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Kojima celebrates 25 years of Metal Gear at BAFTA

Sunday, 7 October 2012 11:49 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Hideo Kojima was in London recently to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Metal Gear and to talk about why he is the last of a dying kind. Johnny Cullen reports.

“I still haven’t been able to achieve that original image that I had in my head. And until I’m able to achieve that I’ll keep on creating games.”

I’ve known about Hideo Kojima’s 2012 appearances at Eurogamer Expo and BAFTA since late May. When I was told about it, my immediate reaction was glee and a touch of excitement. Here was the chance to get to see the man who created my favourite series in Metal Gear Solid, and in turn my favourite game ever with Metal Gear Solid 3, talk about the history of the series and its future.

Considering his love of films (he attempts to watch at least one per day), the excitement of talking at the home of British cinema was evident.

“Well, I am a huge movie fan, and I’ve said in the past that 75% of my existence is movies. So being able to come here and speak here at BAFTA is really a great honour for me,” he told presenter Johnny Minkley during the annual BAFTA Games Lecture.

“But of course, I’ve been watching lots of movies ever since I was young. Movies and novels have really shaped my existence and over the past 25 years I’ve applied that to Metal Gear Solid. It’s really a culmination of all these various movies and influences that have allowed me to create Metal Gear Solid, so it’s not one particular work that has really influenced me,” he continued, noting the one biggest inspiration for him as a creator was Clockwork Orange.

“It’s not so much that I love the story or anything particular about it. It’s more just the feeling that I got from it. It was made at a point in time when we hadn’t been to the moon yet, and yet it really made people excited about going into space and it gave people dreams and got people thinking.”

Kojima’s start from the games industry came about after he was unable to successfully break into the movie industry. But he says once got around to the idea of making games, it was relatively straight forward from there, saying they were “fun” to make.

But even after 25 years of making Metal Gear games, as well as having a hands on approach with titles like Zone of the Enders, Boktai, Policenauts and Snatcher, he said he still doesn’t have the “perfect” image of a game in his mind.

Noting the stigma that most game-to-movie films have had, he admitted Tomb Raider had been one property that did really well in terms of making the jump from gaming to films.

“As far as sales were concerned,” he then added to laughter in the room.

The entire lecture. Listen to it. It’s Sunday.

“Needless to say I think most people in the audience know, as far as movies based on games up until this point there haven’t been any success stories. I think one of the reasons for that is that games are an interactive medium, so they create a scenario, a setting for the player to interact with but there’s not really a compelling story there for a lot of games,” he said.

“Hollywood sees the games are popular, they try to pick up and they create a story and try to basically force a story onto that game. It doesn’t work, because you end up with something that’s neither the game nor a good movie so fans of the original game won’t be satisfied and movie lovers won’t really be satisfied with it either, so it doesn’t really hit any particular target.

“That’s the problem that I’m trying to remedy with the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie, and I’m sure most of you know who’s producing it [Avi Arad] and I hope you have confidence in that movie, because I feel it will turn out well.”

You won’t catch me around here

At the start of the lecture a video was shown of MGS series through the ages, from the original Metal Gear in 1987 to MGS4, the last canon instalment, in 2008, and the upcoming Ground Zeroes.

A clip was shown from The Making of MGS2 documentary that came on the DVD in the original release of Sons of Liberty. In it, he mentioned that he himself used to play hide and seek a lot as a kid and that he played it with his son, which is how he got the idea for the original Metal Gear Solid.

Kojima said even with simple concepts, however, it’s important to keep innovating.

“If you look at a lot of the games out there there are a lot of first person shooters based on sci-fi space battles, or aliens, things like that, it’s very common. I do think that it’s because there is a marketplace for those type of games. People keep on buying them.

“But I think it is important to keep an eye on that marketplace, and aim to please them but do something new within those boundaries. That’s something that I feel I have to struggle to accomplish as well.”

Hideo Kojima is one of few names from games compared to those of film creators such as Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick. But, and perhaps just a touch controversially, he said he’s the last of a a dying kind.

“As explained previously I do come up with the game concept, manage the design, the gameplay, the presentation and everything else,” he said.

“So from that point of view I guess you could say yes, I could be considered an auteur in that sense. But that said I do think that that particular style of game creation is very much like an indie film. It’s very unusual and I think games from this point on are getting bigger with higher budgets, just huge games.

“There really is no choice but to split things up at a certain point, and I think the auteur concept in games is a dying breed and I’m afraid that probably my generation will be the last that can make that claim.”

On the subject of his son, Kojima made the point that having a child definitely changed the way on how he’d design games.

“I find myself thinking about what will happen after I’m gone from this world, what will I leave for the next generation and what can I do to have a positive influence on them?

“So rather than just creating a game where you just kill time or have fun with it, of course that’s important, but I also want to do something that’s useful to the next generation, that’s useful to the people who play it and really think about what kind of influence it will have on them and their lives.

“After becoming a father that’s become something that I think about a lot.”

Ground Zeroes.

True patriotism

Of course, the main point of the lecture was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear series. At the end, we got a quick look at the shorter demo of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes than what was shown the day before at Eurogamer Expo.

Kojima said that he’s still trying to achieve his vision.

“If you’re going to create a piece of art the first image is in your head. And that original image popped into my head 25 years ago. For 25 years I’ve been trying to recreate that image in the form of a game.

“The amount of tools I have available to me has changed, it’s increased. I have more colours available to me in my palette, I have more tools available to me. But I still haven’t been able to achieve that original image that I had in my head. And until I’m able to achieve that I’ll keep on creating games.”

Kojima has said that last line for the most part of his career. For the most part, I’ll keep buying his games as long as he makes them. Metal Gear Solid 3 was a big influence in choosing my career choice because of The Boss’s story. I’ve always wanted to see her story fleshed out in a broader way.

I finally got to talk to a man who, personally speaking, I have at the top of an interview bucket list as a journalist. There was only one question to ask to someone who inspired me, in a way, to become a games journalist.

“Hi, I’m Johnny Cullen, freelance,” I say to Kojima and his translator, Kojima Productions producer Sean Eyestone.

“First off, I have to say that Metal Gear Solid 3 is one of the main reasons I wanted to become a games journalist and I thank you for that. One of the main reasons MGS3 is my favourite game ever is because of The Boss character. And you’ve said in the past that if outside the Snakes, you’d like to make a game based on The Boss or the Cobras.”

With my hands literally shaking and legs trembling in nervousness – not kidding – I asked: “Did you create The Boss in mind as a potential lead character whilst making MGS3 or did the positive reaction from the community possibly lead into that direction?”

His response, through Eyestone: “Up until that point, Metal Gear had always been a very paternalistic kind of game, but I wanted to make something that had more of a motherly character and that’s where the concept of The Boss came from.”

“So in response to your question, no, I didn’t think of The Boss as a main character when I created that character. She just sort of evolved into that.”

He continued: “She ended up being a very powerful character, a very attractive character to a lot of people, and I think after hearing back from a lot of fans about how much they admire that character it made me realise that, aside from Raiden who’s a completely different type of character, if I want to create another Metal Gear Solid with someone who could actually take the place of Snake, really I think within my mind there’s no-one else besides The Boss who could really pull it off.”

I’ve mentioned in the past a potential Boss-led MGS – possibly even MGS5 – would be part of a decade-long pipeline for Kojima Productions that would take the MGS franchise past its 30th anniversary. And with Platinum’s Rising, Ground Zeroes, the possibility of said Boss-led MGS and more, the series’ future looks bright. Hideo Kojima knows it.

Here’s to 25 more years of more Metal Gear.

Hideo Kojima is the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, head of Kojima Productions and vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment.

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5 Comments

  1. Dragon246

    I really love his games, and as Johnny said ,MGS3 is really great. Every MGS game evolves from the previous ones and in good ways.

    “I find myself thinking about what will happen after I’m gone from this world, what will I leave for the next generation and what can I do to have a positive influence on them?

    “So rather than just creating a game where you just kill time or have fun with it, of course that’s important, but I also want to do something that’s useful to the next generation, that’s useful to the people who play it and really think about what kind of influence it will have on them and their lives.

    “After becoming a father that’s become something that I think about a lot.”
    Just the kind of thinking I like. Not many game producers/directors/writers think like that. Adding new great ideas in his games is one of his greatest skills, matched by few in this industry.

    And oh, Johnny, I am jealous of you :)

    #1 2 years ago
  2. OrbitMonkey

    Er, did you guys mean 2001: A Space Odyssey, rather than Clockwork Orange?

    As in inspiring people’s ideas about Space travel?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. viralshag

    2001 is such a terrible movie. Just thought I’d share that with you all.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Klaxusprime

    The lecture happened on Sep. 28, were you hibernated in the last week or do you have a clone? Besides the my inner envy for your talk with Kojima, why did you wait so long to get that piece up? Pfff… :D

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Johnny Cullen

    Hey guys, just a small heads up for those who enjoyed the article (and if you did, thanks!) that BAFTA’s gone live with the Q&A stuff from the lecture.

    Watch it here: http://guru.bafta.org/hideo-kojima-annual-games-lecture-2012-video

    #5 2 years ago

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    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]

  • Here’s two Mario Party 10 overview videos, one featuring amiibo

    Overview videos for Mario Party 10 and the amiibo which work with the title have been released by Nintendo Japan. Obviously each one is in Japanese, but you get the gist all the same. Mario Party 10 releases on Wii U March 20 in North America and Europe. Thanks, AGB.

  • Clan Raids announced for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App

    Activision has announced a new Clan Raids mode will be made available through the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App. According to the CoD community blog, raids are time-based challenges where success earns you a spot on the Clan Raids leaderboards and new Clan Raid-exclusive in-game gear like the Equilibrium set. Clan members will […]

  • Play Battlefield Hardline starting March 12 through EA Access

    Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription will be able to play 10 hours worth of Battlefield Hardline starting March 12. EA Access members will are being granted access to the game five days before the street date, with full multiplayer and all saves transferring over into the main game. It was announced yesterday […]

  • This video summarizes the contents of Destiny patch 1.1.1

    With Destiny patch 1.1.1 now available, here’s a video summary of what to expect. In the video above, Arekkz Gaming gives you a rundown of the important bits in the update. Subscribe to Arekkz Gaming for more Destiny tips and trick through the link.

  • Destiny 1.1.1 patch notes out, update is live

    Destiny’s 1.1.1 patch arrives today, so if you have been kicked from activities, it means you will need to download the patch now that it’s live. We will be pushing the 1.1.1 patch for Destiny shortly. Players will be kicked from activities and required to download the patch. — Bungie Help (@BungieHelp) February 25, 2015 […]

  • Payday 2 packs based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming

    Starbreeze has announced another collaboration with Dennaton Games which will see masks based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appear in Payday 2. The collaboration consists of two free updates when you acquire Hotline Miami 2 or its deluxe version on Steam from February 25. The two updates, called Hotline Miami Mask Pack and Jacket […]

  • Velocity 2X making its way onto Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One

    Velocity 2X will be released on Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One Futurlab has announced. The developer is in charge of the port, which will be published by Sierra. According to Futurlab, the deal with Sierra came about when self-publishing proved to be difficult due to spending “more time doing PR and marketing on Velocity […]

  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number finally has a release date

    A release date for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been announced, finally. The game will arrive on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita March 10. It is now available for pre-order on GOG, Humble and Steam for 10% off for $13.49/£10.99. There’s also a Digital Special Edition available which includes tracks from […]