One of the most successful franchises in the history of the PlayStation system, Metal Gear Solid, has seen more than its fair share of glitz and glamor. With the shocking announcement last month of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the franchise has been earning a lot of buzz by taking quite a turn, expanding into a new genre with a whole new style of gameplay.
During the holidays, we wrote about Kojima sharing his feelings about the Metal Gear franchise as well as his mixed feelings about Revengeance, and today, we've got a lot more from the producer/creator on killing off Solid Snake, Project Ogre, Revengeance, and more.
After many attempts to get his foot in the door, Hideo Kojima's career began in the late '80s when he joined Konami in their MSX division. It wasn't until he took over Metal Gear from a senior associate that he started to get attention. From there on out Solid Snake was his baby.
Ironically enough, Kojima has wanted to kill-off Snake for over a decade now. One of the most revered characters to see the light of day on the PlayStation was almost sentenced to meet his maker a long time ago, but due to fan respect he has kindly kept the nuclear detterent around:
“In Guns Of The Patriots he was supposed to die, but everyone on the staff really wanted to keep him alive, so I caved a little. I did have the feeling that I wanted to end the series, but looking back at it now as a producer, I think as long as people want to keep on playing it, I want to keep on meeting that demand, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing. But as a creator, I would rather pass it off to someone else.”
“Just to make things clear, it’s not that I don’t like the Metal Gear series. If I had an unlimited amount of time, or some kind of magic that let me double the amount of hours I had in a day, I would love to keep making Metal Gear as well as something new. But since that’s not possible, as a creator I want to move on, do something new and have the younger staff take over.”
Dealing with Metal Gear Rising, Kojima stated that it's different to sit back from the producer's chair, but he has set boundaries ensuring that the game stays well in the realm of the Metal Gear universe. Revengeance is definitely a dramatic departure from the regular sneaking missions fans are accustomed to from a Metal Gear game, but Kojima gives his praises to the character, Raiden, and wanted his fanbase to grow.
“Raiden in MGS4 was received very well, and I wanted to keep going with that direction in Rising. The people who liked him in 4 will like him in this, but it’s a personal preference.”
But Kojima does not hide the fact that diehard fans may not turn so easily to this new action focused Metal Gear game, and that it'll depend on players' mindsets going into it. If they're open to trying something new, they may be pleasantly surprised.
As a producer, Kojima finds the industry to be a lot different from what it used to be back when he first started on the PlayStation system. He claims there is more pressure and fewer boundaries against creative freedom, especially in his homeland.
“It’s much more competitive now: if you look at triple-A titles on a worldwide scale there’s maybe only ten really big games that can get gamers’ attention, and I’m not sure how Japan can compete on that level.”
The biggest hurdle to overcome in the industry is originality. Like Christopher Nolan being granted liberties from Warner Bros. to produce the risky Inception, Kojima also feels that it is hard to break out in the industry, and this is why so many first-person shooters are being made because that is all that is demanded currently.
“I think it’s more consumer demand — right now, consumers are happy with what they have. First-person shooters sell like crazy, so there’s not really a strong demand for anything else, and that’s why [original ideas] stop being made. People are satisfied with making minor upgrades and tweaking things here and there — as long as that’s the landscape, it will keep on happening. I don’t see a problem necessarily, but at the same time it is nice to see new things come.”
There is one idea that Kojima throws out for new developers who want to try and create something original:
“Maybe for new ideas, the way to do it is [by] releasing things via online services first and then seeing how people react to that. Or even if you’re making something from a game-design perspective that’s completely different, you could tie it to an existing franchise — like even if it had the Metal Gear Solid title, it could be completely different. Maybe you can make a Batman game that has the Batman title, but you can still be free with what you make the game into. Making something that’s completely new — where the gameplay, the characters, the world, everything is completely from scratch — that’s very hard to realise in this day and age.”
Lately, Kojima has been dropping hints for his upcoming mystery game, Project Ogre, and has recently revealed that it will be "open world," departing from his cinematic comfort zone. So what exactly is Project Ogre? Kojima hopes that it will give his fans a new experience, something they have not seen before in his work, but don't expect it to be coming anytime soon.
“I can’t really say too much about that project yet, but it’s a very subdued experience — it’s a little bit different to what I’ve done up until now. On the surface it will look similar, but once you get into it, it will be a different experience — and I’m hoping people look forward to that. But the Ogre project is going to take a lot of time, so I want to produce some other things on the side, like I’m doing with Metal Gear Rising. So while I’m working on Project Ogre there might be a couple of other projects going on at the same time.”
"As far as my involvement in the project is concerned, [it] probably won’t be as much as it was with MGS1 — maybe I can do just one stage! For MGS1 I made the maps myself, laid out the enemy routes myself, did everything hands-on — that level I can’t do again.”
Could there be a world where Hideo Kojima is no longer a part of the Metal Gear franchise? It is a huge possibility as the creator feels that the series can go on without him, but it would not be the same.
“I feel that Metal Gear Solid can continue without me, but it will be different. It’s still Metal Gear — it’s just not my Metal Gear.”
By the time Hideo Kojima has left the Metal Gear building he'll be able to do whatever he pleases. After such a successful franchise, how could anyone say no to him? It may be a difficult feat to pull out something new these days, but if there is one person who could pull it off it would be Kojima.
What would you like to see him produce next and could he pull it off?
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Source: PlayStation Magazine