Thu, Sep 27, 2012 | 19:13 BST
Metal Gear 25th anniversary interview: Kojima answers big questions
Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima answered a big Q&A session at Eurogamer Expo. VG247′s Dave Cook has the whole thing below. For example, did you know that Kojima wanted to be an astronaut and is too scared to make a Silent Hill game? Neither did we.
Hideo Kojima is as iconic as game developers come. Some moan about his far-fetched ideas and at-times grandiose approach to direction, but you have to at least give him this: he likes to experiment and try new things where other developers get sheepish.
The Metal Gear series has dabbled in many new and interesting ideas, such as the iconic Psycho Mantis boss battle from Metal Gear Solid, and countless easter eggs strewn across the whole series, so it’s refreshing to see in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, that the 50-year old developer has’t let age slow that creativity down.
VG247 sat in on a very special Kojima Q&A session, in which fans asked him their burning questions surrounding the series. Some of the answers are rather surprising. Read on to check them all out.
Many of your games have themes and sub-texts about censorship, control. Do you think of themes for your games to explore first, or do they happen later in the process?
Hideo Kojima:As a game designer of course, while I’m thinking of the game design I also simultaneously think of the story. I think of the story and game system in parallel. There’s nothing added on at the end, so as we think of these things at once, they kind of fit together and work well together. They compliment each other.
What is your favourite moment in the Metal Gear series?
There are a lot of great boss battles and scenes that I like, but I particularly like the ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 – the final battle between The Boss and Snake is really meaningful to me.
It’s really a battle where Snake has to defeat his mentor, and it creates a struggle within the player because you have to defeat this enemy because it’s your mission, but you don’t have to either.
So it’s that struggle within the player and within the setting of the game that’s really something new and unique to gaming. I really like the battle because of that. Another favourite is the final battle in Metal Gear Solid 4 against Liquid Ocelot.
It basically involves you playing this one boss battle that kind of traces the history of the Metal Gear Solid series. First you’re fighting the original Liquid, then Ocelot and along with with final boss battle.
We wanted players to look back at the series and retrace the steps it’s gone through over the years and all of our game systems. Even the life gauge changes as you battle. It’s a fun battle.
Who is your favourite villain?
I guess if we talked about boss characters rather than villains then I could give you a definitive answer. From that perspective I think two bosses come to mind – Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow from Metal Gear Solid 3.
Just because the way you defeat those enemies had never been done before, so they were something special. Moving from this point on I have a lot of ideas for supposed villains and hopefully I’ll be able to show you them one day.
Apart from The Boss – who definitely deserves a game of her own – do you think there is a lot of story still to tell surrounding the other characters in the Metal Gear saga.
Snake is such a powerful an iconic character that I think there are very few characters who could take his place. If I had to say, then maybe The Boss or Cobra Unit are the ones who could pull that off.
That said, we do have Raiden whose able to give us a different type of gameplay that we’re giving you in Metal Gear Rising. I’d recommend people try out Rising as it should make you like Raiden [laughs].
Do you have any further plans for Liquid Snake before the Shadow Moses incident?
In all honesty, when I first created Liquid Snake I never expected him to become such an iconic character. At the time of making Metal Gear Solid I didn’t plan on making a sequel – and I kind of regretted that.
But when I made Metal Gear Solid 2, I realised how much of an iconic villain Liquid had become, so I brought him back in the form of Liquid Ocelot.
Do you ever think, ‘what would Snake do?’ when faced with certain situations?
Not exactly [laughs]. Sometimes at the office I might think ‘what would Snake do here?’ but you know, obviously I can’t go around shooting people [laughs]. But what I can say is that I kind of aged along with Snake and matured alongside him.
As long as I’m creating Metal Gear and there’s a Snake in it, that Snake will always be a part of me, reflecting parts of myself. I don’t think I could ever create a Snake who was much younger than myself.
So at some point, say we wanted to bring out a new Metal Gear that was a JRPG with Snake in his teens or something like that, I don’t think that’s something i could really do, so I’d have to give it to our younger staff. As you’ve seen, Ground Zeroes will feature Snake who is old.
How do you feel about Metal Gear Online in hindsight?
One thing I’ve noticed is that Metal Gear Online was really popular in Japan and we spent a lot of time on it. But it wasn’t quite as popular in America or in Europe. Although I came up with the concept and supervised Metal Gear Online, I left its development to our younger staff.
Most of them are Japanese, so the systems and game worlds they came up with were targeted primarily at Japanese users. As you know, Metal Gear Online has ceased service, but we’re always looking forward to what’s coming next.
The next implementation of online components will have to be accepted more in America and Europe, so we’re looking at developing it at our LA studio that Kojima Productions is currently in the process of making.
Will you ever revisit Policenauts or Snatcher?
Personally I love adventure games and I would love to create additional chapters in the Policenauts and Snatcher series, but unfortunately from a business perspective it’s hard to make that work. I don’t think we could really make it.
I think i really have to be focused on creating the type of games that would be accepted globally. I see that as my mission. That said, I do think there is a possibility that I may create an adventure game in collaboration with someone else, someone who is great at that kind of game.
There are some talented people out there, so maybe that’s a possibility. As far as making a remake of Snatcher goes, I think that’s something I’d really like to do, but I can only focus on the next thing, the next big game.
You once said that Silent Hill would work well with the FOX Engine. Would you consider making a Silent Hill game?
Honestly I’m kind of a scaredy cat when it comes to horror movies so I’m not completely confident that I could. But at the same time, people who are scared easily could probably come up with some great ideas, so form that perspective, it’s maybe something I could do.
That said I think Silent Hill has a unique feel and atmosphere to it, and I’d hate to see that disappear, so I hope it continues. If I can help somehow by giving them the technology of FOX Engine, I’d be happy to do that.
How did you feel about the death of Neil Armstrong as one of your heroes?
I watched the moon landing live, and then a lot of people of my generation wanted to become an astronaut, and Neil Armstrong became a hero in our eyes. That’s probably the reason why I created Policenauts.
Neil Armstrong in particular was a great hero of mine, as the first person to land on the moon in the 60s. To me, that’s really a true hero. As I got older I did some research and found out what it’d take to become an astronaut.
It really takes someone special, you have to be someone special to become an astronaut and I didn’t have what it took. That’s when I decided to ditch that idea and do something else.
But that said, even though I can’t become an astronaut, I would love to go to space some day, and I think that I’d do anything to get there.