Xbox Nation sits down with famed Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima for a substantial interview about his new game, cooling spray, and question marks
With Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and the interactive documentary, The Document of Metal Gear, on shelves, Xbox Nation thought it would be a good time to talk with series creator Hideo Kojima. Amid the chaos, confusion, and sweltering heat of this year's Tokyo Game Show, we sat down with Kojima and put him over the coals to see how he felt about the new generation of stealth games, videogame movies, extramarital affairs, elementary school girls, and his childhood.
Xbox Nation: Now that you're revisiting Metal Gear Solid 2 to do the director's cut, what outside influences have affected your growth and ideas?
Hideo Kojima: I wasn't away from MGS2 for any particularly lengthy amount of time, because as soon as I was done with the U.S. version, I had to work on the Japanese version and then the European version. So there was no time to keep myself away from the project at all. I was thinking of ways to come up with interesting things to go into MGS2. Ideas that are not restricted by the Sons of Liberty story.
XBN: The Metal Gear series both pioneered and defined the stealth-action genre. Now that games such as Splinter Cell, Tenchu 3, and the recently announced Starcraft: Ghost are picking MGS2's baton and running with it, how do you feel they stack up? Does the competition inspire you in any way?
Kojima: I've seen a lot of interesting things in other stealth games. For example, when we saw Splinter Cell at E3, there was one thing that we always wanted to include in Metal Gear Solid that we didn't, and that is the ability to open a door halfway and [go] sneaking in. We thought that would slow the pace down and that it wouldn't work and didn't include it in MGS. But then we saw it done in Splinter Cell, and we thought, "Ah, they've done that really well." Another thing we think is good is the cyber-scope [the all-in-one headset that Splinter Cell's Sam Fisher wears featuring thermal, infrared, and other optic enhancements] and all the little working parts coming out of it.
There are some major differences between those other stealth games and our stealth games. In MGS you want to avoid being seen and avoid battles. That's one major difference there. In those other games, when you're seen, it becomes very difficult. There's a big priority on not being seen and yet taking all of the enemies out. In MGS, if you're not seen, you don't have to fight them at all; it's a very difficult approach, and I haven't seen our approach in any other games at all.
XBN: One interesting thing about Kojima-directed games is the incredible attention to detail. You can even watch ice cubes melt in MGS2 should you so desire. What's the motivation behind this? Is it to immerse the gamer in a world, or to train the player to investigate every possible situation?
Kojima: It goes both ways. The player knows to think that he's in this realistic world, so that's one reason. That's something you can do in a moviemake everything look real. But this is not a movie, this is a game, and in the game and you get responsesreactions for what you do. This is what makes a game different than a movie, and that's what makes a game fun. That's why we throw these things in, so that when you do something, you get a response.
For example, you can take a look at the cooling spray, even after the last time you have a use for it. But then you look up and see bugs flying, and you say, "What happens if I try this on the bugs?" And you try it, and the bugs fall. You know, you get a reaction.
XBN: We didn't know you could spray the bugs.
Kojima: You can. And then you see the flames and the fire burning, and you try the cooling spray there, and it works. This is the kind of enjoyment you get when you try things that you really don't have to do in the game, but you still get a reaction and it's fun. That's why I throw these things in the game.