Video game development has changed drastically since Hideo Kojima first entered the scene as a designer for Konami’s MSX home computer division back in 1986. Whereas smaller, more regulated teams were the norm during the early stages of the industry’s evolution from niche market to financial powerhouse, video game development now takes on a number of different forms – some of which, Kojima revealed recently, he believes are much worse than others.
The director of Kojima Productions took to Twitter late yesterday to discuss his video game development process, drawing parallels between his work in games to the work of a filmmaker. While the entire 17 tweet-long discussion is fascinating, Kojima seemed to criticize other studios’ development plans, stating:
“An action game can never be completed by ordering from a blueprint and assembling parts off a factory line…when everything is outsourced, the parts that come back just don’t fit together.”
Kojima isn’t one to directly call out other developers, so it is unlikely he’ll ever make it clear which studios he believes follow the “factory line” process of game making. Still, it’s hard to believe this criticism doesn’t stem partially from what Kojima has observed about Konami since he left – Metal Gear Survive seems very much like a game trying to follow its predecessor’s blueprint, and Kojima has distanced himself from the game that shares a name with his most iconic series.
Outsourcing in video games has become a growing topic for discussion within the industry lately, as more developers continue to employ multiple studios in different locations around the globe to complete games on schedule. While the hiring of external writers in video games has seen success, splitting software development between studios has been more hit-and-miss, with games like Undertale serving as an example of success stories involving a more tightly-controlled creative process.
Kojima is responsible for some of the most bizarre innovations in modern gaming, especially when it comes to storytelling, so whenever he discusses his creative process it’s worth noting. Whether or not his public disdain for outsourcing begins a shift back toward the Kojima Productions’ style of development remains to be seen, but Hideo Kojima is a legend within the industry and his words hold a lot of weight – at the very least, it’ll be interesting to see if other studios feel the need to respond to what Kojima had to say.