“It is difficult to balance, but I think there’s ways to kind of really balance that out,” says Kojima.
Hideo Kojima got bit by the open world bug with Metal Gear Solid 5, and it’s something that really appealed to him. He’s spoken earlier about how he doesn’t feel like he can go back to crafting linear experiences after having worked on an open world game before – with the upcoming Death Stranding also being open world – and recently, while speaking at a panel at EGX Berlin, he spoke about that a little bit more (via Metal Gear Informer).
Kojima says he wants to give players the sort of freedom in gameplay that only an open world game can provide, by giving players the freedom to go wherever they want and tackle objectives in various different ways. However, he also feels that when it comes to narrative and storytelling, player choice shouldn’t come into consideration there, and any games he crafts should have a clear vision in mind. Striking balance between those two is something he now strives to do with his games.
“Like an open world action game: you could go anywhere, right? And you could do anything,” he said. “And you decide what to do. If you can’t, it’s not really fun, right? But the storytelling: [unlike multiple endings], the story itself should be like a destiny.
“If the character is destined to die, you [the player] cannot avoid that. (…) It’s a destiny. So the freedom of gameplay, and also the destiny, the time that goes in story, I kind of try to balance both of these worlds. It is difficult to balance, but I think there’s ways to kind of really balance that out.”
Kojima also went on to say that he often alters elements of gameplay for his titles based on what feedback he’s getting, and what the fans are saying, but as far as the themes and the story are concerned, he always tells the story he wants to tell without any compromises.
“Well, the theme of the story, or something really new, I have to bring it out myself,” he said. “In games the users actually control that what makes the output, the final game. So I have to think about UI, or gameplay. So I do listen to the users, because the players are part of it, they have to play it. So I do a lot of monitoring, and listen to what they say, and I kind of tweak it. But not the story or the theme. That’s solely from me.”