Though Metal Gear series creator and head of Kojima Productions, Hideo Kojima, may have his name attached to numerous projects right now, he has revealed in a recent interview with Japan’s Weekly Famitsu magazine that he isn’t as involved with them as some people may believe.
As it turns out, he isn’t working directly on either Metal Gear Solid: Rising or Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. In the case of the former, he notes:
“I’m not making it. As executive producer, I’m leaving it up to the youngsters. Although, even though I call them youngsters, they’re of good age.”
Longtime Metal Gear fans need not panic, however, for Kojima clarified that he has left Rising in the capable hands of Producer Shigenobu Matsuyama, who has been working with him as far back as 1991, and Director Mineshi Kimura, who has been with the team since the latter part of the first Metal Gear Solid.
“Everything is being made by Kojima Productions staff,” Kojima said. “For Rising, we’ve developed new technology for ‘cutting anything you want,’ and we’re seeing how game designers will put this to use. It’s a mainstream European and North American-style game. So, I feel that it doesn’t matter if it lacks the message aspect of a MGS game I’d make.”
As for the game’s plot, it seems to detail the transformation of Raiden into the cyborg ninja seen in Metal Gear Solid 4. Asked about this, Kojima responded:
“That’s what they’re saying, but I’m of the stance, ‘do as you please.’”
But though Kojima isn’t deeply involved in the production of Rising, he did instruct his team at the last minute to include one element of the trailer seen at E3, the watermelon scene. The staff were opposed, but obliged… but only to a certain degree:
“I actually wanted a bunch of kids to approach the scene after the watermelons were cut, but because time was short, I was told ‘we can’t do the modeling.’ So, we put in just the kids cheering.”
As for Castlevania:
“We’re advising them in a variety of ways, but are of the stance that Dave [Cox] and Mercury Steam have the final say.”
“It’s definitely not ‘A Hideo Kojima Game,’” remarked the interviewer and Chief Executive Officer of Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, Hirokazu Hamamura.
“Castlevania is different,” Kojima responded.
So, what else isn’t he working on? Would you believe the 3DS Metal Gear Solid title? While Kojima did direct the demo seen at last month’s E3, he says of the actual project itself that “what will happen from here on out is not set.”
Again, however, this isn’t as bad as it seems… particularly if you enjoyed the PlayStation Portable’s recent release, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. The 3DS demo was made by that very same team upon their completion of the PSP title, managing “to push the 3DS hardware quite far, upping the detail on backgrounds and characters over the PS2 original.”
Kojima offered the following about the character models seen in the 3DS demo:
“The high level models are about the same quality as the stuff we made on the PlayStation 3, although it’s tough to see this. If we’d had a bit more time, we could have made something better.”
He gave further insight into what they have in mind for the title, which is to keep the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater story, while adding the co-op play seen in Peace Walker, 3D effects, and “portable-like elements.” The development time should not take very long, according to his estimates, but should arrive within a year of the launch of the 3DS.
If that wasn’t enough, it also appears that Kojima isn’t working on Zone of Enders 3 presently, either. However, he insists that it is coming– just not quite yet:
“As for ZOE and the rest, I’m sorry, but that kind of got pushed to the back burner. It’s not that I’m at a loss for what to do — it’ll definitely be a console game, and it’ll be the sort of big-budget project where I’m dead if we screw it up. No matter which way we go, we’ve got the engine all set for it; the technical side is going along smoothly.”
So, with all of that out of the way, what is he working on? Konami USA had said previously that he was still working on Metal Gear; could it be Metal Gear Solid 5, then? Maybe… but then again, maybe not:
“I only have two choices for what to make: MGS5, or an original game. …We’re going slowly and carefully with my console game, but at the same time, we don’t have three years to give to the project. Japanese companies spend that sort of time on projects, but you don’t see that with overseas studios. They just put out an Assassin’s Creed game, but they already announced another one at E3, right? I really don’t see any way we can spend more than two years or so on this.”
“The next project is amazing. The plan is pretty much solidified.”
In addition to the maybe/maybe-not-a-sequel, a follow-up to Peace Walker is in the works:
“The follow-up to Peace Walker is really something,” he said. “It’s a revolution, game system-wise. We’re able to do what we couldn’t do with Peace Walker.” Like what? “You’ll find out.”