Hideo Kojima, the man widely considered to be a genius video game developer, offers a rare look into his design philosophy by using a quote from HBO’s Westworld.
Now that the gaming world can collectively breathe a sigh of relief thanks to Kojima Productions‘ continued existence, fans have begun to speculate intensely on what the studio’s first game, Death Stranding, will look like. All gamers know so far is that Norman Reedus will be heavily involved in the project, that Kojima plans to make Death Stranding an open world title, and that the game looks like classic Kojima weirdness.
That said, however, despite the mystery surrounding the development of Death Stranding, Kojima has remained a very public figure in the gaming industry. After his messy separation from a decades-long partnership with Konami the man behind Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders has become more reflective, with Kojima offering up some Twitter wisdom recently through the lens of HBO hit series Westworld:
Kojima was tweeting about the second episode in the series, and in particular highlighted Dr. Ford’s reasons for why guests keep coming back to the Westworld theme park. In particular, the notion that “they are not looking for a story that tells them who they are” seems to be a sentence written by Kojima himself, as the beloved game designer has made his name on developing titles that are unique and strange. That philosophy could also explain why Kojima doesn’t want to make another P.T. despite that game’s cult following – players have already been there and know who they are in the context of that world.
Kojima said that the Westworld quote is “an exact theory of my game design”, and while similarities between Kojima’s personal brand of innovation and a show about a futuristic theme park might seem to be a bit of a stretch, there’s much more in common between the two than fans might think at first glance. In fact, Westworld‘s showrunners have said they have taken cues from open world games like Red Dead Redemption and BioShock – another two games that thrive on “the subtleties [and] the details”.
It might not be the news about Death Stranding that so many fans are eagerly anticipating more of, but Kojima’s brief reflection on video game design philosophy is noteworthy nonetheless. It’s not often that gamers are treated to a candid, behind-the-scenes look at how a designer approaches their creative process, and to get a glimpse at how a master like Hideo Kojima does it is a rare gift fans would do well to make note of.