Yesterday (February 18) saw a keynote speech from two of the entertainment industry’s most exciting figureheads at the annual DICE gaming summit in Las Vegas.
Japanese video game auteur Hideo Kojima (most famed for his Metal Gear Solid series) and movie directing giant Guillermo del Toro (notable for his Pacific Rim and Hellboy films, as well as Pan’s Labyrinth) were on hand for a chat in front of a rabid audience.
Many were excited to hear what the two had to say after an eventful 2015, where Kojima was fairly unceremoniously booted from Konami (with whom he had been affiliated since 1986), and the pair’s ridiculously exciting forays in the horror genre were canned completely.
What we got was an interesting look into Kojima’s workings, and the relationship between these rock-stars of the entertainment world.
For those who’ve not yet seen the keynote, you can watch it in full here (and yes, that is Kojima doing an impression of ‘the Pale Man’):
Here are seven fascinating things we learned from Kojima and del Toro’s DICE presentation:
1. Guillermo del Toro will do “whatever the fuck” Kojima wants
Watching the talk between del Toro and Kojima, it was interesting to see two creative minds so authentically engaged with the other’s output.
It was especially apparent when, talking on the prospect of a collaboration between the two minds, del Toro stated “I’ll do whatever the fuck he wants.”
Kojima returned the compliment by saying “of course” he’d love to work “on a game, a movie, I don’t care, we’ll do it.”
2. Kojima feels “extremely free”
Kojima has split with Konami, the production house that made his name, and has gone on to form his own company, Kojima Productions.
They’re been tasked with creating the next big blockbuster by Sony, and while the game is presumably only in the very early stages of planning, Kojima says that he now feels liberated with his new work circumstances:
“I feel extremely free right now. I am trying to make a big game with a very small team. I am doing exactly what I want to do.”
While we always assumed Kojima to be allowed free reign (have you seen some of previous Metal Gear Solid‘s storylines?!), we’re glad the 52-year old has found some comfort after last year’s Konami debacle.
3. He’s not as scatty to work with as some would have you believe
Speaking to Gamespot as part of a number of interviews released to coincide with the DICE speech, Kojima defended himself by saying:
“A lot of people say that I spent too much money or take too much time, but that’s a misconception. My last project was late about five or six months, but I’ve always kept my word on timelines and budget.
“I do take three to four years to make games, but that’s the plan from the start.”
If Kojima’s words are to be believe this paints Konami in an especially bad light. Surely their efforts to cut costs at the expense of arguably their biggest asset couldn’t be so ill-founded?
4. He’s not resting on his laurels
You’d think it would make sense for him to take it easy on his next project, but Hideo is refusing to rest on his laurels.
Speaking on the direction of a new game for Sony, Kojima talked about the scale of the task he’s undertaking:
“Like I did in the past, I want to make something that has a very strong, dramatic story. That’s what people want from me and that’s what I want to do.
“At this point, it would be easier to make a linear game, but that’s not [what he’s been asked to do].”
5. He’s not bitter about the Konami thing… no really
Many in attendance must’ve been baying for blood, hoping Kojima would really let rip on his old employers and take one of the biggest feuds in gaming to the next level.
Sadly (for them), it never came and he was graciously vague on the whole subject, offering up only a genteel mountaineering metaphor when quizzed on his feelings about P.T., the ridiculously atmospheric pre-cursor to a new Silent Hill game he was working on with del Toro:
“Let’s say you’re thinking of climbing Mount Everest, but you start with Mount Fuji first. That goes well and it feels good. Then you’re preparing to climb Mount Everest and you’re not allowed to. That doesn’t feel good.”
6. His next project will be ‘edgy’
Kojima has always been known for producing games a little bit ‘out there’. Take one look at MGSV for example, and you’ll either delight in the silliness of it all (winching bad guys into the air by balloon, cardboard box hiding, that awkward shower scene), or cringe uncontrollably and vow never to play the thing again.
It’s unlikely that whatever comes next from Kojima will be straight laced – and the gaming auteur is promising another “edgy” and bombastic title from Kojima Productions, despite the relatively limited staff size:
“It’s risky, because we’re just starting up, so it probably would be better to go with something smaller-scale, maybe linear, but Sony is supporting us to make a big game that’s edgy with a strong story that gives the player a lot of freedom, with new elements, and I don’t know if that’s possible. But we’ll see.”
7. He really did put his mark on everything
Kojima’s level of control over his games really is unmatched, especially in today’s modern landscape of triple-A gaming.
We think it’s something to be admired, and at DICE Kojima divulged a little bit more on just how far his involvement with any particular game goes, right down to the promotional presentation of the finished product:
“I take a lot of time because I create my own teasers, posters, and I work on how to create the box for sales.”
Main image: Getty