Image source: Konami
During a discussion with Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley, Hideo Kojima took the stage at PAX Prime to talk to the audience about the past, present, and future of the Metal Gear franchise, including his own wishes for a Big Boss game, as well as fan-casting the recently-announced Metal Gear movie.
Coming on stage in his magnificently shiny shirt (I’d show you a photo, but I was all the way up in the nosebleed section), Hideo Kojima told the audience through his translator that this was his first PAX. He hadn’t gotten a chance to check out the show, but the head of Kojima Productions was looking forward to getting out on the show floor.
When asked about the genesis of the series, Kojima explained that games 25 years ago were more often than not about attacking things and that he wanted to do something different. He remains surprised that the series has lasted as long as it has.
He did want to clarify that Snake’s name was giving homage to Snake Plissken, but that the character wasn’t based on the Escape From New York anti-hero. He also felt like the codename “Snake” would be best suited to communicate sneaking and stealth. As for the character being non-Japanese, most of the fiction he grew up with came from outside of Japan and besides Snatcher, the bulk of his work reflects that influence.
Working with the series’ Art Director Yoji Shinkawa, Kojima says he thought about the character’s history and motivations in coming up with Snake’s design. During the 2D era, the character didn’t have a lot of detail, dialog, etc. and was able to be ambiguous. Moving into the PSOne era, Kojima worked with Shinkawa to elaborate on his design.
When Keighly joked that it was great that Snake was back in Ground Zeroes, Kojima responded with a simple “Yeah,” neither confirming or denying that he was the lead in the new game.
One of the themes of the series that has been important to Kojima is how one character surpasses their predecessor over time, singling out MGS 3 and Snake’s journey to surpassing Big Boss. When Metal Gear Solid 2 rolled around, Kojima felt that after the first Solid game, Snake had already become a Big Boss-type character, so instead of having the player be the legend, he wanted players to be in the shoes of Raiden to discover a new character’s journey.
Moving on to Raiden’s solo game, Kojima says that he had a lot of affection for the character, even if he didn’t quite reach the popularity the MGS team hoped with the second game. He hoped to show audiences that Raiden could be cool in MGS 4, and the audience responded positively, asking if the cyber ninja would ever get his own game again.
The title, Rising, refers to Raiden’s ascent. The Revengeance part of the title comes from the resurrection of the title after it was initially canceled. After bringing Platinum Games onboard to resume production, Kojima says that it was like they were getting revenge against the initial cancellation.
The goal with the new game was to allow players cut freely in the environment as a form of revenge on life’s little frustrations. He credited Platinum Games with having a lot of cool, original ideas, and he hopes that this will be Platinum’s greatest game, saying that he’s a huge fan of Okami. As for whether we’ll see a sequel to Rising, Kojima says that he’s not a huge fan of spinoffs, but he’d love to work with Platinum Games. Plus, he reiterated his hopes to one day make a game with Boss as the main character.
Moving on to the recently-announced movie, Kojima presented his wish list of talent for the film, going back and forth between Christopher Nolan and Ben Affleck as directors before giving it up to the audience to decide. He suggested someone like Tom Hardy in the role of Snake. It’s still very early in preproduction, so he didn’t want to say too much about the movie which has been in some kind of discussion for the last 15 years.
And then Kojima started talking about the Fox Engine, which works on current-gen consoles. It’s been in development for a few years and he cited the CryEngine as one set of tools that allows developers flexibility, something that he and his team hoped to have for themselves. It also sprang out of a desire to stop building towards specific consoles and to build more efficiently. Kojima noted that the new engine can be applied towards shooters or third-person action games like Uncharted, although the biggest challenge was making an open world game as he was doing with Ground Zeroes.
And he wanted to reassure the audience that Ground Zeroes is definitely a game and not a tech demo, currently running on PCs. What we saw in the Paramount theater was about 15 minutes of footage from the game since they couldn’t bring their hardware with them to PAX.