Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima is one of the most recognisable developers in the industry, but being a triple-A game director brings huge pressure, he says.
“A triple-A game is just like a large-budget Hollywood action movie,” he told IGN. “Like an open-world game is like a large-budget action movie. When we have a movie of that scale, we were talking about $150 million or something, there’s no room for failure. It must succeed … this is pressure that the directors receive from the outside.”
He also stated how triple-A development makes it hard for game directors to inject their personality into their games, but that indie development can be better.
“I think the biggest difference is that for a lot of other large games, there’s a subdivision of labour,” he said. “Where I, myself, I do the game design, producing, promotion, writing, many different things. I do it all myself. So [in] that respect, it’s kind of like being an indie developer.
“I think the games [indie devs] create are interesting,” said Kojima. “You get a very direct sense of who the creator is and what their sensibilities are … the story, the gameplay, the different ideas that they come up with. You can see, basically, who the creator is. They’re not hiding. Not hidden behind a layer of things. They’re out there in the open.”
Kojima went on to talk about why his name is featured so prominently throughout his games. For example, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain had, at one point, Kojima’s name on the box, and almost every mission in the game had a credits sequence with Kojima’s name listed.
“When I was a child, I watched movies by Alfred Hitchcock and John Carpenter. At the beginning of their movies, they would always have a subtitle on the screen that said, ‘A movie by Alfred Hitchcock,’ or, ‘A movie by John Carpenter.’ At the time, when I started to create games, no one did that. That’s why I came up with the idea. Because when I saw that I wanted to see their movies. It was, like, a sign of the movie that I wanted to see, so I decided that I would do the same thing.”
After leaving his previous employer, Konami, in 2015, Kojima founded his new development studio, Kojima Productions, as an independent company. The studio is partnering with Sony for its first project, Death Stranding.
In splitting from Konami, Kojima left behind both Metal Gear and the now-canceled Silent Hills project. The director has previously spoken about leaving Konami and his memories of his time developing Metal Gear Solid whilst there. Read his thoughts in our in-depth interview here.