"One thing that I never want to do is to change anything so that a game can to sell more copies."
- Hideo Kojima
In three new interviews conducted at the DICE Summit, where Hideo Kojima picked up a Hall of Fame award and participated in a roundtable discussion with Hollywood director Guillermo del Toro, the outspoken developer talked about his new project -- the first he's developing outside of Konami after ending his 30-year relationship with the Tokyo-based publisher.
His new project, in development for Sony, will be a large-scale, "edgy" game that bears his authorial stamp, as he well knows players would expect.
"Especially, because it's our first game and we're working with Sony, I want to make sure that it's a great game for Sony, so there is pressure in that. However, I'm not even thinking of letting any of that to change anything that's in the game," Kojima told GameSpot.
His relationship with the platform holder is very warm: "I was fortunate to have offers from many people, studios and publishers from all over the world, but I've known Sony for quite a long time now. They respect what I do, respect me. It was just a matter of trust," Kojima told Polygon. But he did also tell GameSpot that the "conditions" of his deal with Sony preclude the firm's control over his game.
But even if pressure from his publishing partner is minimized, he's acutely aware of everyone's expectations for the game: "If the first project fails, we won't have any future to speak of. So we are very focused on that. It's a big-scale game, so we're being really careful," Kojima told Polygon.
If you've followed Twitter lately, you may have seen Kojima and PlayStation 4 lead system architect Mark Cerny touring studios together. Speaking to IGN, Kojima explained why:
“In order to create something that is really of quality, you need technology, but more than technology, you need people. You need talented people. I’ll create an environment where these people will develop their talents. By environment I mean the physical location of the place, the facilities, the kind of workplace environment that is developed there.”
Checking out Media Molecule's character creation tools with HK pic.twitter.com/0J2q43cLuL— Mark Cerny (@cerny) January 25, 2016
After touring studios around the world, he decided that the one that most impressed him was LittleBigPlanet creator Media Molecule:
“The environment that they have in the workplace is really... they almost feel like a family. One of the things that felt like ‘this is the way it has to be’ was, from the entrance, you go in, and we walked just one simple round of where the developers are, and the feeling that we got from there definitely matched the product that they’re trying to create. There was definitely a match in there.”
His hope, he says, is to create a smaller and tighter collaborative Kojima Productions, one that allows developers to work on multiple aspects of a game rather than focusing on just one type of task -- a deliberate simplification as compared to the 200-person team behind Metal Gear Solid V.
And, when asked by GameSpot to look back at his career, he offered some advice on game development that anyone can use:
"I guess it would be: 'Believe in yourself.' Even now, and with the previous franchises that I worked on, whenever you try to do something really new, it's hard to people to understand. The closer they are -- and especially the people that are really close to you -- they are opposed to doing something completely new. When you try to create something that doesn't exist it's difficult to communicate and convey that message to staff. There are always people telling me that I have to do things a certain way, but the only way to do what I want is to believe in myself."
It's clear across all three interviews that Kojima wants to create a unique new space for game development, and continue to pursue his singular vision. It's taken him this far.