never been like this at this stage of development with previous games. The main character of the game is Old Snake, an aged and frazzled Solid Snake. Kojima projected part of himself onto Snake, who continues to fight despite his age. I've been with most of the team for the past ten years, teaching them how to create games and Metal Gear. At least I thought I'd taught them, but when things didn't go so well with MGS3, I stepped in at the end to take control. There are certain things you need to pass on in life, but the theme of this game is "sense," or that which you can't pass on. A person's will and way of life is symbolized by Snake continuing to fight despite his old age, and also myself returning to direct the game. Certain things need to be passed on to the team. To do that, you have to demonstrate through your own actions. Bugs continue to appear, but Kojima is firm with his revisions. The risk may be great, but even one small change can help improve the game. Sometimes I figure something won't get fixed, but I write it down anyway. Things I don't know if we'll be able to correct in time, but things I'd still like to see. They might not make it in time for this game, but maybe when we're making another game in the future, the team will remember what I said before and implement the change beforehand. We've got several people here who know that certain things can't be left imperfect in a Kojima Productions game, and they catch on to these things early on. We need more people like that. People get annoyed how I write all of these things down every game. Some of them don't have very good memories, but over time it should have an effect. One day, Kojima makes a surprising announcement. I'm thinking about re-recording some of Sunny's dialogue. Just for Briefing One and Briefing Two. It should only take an hour or so. You think it'll make the game better? Seriously? He decides to redo some of Sunny's voice acting. Altering the voice data now, however, would be extremely risky. Is it normal for you to re-record voice at this stage? No, I believe this is the first time it's happened. - It'll have an effect on a lot of areas. We'll have to redo other parts as well. Going back to change something like that at this stage is a pretty big deal. But Kojima is aware of the risk more than anyone. It is unusual to do something like this at this stage, but I felt it was necessary. The game's got a bit of a tragic story this time around, so I thought that it could be balanced more by Sunny. We had the voice actors record based on the movements of the motion actors, without any visuals. But when you see Sunny's facial expressions, the look in her eyes, her voice needs to be brighter. I thought she should be more like the Sunny in the latter half of the game. The retakes for Sunny's dialogue began February 21st. I think we can try it without the nervousness in the stutter. Campbell is there, but she's met him several times before. Th-they're ready. "Snake! You were smoking again, weren't you?" "This is a non-smoking flight!" And cut. Let's try it again. Strain your voice. Strain your voice, but you're not angry. I'm looking for that balance. Should I make it more distant? Yeah. Okay. "You were smoking again, weren't you?" "This is a non-smoking flight!" You lost a lot of energy on that one. Snake and Otacon are there, so you should make her like she usually is. And she was a little too surprised when Snake reacts. They continue doing retakes until Kojima gets the nuances he's looking for. Number 36. This was a little too angry. Like the "This is a non-smoking flight!" line in the transport, strained but not angry. More displeased than angry, right? "You're not watching your nicotine intake!" Yeah, that's it. If an adult heard that they wouldn't stop. They'd keep smoking. Do you not want her to sound like an adult? No, it's fine. I want her to sound like an adult here. We're talking about Snake and cigarettes. - Because she's a smart girl? - Because she's a smart girl. I probably make her sound like an idiot. No, no, not at all. "You're not watching your nicotine intake!" Though the re-recording finishes, another significant revision emerges. In the original story, Sunny is picked up at a different... hold on... "Everyone, they're ready." Sorry for keeping you waiting. I'm sorry, can we change another one of the lines? "Come quick! They're ready!" After all this time, Kojima wants to change the very last line of the game's ending. "Come quick! They're ready!" "They look...yummy." "Sorta like the sun..." "It's rising again." That's great. Okay, thank you. We'll go with this one. We ask Kojima why he decided to make the change. Instead of "Snake, Hal, they're ready!" I wanted it to be, "Come quick! They're ready!" That way the player is left to imagine who's there. It might be Snake, it might be Raiden, it might be somebody completely different. The end is left to each player's imagination. At this stage you normally don't do things like that if it's going to involve any real amount of work. But, it felt perfect to me, and I think players will appreciate it too. Continuing to improve the quality of a game by using every last bit of time available is a tenet of Kojima's game philosophy. An important announcement is made on February 25th. We'll continue doing checks and revisions until Wednesday. As long as there aren't any big revisions left on Thursday, then on Friday we'll create the first master. The first master is the disc submitted to hardware companies. It's used to carry out various tests. If any bugs are discovered, the master will have to be resubmitted. The mood in the studio is strangely upbeat. We ask Kojima why. It's kind of like how runners get runners' high. There's a period of time you could call "game developers' high," when the whole thing just becomes incredibly fun. You do have a schedule to stick to in order to make the game better, and you want to keep adding things to make it better. Then the next day the game is better than the previous day. It's just this powerful feeling it gives everyone. The team continues to polish the game as much as time allows. We readjusted the color of the sky a little. It looks like the third time's a charm, and it's just barely going to make it in. We naturally want to make the game as fun as possible, we'll bring one of the programmers in and ask them to do it for us. I'm a programmer, so one of my jobs is fixing bugs. If I see anything else I think needs fixing, though, I'll spend as much time as I can with those. With games, everything comes together right at the very end, and when you get to that point, With games, everything comes together right at the very end, and when you get to that point, you feel the pressure. Taking a moment to amend something despite your development schedule takes a lot of guts, but if you can get it done, the game will be better off for it. You always want to make the game as good as possible regardless of your development schedule. That sentiment increases the final quality of the game in a very short span of time. What did you do? This is from MGS1 Snake... Wow! Let me tell you about that. When you see Snake in the helicopter there, for a split second at first his face is actually his low-polygon model from MGS1. I thought it'd be fun to do, so I asked someone if they could do it. Then about an hour later they told me they'd done it, and when I went to go take a look, it has this kind of morphing look to it. - It's totally seamless. - There it is there. - Is it a kind of morphing? It's not a kind of morphing? - No, no, no. There it is there. Bam, the face appears, then it changes back immediately. - Sunny's voice originally made you feel like she was shutting everyone out. She had this low, menacing sort of voice, so we made her expressions match that gloominess. The second time through we made her face more sad and lonely. When she smiles she has this soft smile, which I think makes her cuter. I hope people will pay attention to the last part of the Eastern Europe section, since it involved a lot of time and effort. The scene when the US military has surrounded Liquid. You have all these characters, effects, and buildings. It involved a lot of work, but I think it really lives up to the Metal Gear tradition of quality. I'm proud of it. - My main task was serving as stage leader for Shadow Moses, so I oversaw its production. - At first the look of the snow wasn't right, so we varied it's presentation, and now you also have a real blizzard blowing through it. It really suits the atmosphere. Everyone's perseverance helps add that extra bit of polish to the game. Then comes February 29th. On this day, the first master is completed. On March 10th, foreign media are invited to evaluate the near-finished game for the first time at another Bootcamp event. The collection of journalists from around the world gasp in shock. Hideo Kojima himself has made a surprise appearance. He's a man who truly enjoys surprising others. Before leaving, he's asked about the future of Metal Gear. Will there be another Metal Gear game? We still haven't decided exactly what's going to happen, but I'd like to have a younger person direct it while I take a step back and watch the birth of a new Metal Gear along with everyone else. I'd like to produce a game in the series that's entirely new instead of one of my own. That was my plan ten years ago, but I'd really like to see that happen more than anything else. Time moves quickly when you're busy thinking about how to design something, or how you need to study the background to something more through books and research trips. I'm trying not to think about it at the moment. Right now my main focus is MGS4. With the completion of Metal Gear Solid 4, Kojima now steps away from Metal Gear to focus on developing new games. Metal Gear's genes, however, will be inherited by its next generation of designers. Like a flower scattering its seeds, new life will arise.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Kojima was born the youngest of three children in Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan.[8][1] The family moved to Osaka when he was about four years old. The family watched movies every night and he "wasn't allowed to go to bed till the film had finished".[8]

When he was young, the Kojima family moved to a small city called Shirasaki.[9] His family soon[when?] moved to Kawanishi, Hyōgo[10] in the Kansai region.[9] He was 13 years old when his father died and Kojima has commented that early on in his life he had to deal with death.[9][8] Kojima was a latchkey kid, often having to look after himself when he came home from school.[9] Staying at home by himself in isolation still affected him as he stated in a 2004 interview, "[whenever] I travel and stay at a hotel I put the TV on as soon as I enter the room, just to deal with the feeling of loneliness".[9]

He wanted to be an artist, filmmaker, or illustrator, but felt discouraged by the pressure of social norms favoring a stable, salaried job over creative pursuits, and also because his uncle was an artist who struggled to make a living. The death of Kojima's father, which left the entire family poorer, was another reason.[9] As a young adult, he began studying economics[8] while writing short stories in his spare time; he submitted some of these to magazines but was not able to get anything published. He cites that his stories were often 400 pages long while most magazines wanted their short stories to be around 100 pages.[9] Eventually, he shifted his creative focus to making films with a friend who had an 8mm camera.[9]

Career

In an interview on G4's TV series Icons,[11][12] Kojima revealed that while studying economics in university, he found himself playing video games during his free time, mainly on the Nintendo Famicom. In his fourth year in university, Kojima surprised his peers by announcing his intentions to join the video game industry, despite initially having ambitions of becoming a film director.[13] He felt a career in video games would be more satisfying.[14] The majority of his friends and peers strongly discouraged Kojima from pursuing video games due to it being a new medium that was not as respected or financially secure. His mother, however, remained supportive which gave Kojima the confidence to go ahead with his dream. He would later reflect positively upon his choice, stating, "The industry was full of dropouts, people who felt like games offered them another chance. I met many people in that same situation; we bonded together through that in some sense".[8] Kojima has cited Shigeru Miyamoto's Super Mario Bros. (1985)[10] and Yuji Horii's The Portopia Serial Murder Case (1983)[15] as the games that inspired him to make this decision. He cited Hydlide's open world game design as an influence.[16] His literary influences include Kobo Abe, Ryu Murakami, Yukio Mishima, Kazuaki Takano, Project Itoh, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Seicho Matsumoto, Richard Levinson, William Link, and Paul Auster.[17]

1980s

After initial failed attempts to break into the video game industry, Kojima joined video game publisher Konami's MSX home computer division in 1986 as a designer and planner.[11] Initially, he was disappointed with his assignment, and desired to work on Nintendo Entertainment System and arcade games instead—Kojima felt the color palette of the system was too restrictive.[14] Kojima's gameplay ideas were often overlooked initially, and due to his lack of familiarity with programming was repeatedly snubbed for his failures in his initial years at Konami. At one point Kojima considered leaving the company, but he hung on.[11] The first game he worked on was Penguin Adventure, the sequel to Antarctic Adventure,[9] as an assistant director. It significantly expanded upon the gameplay of Antarctic Adventure, adding more action game elements, a greater variety of levels, role-playing elements such as upgrading equipment,[18] and multiple endings.[19] The first game he developed was Lost Warld [sic], an MSX platform game in 1986. However, the game was ultimately rejected by Kojima's superiors at Konami.[11]

Kojima was asked to take over a project, Metal Gear, from a senior associate. Hardware limitations hindered the development of the game's combat. Inspired by The Great Escape, Kojima altered the gameplay to focus on a prisoner escaping.[14] It was released in 1987 for the MSX2 home computer in Japan and parts of Europe. The game revolves around a special forces operative codenamed Solid Snake, who is sent to the fortified state of "Outer Heaven" to stop a nuclear-equipped walking tank known as "Metal Gear". Metal Gear is one of the earliest examples of the stealth action game genre, where avoiding encounters with the enemies is emphasized over direct combat. A port of Metal Gear was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Kojima was not directly involved in the production of this version and he has openly criticized some of the changes made in the porting process,[20] including poor translation and no ending boss fight with the titular weapon.

His next project was the graphic adventure game Snatcher, released for the NEC PC-8801 and MSX2 computer platforms in Japan in 1988. The game, influenced by science fiction works such as Blade Runner, The Terminator, and Bubblegum Crisis, is set in a post-apocalyptic world and centers around an amnesiac detective who faces a race of cyborgs (the titular Snatchers) that kill their victims, copy their likeness and assume their place in society.[21] While Kojima and his team wrote the entire story of the game, they were forced to leave out the final act of the game due to time constraints. The game was highly regarded at the time for pushing the boundaries of video game storytelling, cinematic cut scenes, and mature content,[22] and was praised for its graphics, soundtrack, high quality writing comparable to a novel, voice acting comparable to a film or radio drama, post-apocalyptic setting, light gun shooter segments, and in-game computer database with optional documents that flesh out the game world. The Sega CD version of Snatcher was for a long time the only major visual novel game to be released in America. However, partly due to a Teen rating limiting its accessibility,[21] it only sold a "couple of thousand units", according to Jeremy Blaustein, a member of Snatcher's localization team.[23]

1990s

In 1990, Kojima was involved in the productions of two MSX2 games: a spinoff of Snatcher titled SD Snatcher; and a sequel to Metal Gear titled Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which further evolved the stealth game genre. The player had more abilities, such as crouching, crawling into hiding spots and air ducts, distracting guards by knocking on surfaces, and using a radar to plan ahead. The enemies had improved artificial intelligence (AI), including a 45-degree field of vision, the detection of various different noises, being able to move from screen to screen, and a three-phase security alarm. The game also had improved graphics and a complex storyline dealing with themes such as the nature of warfare and nuclear disarmament.[24][25]

SD Snatcher is a role-playing video game which adapts the storyline of the original Snatcher while featuring its version of the planned ending. The characters are depicted in a "super deformed" art style, in contrast to the original game's realistic style. Like the original computer versions of Snatcher, it was only released in Japan. It abandoned random encounters and introduced an innovative first-person turn-based battle system where the player can aim at specific parts of the enemy's body using firearms with limited ammo. Such a battle system has rarely been used since,[21] though similar battle systems based on targeting individual body parts can later be found in Square's Vagrant Story (2000), Bethesda Softworks's Fallout 3 (2008), and Nippon Ichi's Last Rebellion (2010).[26]

Due to the success of the original Metal Gear on the NES, Konami decided to create a sequel to the game, Snake's Revenge, without the involvement of Kojima. During a ride home on the train, Kojima met one of the staff members who worked on the game who asked him if he would create a "true" Metal Gear sequel.[11] As a result, Kojima began plans for his own sequel titled: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. The game was only released in Japan for the MSX2, as one of the last games Konami produced for the computer system. The game would not be released overseas in North America and Europe until its inclusion in 2006's Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.

All of his subsequent projects after Metal Gear 2 were produced primarily for disc-based media, allowing for the inclusion of voice acting in his games. He remade Snatcher in 1992 for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM2. An English localization of the game was produced for the Sega Mega-CD in North America and Europe in 1994. Kojima was not directly involved in the Sega CD version nor the subsequent PlayStation and Saturn ports released in Japan in 1996.

In 1994, Kojima released Policenauts, a film noir-science fiction-themed adventure game set in a space colony, for the NEC PC-9821. Kojima oversaw the subsequent ports released for the 3DO in 1995; and the PlayStation and Saturn in 1996, which all featured animated cutscenes that were not in the PC-98 release. Despite announcements for an English release in 1996,[27] problems with synching the English dialogue with the cut-scenes stopped its production.[28] An unofficial English translation patch was released on August 24, 2009, to coincide with Kojima's 46th birthday.[29] From 1997 to 1999, he developed the Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series, a trilogy of visual novel adventure games.[30]

With the release of Metal Gear Solid in 1998 for the PlayStation, Kojima became an international celebrity among the video game media. Metal Gear Solid was the first in the Metal Gear series to use 3D graphics and voice acting, which gave a more cinematic experience to the game. Metal Gear Solid was highly regarded for its well-designed gameplay and for its characters and storyline, which featured themes of nuclear proliferation and genetic engineering.

2000s

In early 2001, Kojima released the first details of the sequel to Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, for the PlayStation 2. The game's highly detailed graphics, physics, and expanded gameplay quickly made it one of the most anticipated games at the time.[31][32] The game was highly successful and critically acclaimed at release, due to its graphics, gameplay, and storyline, which dealt with myriad philosophical themes as specific as memes, censorship, manipulation, patricide, the inherent flaws of democracy and as grandiose as the nature of reality itself. While Metal Gear Solid 2 appealed to gamers with the discussion of these, the bewildering maze of dialogue and plot revelation in the final hours of the game was a disappointment for many gamers, who expected the Hollywood-style resolution of its forerunner.[33]

Before the release of Metal Gear Solid 2, Kojima produced the game and anime franchise Zone of the Enders in 2001 to moderate success. In 2003, he produced Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand for the Game Boy Advance, which players take the role of a young vampire hunter who uses a solar weapon which is charged by a photometric sensor on the game cartridge, forcing them to play in sunlight. Another team inside Konami, in a collaboration with Silicon Knights, began work on Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, a GameCube enhanced remake of the first Metal Gear Solid with all the gameplay features of Metal Gear Solid 2 and with cutscenes redirected by director Ryuhei Kitamura. It was released in 2004.

Afterwards, Kojima designed and released Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for the PlayStation 2. Unlike the previous games in the series, which took place in the near future and focused on indoor locations, the game is set in a Soviet jungle during the height of the Cold War in 1964, and features wilderness survival, camouflage, and James Bond styled espionage. The North American version was released on November 17, 2004, with the Japanese counterpart following on December 16. The European version was released on March 4, 2005. Critical response to the game was highly favorable. Kojima has said that his mother played it, "It took her an entire year to complete Metal Gear Solid 3. She would get her friends to help her. When she defeated The End, [a character the player faces off during the game] she called me up and said: 'It is finished'."[34]

At that time Kojima produced Boktai's sequel, Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django for the Game Boy Advance. Released in summer 2004, it makes more extensive use of the cartridge's sunlight sensor and allows players to combine various new solar weapons. Also released was Metal Gear Acid for the PlayStation Portable handheld. A turn-based game, it is less action-oriented than the other Metal Gear games and focuses more on strategy. It was released in Japan on December 16, 2004. Its sequel, Metal Gear Acid 2, was released on March 21, 2006.

Kojima wanted Solid Snake to appear in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Melee, but Nintendo refused, due to development cycle problems. When Super Smash Bros. Brawl was in development, series director Masahiro Sakurai contacted Kojima to work and add Snake and content related to the Metal Gear series, including a stage based on Shadow Moses Island (the main setting of Solid), into the game.[35]

Released in June 2008, Kojima co-directed Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots with Shuyo Murata. Initially, Kojima was not going to direct it, but death threats made the team nervous and he decided to work with them.[36] Kojima received a lifetime achievement award at the MTV Game Awards 2008 in Germany. In his speech, he said in English, "I have to say, even though I received this award, let me state that I will not retire. I will continue to create games as long as I live".[37]

Before E3 2009, Kojima stated interest in working with a Western developer.[38] This later turned out to be a collaboration between him and Spanish developer MercurySteam to work on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

Although he announced that Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots would be the last Metal Gear game he would be directly involved in,[39] he announced at E3 2009 that he would return to help on two Metal Gear games: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, as a producer and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker as writer, director, and producer.[40] When interviewed at Gamescom 2009, Kojima stated that he got more involved with Peace Walker because "there was a lot of confusion within the team and it didn't proceed as I wanted it to. Therefore I thought that I needed to jump in and do Peace Walker".[41]

2010s

Kojima (right) with translator Aki Saito in 2010
Kojima (right) with translator Aki Saito in 2010

Kojima was at E3 2010 to show off his team's latest project, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. He was also seen in Nintendo's 3DS interview video, where he stated he was interested in making a Metal Gear Solid game for the 3DS and wondered what it would be like in 3D.[citation needed] This game ended up being a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 titled Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. In late 2011, Metal Gear Solid: Rising was renamed Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance with PlatinumGames being involved in developing it alongside Kojima Productions. Nevertheless, Kojima is the game's executive producer and showed interest in working in the game's demo.[42] Kojima was satisfied with the final product and expressed the possibility of a sequel if Platinum were to develop it.[43]

On April 1, 2011, Kojima was promoted to Executive Vice President and Corporate Officer in Konami Digital Entertainment.[44] At E3 2011, he revealed his new innovative gaming technology labeled as "transfarring", a portmanteau of the verbs transferring and sharing. The technology enables gamers to transfer their gaming data from the PlayStation 3 to PlayStation Portable in a quick data transferring process and bring it on the go from home into the outside world.[45]

Later that year, he stated he was working on a new intellectual property with Goichi Suda, tentatively titled Project S, and preparing new projects. On July 8, 2011, Kojima announced that Project S was a radio-show sequel to Snatcher, titled Sdatcher as a reference to the show's producer Suda. The show would air on Fridays on Kojima's bi-weekly Internet radio show, starting with episode #300 which was broadcast in August 2011.[46] In October, Kojima announced that he would be collaborating with Suda and 5pb. director Chiyomaru Shikura in producing a new adventure game visual novel.[47] It was initially speculated that the game would be the third entry in 5pb.'s Science Adventure series, but it was later confirmed to be a separate title.[48] The game was planned to have an overseas release and an anime adaption.[49] As of 2018, no further news regarding the project has been released.

In mid-2012 and in the following years after Kojima finished work on the Fox Engine, Kojima has been connected to the Silent Hill series. During this time, he indicated that he was interested in making a Silent Hill game and the first instance of this was on August 18, 2012. He described his excitement regarding the potential use of the Fox Engine on the eighth generation platforms via a tweet of an image of the DVD for the Silent Hill film:[50][51] Later, he added what he had in mind for this game in a series of tweets: "Silent Hill is in closed room setting and doesn’t require full action so that we can focus on the graphic quality. Enemies featured in the game do not have to be consistent or move fast. It only requires scariness by graphics and presentation. As being a creator, making action games in an open world setting, such a type of game is very enviously attractive. If only someone could create this on the Fox Engine."[52] After a while, and as a result of Kojima’s interest in making a Silent Hill game, Konami asked him to do so. Kojima explained the story in an interview with Eurogamer:

In the past I've mentioned Silent Hill in interviews, and as a result of that the president of Konami rung me up and said he’d like me to make the next Silent Hill. Honestly, I'm kind of a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror movies, so I'm not confident I can do it. At the same time, there's a certain type of horror that only people who are scared of can create, so maybe it's something I can do. That said, I think Silent Hill has a certain atmosphere. I think it has to continue, and I’d love to help it continue, and if I can help by supervising or lending the technology of the Fox Engine, then I'd love to participate in that respect.[53][54][55]

Additionally, in an interview with Geoff Keighley, when a fan asked "which game do you want to direct or reboot?" Kojima stated without hesitation, Silent Hill.[56][57][58] Keighley jumped in and asked "What do you want to do with Silent Hill?" Kojima responded: "A guy [like myself] that is such a chicken and is so easily scared – making a scary game – I'm very confident that something horrifying would come out from that. But on the other hand I would have to prepare myself to have nightmares every single day. Hopefully sometime in the future I'm able to work on this, but I would really need to prepare to have daily nightmares".[citation needed] In August 2014, P.T. was released on the PlayStation Store revealed that a new game in the Silent Hill franchise titled Silent Hills was being directed by Kojima for the PlayStation 4, alongside Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro.[59] In April 2015, the playable teaser was removed and the game was cancelled.[60]

At the 2013 Game Developers Conference, Kojima unveiled Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was set to be his final Metal Gear work, noting that this time unlike previous announcements that he had stopped working on the series, was very serious about leaving.[61] In March 2015, reports began to surface that Kojima would part ways with longtime publisher Konami after the release of The Phantom Pain.[62] Konami later stated that they were auditioning for new staff for future Metal Gear titles and removed Kojima's name from the series' marketing material.[63] Despite reports that Kojima left the company in October 2015, a spokesman for Konami stated that he was "taking a long time off from work."[64] At The Game Awards 2015, Metal Gear Solid V won the awards for Best Action Game and Best Score/Soundtrack, but Kojima did not attend the event, being reportedly barred from attending by Konami.[65] Instead, it was accepted by Kiefer Sutherland on his behalf.[65]

On December 16, 2015, Kojima announced that Kojima Productions would be re-established as an independent studio, partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment, and that his first game would be console exclusive to the PlayStation 4.[66] At E3 2016 in Los Angeles, Kojima personally announced the game's title as Death Stranding in a trailer.[67] The trailer showed actor and inspiration for the main character Norman Reedus, whom Kojima had previously worked with in the canceled Silent Hills.

In 2016, Kojima launched his own YouTube channel, where he and film critic Kenji Yano discuss their favorite films and matters pertaining to Kojima's studio.[68] Starting in 2017, Kojima became a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, often discussing recent film releases, and occasionally drawing comparisons to his own works.[69]

Influences and mentality

Kojima has cited Yuji Horii's The Portopia Serial Murder Case (1983)[15] and Shigeru Miyamoto's Super Mario Bros. (1985)[10] as the games that inspired him to enter the video game industry. Portopia Serial Murder Case, a murder mystery adventure game, was an important influence because, according to Kojima, it had "mystery, a 3D dungeon, humor, and a proper background and explanation of why the murderer committed the crime. That is why there was drama in this game. My encountering this game expanded the potential of video games in my mind."[15] Portopia had an influence on his early works, including Metal Gear and particularly Snatcher.[70]

Kojima's love of film is noticeable in his games where he pays homage through his stories and characters, sometimes to the point of pastiche, as in Snatcher. He cited a contrast between films and games as while in his games he intends to portray violence like in a movie, in the game it is up to the player to decide. He wants people to understand the effects of violence. As he considers the games too stressful, he also wants comic relief to contrast it.[71]

Snatcher is inspired by many science fiction films, particularly from 1980s, including Blade Runner,[72] Akira,[73] The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers,[74] and The Terminator.[73] Examples of influence by films include Solid Snake's codename (named after Snake Plissken from Escape from New York),[20] Snake's alias in MGS2: Pliskin (in reference to the last name of Snake Plissken from the Escape movies), Snake's real name (Dave from 2001: A Space Odyssey),[75] and Snake's trademark bandana (The Deer Hunter[76]).

Film would also have an influence on other aspects of his games. Hal "Otacon" Emmerich (named after HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey and film director Roland Emmerich),[75] Sniper Wolf shooting Meryl in Metal Gear Solid (Full Metal Jacket),[20] Psycho Mantis (inspired from the film The Fury)[20] and the whole Metal Gear stealth concept (The Great Escape[20] and The Guns of Navarone[77]). James Bond also had a large influence on the Metal Gear series,[78] with Metal Gear Solid 3 having a James Bond-like introduction sequence.

In an article he wrote for Official PlayStation 2 Magazine, Kojima described the influence of the film Dawn of the Dead on the Metal Gear series. The zombie classic inspired "the maximum three-dimensional use of a closed area like a shopping mall with elevators, air ducts, and escalators". These aspects are similar enough in his view that "[Metal Gear Solid] is [Dawn of the Dead] if you replace soldiers with zombies."[79]

He also received inspiration from anime. His early works, particularly the cyberpunk adventure game Snatcher (which uses anime-style art), were influenced by cyberpunk anime, most notably Akira (mentioned above).[73] In an interview, he mentioned that his Zone of the Enders series was inspired by mecha/robot anime, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion. Mecha anime was also an inspiration for the Metal Gear series, which features mecha robots, such as Metal Gear REX and Metal Gear RAY; this is referenced in Metal Gear Solid, where Otacon mentions mecha anime as an influence on his Metal Gear REX designs.

In regards to storyline development and interaction with them, he said:

In terms of reverse influence on film, his work on the storylines of the Metal Gear series was cited as an influence by screenwriter David Hayter, the voice actor for Solid Snake, on his screenwriting for Hollywood films. He stated that "Kojima and I have different styles (...) but I've certainly learned things from him, especially about ambiguity and telling a story without giving all the answers".[81]

Awards and accolades

Newsweek named Hideo Kojima as one of the top ten people of 2002.[82][83] In 2008, Next-Gen placed him seventh in their list of "Hot 100 Developers 2008."[84]

In 2009, IGN placed him sixth in their list of top game creators of all time.[85] At the 2008 MTV Game Awards, Hideo was given the award show's first Lifetime Achievement Award for a game designer and was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 Game Developers Conference.[86][2]

At the 2014 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (NAVGTR) awards, Kojima was credited for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes' nomination for the category Game, Franchise Adventure.[87] In December 2015, Kojima was invited to accept an award from The Game Awards for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. However, Konami prevented him from attending the awards ceremony.[88]

In February 2016, Kojima received the AIAS Hall of Fame Award at 19th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards.[89] In December 2016, Kojima was able to attend The Game Awards 2016 and accepted the Industry Icon Award.[90]

On October 12, 2017, Kojima received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brasil Game Show.[91]

Works

Metal Gear series

Year Game Credited as Systems
Director Producer Writer Game designer
1987 Metal Gear Yes No Yes Yes MSX2, Mobile phones, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
1990 Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Yes No Yes Yes MSX2, Mobile phones, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
1998 Metal Gear Solid Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation
1999 Metal Gear Solid: Integral Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
2000 Metal Gear: Ghost Babel No Yes No No Game Boy Color
2001 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation 2
2002 The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 Yes Yes No No PlayStation 2
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance Yes Yes Yes Yes Xbox, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
2004 Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes No Yes Yes No Nintendo GameCube
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation 2
Metal Gear Acid No Yes No No PlayStation Portable
2005 Metal Gear Acid 2 No Yes No No PlayStation Portable
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
2006 Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel Yes Yes No No PlayStation Portable
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops No Yes No No PlayStation Portable
2007 Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus No Yes No No PlayStation Portable
Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée Yes Yes No No DVD
2008 Metal Gear Solid Mobile No Yes No No Mobile phones
Metal Gear Acid Mobile No Yes No No Mobile phones
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots / Metal Gear Online Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation 3
Metal Gear Online: Gene Expansion No Yes No No PlayStation 3
Metal Gear Online: Meme Expansion No Yes No No PlayStation 3
2009 Metal Gear Online: Scene Expansion No Yes No No PlayStation 3
Metal Gear Solid Touch No Yes No No iOS
2010 Metal Gear Arcade No Yes No No Arcade
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2011 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Yes Yes Yes No PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
2012 Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Yes Yes Yes No Nintendo 3DS
2013 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance No Yes No No PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
2014 Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
2015 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Yes Yes Yes Yes PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Snatcher/Policenauts games

  • Snatcher (1988: PC88, MSX2) – writer, designer
  • SD Snatcher (1990: MSX2) – original writer
  • Snatcher CD-ROMantic (1992: PC-Engine) – writer, designer, director
  • Policenauts (1994: PC98, 1995: 3DO, 1996: PlayStation, 1996: Sega Saturn) – writer, director
  • Sdatcher (2011: radio drama) – planner, producer

Tokimeki Memorial series

  • Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 1: Nijiiro no Seishun (1997: PlayStation, Sega Saturn) – planner, producer, drama director
  • Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 2: Irodori no Love Song (1998: PlayStation, Sega Saturn) – planner, producer
  • Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 3: Tabidachi no Uta (1999: PlayStation, Sega Saturn) – executive director

Zone of the Enders series

  • Zone of the Enders (2001: PlayStation 2) – producer, designer
  • Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (2003: PlayStation 2, 2003: Special edition for PlayStation 2) – producer
  • Zone of the Enders HD Collection (2012: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) – producer
  • Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner MARS (2018: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows) – producer

Boktai series

Castlevania series

Other games

  • Penguin Adventure (1986: MSX) – assistant designer
  • Lost Warld (1986: MSX, cancelled) – writer, director
  • D2 (1999: Dreamcast) – thanks
  • Beatmania series (1998-2002: PlayStation) - console version producer
  • Beatmania IIDX series (2000-2002: PlayStation 2) - console version producer (3rd style - 6th style)
  • Stock Trading Trainer : Kabutore (2006: Nintendo DS) – producer
  • Kabushiki Baibai Trainer Kabutore! Next (2007: Nintendo DS) – producer
  • Twelve Tender Killers (2008: mobile phones) – producer
  • Gaitame Baibai Trainer: Kabutore FX (2009: Nintendo DS) – producer
  • P.T. (2014: PlayStation 4) – director
  • Silent Hills (Cancelled: PlayStation 4) – director
  • Death Stranding (TBA: PlayStation 4) – director, producer, designer, script

Acting roles

  • Policenauts (1994) – AP Officer No. 2
  • Metal Gear Solid (1998) – Himself (voice only cameo in the Japanese version)
  • Murder on the Eurasia Express (1998) – cameo (extra)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Integral (1999) – Genola
  • Versus (2000) – cameo (extra)
  • Azumi (2003) – cameo (extra)
  • Internet Pilot Drama Idea Spy 2.5 Daisakusen (2007) – Idea Spy 2.5
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) – Voice of God (Himself - Cameo appearance)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (2010) – The Chupacabra (Japanese voice)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010) – Himself (cameo appearance)
  • Sdatcher (2011) – Little John
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (2014) – Himself (cameo appearance)
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015) – Himself (cameo appearance)
  • Eleven Little Roosters (2017) - Himself (cameo appearance)
  • Ultraman Orb: I'm Borrowing the Power of Your Bonds! (2017) - cameo (extra)[92]

References

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External links

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