Hideo Kojima is arguably one of the most controversial yet celebrated game directors in gaming history. “Celebrated” because he’s the director and designer for the Metal Gear Solid series, which is recognized as one of the best stealth and action adventure titles of all time. “Controversial” because for all the work he put into the Metal Gear games, he left Konami due to various issues that arose with the company at the time.
Details are still sketchy but since the initial reports came through, there’s been plenty of evidence to suggest it was Konami’s wrongdoing. And this was leading up to the release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, hailed as one of the best games of last year. Regardless, we’re here to celebrate the man himself by looking at five facts that you may not know about Hideo Kojima. Spoiler alert though – there’s a lot to do with movies. Let’s get started.
Live Action Career
Everyone knows about Kojima’s obsession with films – as can be seen in the cinematic treatment for the Metal Gear Solid series – but the man himself has also been in various live-action roles. There have been several Japanese films where Kojima would have a minor role. Such examples include Azumi in 2003 where he played a bandit (for which he was uncredited for the same) and Versus in 2000 where he had a role as an extra (and again went uncredited). Both films were by Ryuhei Kitamura which indicates a friendship between the two but it’s still a testament to Kojima’s enthusiasm for film-making.
The Wachowski Connection
Kojima’s friendship with directors is no small thing. In fact, he’s friends with the Wachowski siblings, Lana and Andrew, who created the Matrix trilogy, Speed Racer and the highly recommended Jupiter Ascending. We’re kidding – Jupiter Ascending is terrible. Regardless, the Wachowskis were reportedly interested in creating a Matrix video game with Kojima but this didn’t pan out for whatever reason. That could explain the lack of any compelling Matrix games or the usage of virtual reality elements in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Take your pick.
In Japan, honorifics are used much like titles. For example, “san” means “mister” so most would refer to Kojima as Kojima-san. However, Kojima prefers to be known as “Kantoku Kojima” instead. This is because the man himself considers himself a film director, which “kantoku” essentially translates to, and also that game directors are superior to film directors. Whichever way you look at it, his approach to directing is far different from anything seen in movies or games. It could also explain why he credited himself as a director for each and every single chapter in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. We’re not going to complain though – it was a pretty good game.
You’d call Hideo Kojima a movie buff and not be too surprised by the fact. The man himself only sleeps four hours per day so of course he’s busy doing something other than working, right? As it turns out, Kojima is so into movies that he attempts to watch a film every day. His favourite movies include 2001: A Space Odyssey and Escape from New York, the latter’s protagonist inspiring the creation of Solid Snake (and the entry sequence via submersible vehicle in Metal Gear Solid 1). John Carpenter interestingly knew about this inspiration but didn’t sue Kojima because he thought of him as a nice guy.
From Economics to Game Design
Believe it or not, Hideo Kojima didn’t just start his career in game design. He was actually a student of Economics until discovering the Famicom. Thus began his passion for wanting to be a game designer, despite his friends and teachers advising him otherwise. However, Kojima’s limited programming knowledge led to his first game being a failure after joining Konami in 1986. Surprising no one, his colleagues at Konami made fun of him for his failure and the publisher gave Kojima one last chance to redeem himself. Thankfully, he did so with the Metal Gear series and the rest is history…until Kojima left the company due to various shenanigans. Isn’t funny how history comes full circle?
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