Hideo Kojima: “Death Stranding” Games Creator Inspired By Films
Hideo Kojima, the creator of the hugely anticipated Death Stranding game released this week, turned a family obsession with film into a talent for making highly cinematic video games.
Best known for his acclaimed Metal Gear series, Kojima spent nearly 30 years at Konami, a major firm that he has said he joined because they were the only games company listed on the stock market at the time.
He was born in 1963, to a family obsessed with films. When he was young, his parents began a tradition of watching a film every night.
“I wasn’t allowed to go to bed till the film had finished: the opposite of how it is for most children,” he told The Guardian in an interview.
The tradition had a huge influence, and as he got older, his parents encouraged him to see films by himself at the cinema. They would give him money for the ticket, but on the condition that he came back and discussed the film’s themes and its impact on him.
He lost his father when he was just 13, and at university, he initially studied Economics, before switching gears in his final year and deciding to enter gaming.
His mother supported the move, but his friends opposed it strongly, and the social pressure had an effect. He chose to work at Konami because it was listed on the stock exchange, giving it a prestige he thought might justify his decision.
As long as I live
A year after he joined in 1986, the first iteration of Metal Gear launched. It saw gamers controlling special forces operative “Solid Snake”. It also encouraged them to avoid and outsmart enemies over engaging in direct combat.
Several sequels followed. They developed the stealth ability of characters and featuring the cinematic cut-scenes that would become a signature of Kojima’s work.
He achieved cult status, however, with the 1998 release of Metal Gear Solid. One review declared that the game “comes closer to perfection than any other game in PlayStation’s action genre.”
Further sequels followed, and as his star rose he created his own production unit inside Konami. In 2005 he won an MTV lifetime achievement award for the Metal Gear series.
He told a cheering audience:
“I have to say, even though I have received this award, let me state that I will not retire. I will continue to create games as long as I live.”
In 2015, he shocked the gaming world by announcing he was parting ways with Konami. He also said he would run his studio as an independent firm.
Speculation raged over the reasons for the split. Some cited Kojima’s near-obsessive desire to control all aspects of production on his games, or alleged strict controls on employees. Others pointed to the industry-wide shift from console games toward mobile devices.