Hideo Kojima has been making games for well over two decades, and he’s seen the video game industry go over vast changes. One things that’s changed is that budgets, and expectations, have gone way up.
“[The atmosphere of my first games were] very different to today’s games. Now there’s a lot of pressure – back then it was very free,” said Kojima. “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.”
“I think it’s more consumer demand – right now, consumers are happy with what they have,” he added. “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.”
Just like how war had changed in Metal Gear Solid 4, Kojima acknowledges that development has changed radically these days. “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,” said Kojima. “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 realize in this day and age.”
Of course, what has people excited now is Project Ogre. “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,” says Kojima. “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 for Metal Gear Solid 5, Kojima said, “Well, I think we’ll probably have to make it at some point, but what that will be, we have no idea. 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.”
“I intended to take it to a certain point and then hand it off, but that didn’t work, because it’s hard to convey the concept to other people then have them take the reins and carry on and preserve that vision,” he noted. “That’s why it’s easier to have them come up with everything from the start and then take it to the end. 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.”