“Kept you waiting, huh?”
Hideo Kojima is an unspoken legend in the gaming industry to most consumers. Not only is he responsible for modernizing cut-scenes and voice-acting in gaming, he’s also one of the industries few auteurs.
In many fields of entertainment (YouTube, Movies, TV, Music, Books, Manga/Comics) we have projects made by a director and his team. For example in film we have many movie directors that write and direct their own material. They have creative control over their product and the movie that comes out is generally what the director had in mind. There are many film-makers that when you see a trailer for a movie you undoubtedly think, “That’s definitely a David Fincher movie,” or “That’s a Quentin Tarantino movie”. These creatives make the project OOZE with their style.
In gaming there really aren’t any directors or creatives that when you see a game you can think, “Oh that’s ______”. It’s usually a gaming studio that is seen as the group behind a certain visual look, flair and gameplay. It’s a whole team that has made one vision and their vision is a certain game every two to three years.
Before the stories of Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear, Policenauts and Snatcher, Hideo Kojima was an Economics major in college who had dreams of becoming a movie director. During his fourth year of schooling he decided to drop out and pursue a career in gaming.
“The industry was full of dropouts, people who felt like games offered them another chance. I met many people in that same situation; we bonded together through that in some sense.” – Hideo Kojima
Kojima was able to join up with a company in 1986 named Konami and he worked with their computer division and continued working with them up until 2015. Kojima could not code and had many failures under his belt so he became some sort of laughing stock within the company. Eventually he was handed the MSX2 game titled “Metal Gear”, which was a game that the company had a hard time developing and they hit a wall with so they handed it off the underdog laughing stock, Hideo Kojima. Kojima was able to change the gameplay of the game to be focused on hiding and escaping. Originally the idea was for the game to be about a prisoner escaping prison, but Kojima got the idea of a secret agent named Solid Snake who was sent to a fortified base called Outer Heaven to destroy a nuclear weapon named Metal Gear. In 1987 Metal Gear got shipped and wasn’t received too well by gamers and critics but it began to make people realize what the MSX could do.
After successfully making a game and not completely failing Kojima was finally able to do what he really wanted to do, which was direct and write something completely unique. Soon he began development on the MSX2 title Snatcher. Snatcher was praised at the time for pushing the boundaries of story telling in video games. The game had cinematic cut scenes, voice acting, writing that was being compared to a novel and Snatcher dealt with very mature themes, which at the time, was something unheard of in gaming.
Kojima began to further his craft in his following game releases, Snatcher SD, Policenauts, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and Snakes Revenge.
The PlayStation came out in the year 1994 and Kojima had four years to develop a game called Metal Gear Solid (1998). (I will refer to it as MGS from now on) MGS is the sole reason gaming has developed to where it is now. At the time of release there were many games that use voice acting and cut scenes, but there wasn’t any games out there like MGS. Kojima was able to use his style that he brought to Snatcher and Policenauts and make it truly cinematic. The cut scenes in MGS are like scenes from a Hollywood action film. The games’ cut scenes are directed like that of a movie, the voice acting at the time was dramatic and iconic. Kojima’s true vision of becoming a movie director has finally come true. MGS handled many topics within its story that games wouldn’t dare to touch at the time; nuclear proliferation, genetic engineering, self discovery and corrupted political climates.
After MGS came out Kojima was heralded as a pioneer and icon of the gaming industry. Kojima singlehandedly destroyed the concept of video games being just games. No longer where we supposed to get 100 points to unlock the next level, no longer where we supposed to collect 20 puzzle pieces to get to the next area. Kojima uprooted the foundation of console gaming and gave us the blue print to the future. Many games from this point on had cinematic cut scenes and had deep and intricate plots to them. Metal Gear Solid’s success showed developers that the consumers were hungry and ready for complex stories in the medium.
If we fast forward to 2017, almost every mainstream big budget gaming release has cinematic cut scenes, a unique story and a budget that compares to that of a film. Gaming has taken over as many peoples preferred form of entertainment. Hollywood is failing and video games are to blame. When a game developer can give you a 10 hour long game, that you control and you influence, with the fidelity and aesthetic of a film, why would you watch a movie? Why would you give up a personal experience that you can play?
Hideo Kojima had a dream to become a film director and inadvertently he has. Kojima created and willed the idea of video games being interactive film for himself. He created his own way in an industry that did not accept him at first, but now would be nothing without him.
Hey what’s up guys, I haven’t posted in a long time. It’s from a good mix of laziness, school and having nothing to review. I’ve been thinking about writing something on Kojima-san for a while now and finally felt like it would be appropriate to post it now. I hope you guys enjoyed/have learned something new! Also I’ll be posting a review whenever I finish A Night In The Woods, so be looking forward to that. And then there are many games coming out afterwards that I’ll be posting stuff about. So be looking forward to that!
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