Hideo Kojima remembers Metal Gear Solid 4
In issue 65 we put Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima on the cover of Official PlayStation Magazine and spent ages with him discussing all things Metal Gear Solid, plus plenty more. This is the first of several mini interviews where he looks back at his games. (He also remembers MGS1 and talks about doing a total remake, thinks about MGS2 and it’s HD-ification and admits MGS3 was the easiest to redo in high def.)
It was no longer surprising when MGS4 came and blew us away with how pretty it looked, given that all the previous games had done likewise, but apparently even that didn’t satisfy its perfectionist creator. “It sounds strange saying this now, but I feel we didn’t achieve all that I wanted to do with 4,” Kojima says.
“One of the things I wanted to do was not just show pretty graphics, but represent things that you normally can’t see. So for example, if you burn something and the chemicals affect other things, or if water spills on the grass then at some point maybe a flower would grow and pop out of it. Things that normally haven’t been shown before in a game.” Mind = blown.
But for a game that didn’t come up to the Kojima standard, it was still incredible, telling a story of how future wars (it’s set in 2014) are fought by private military companies made up of genetically enhanced soldiers. Throughout the game, with Snake a prematurely old man – still an ass-kicking one, mind – it seemed to be the series’ swansong, tying up loose ends and bringing the narrative together (albeit in a slightly confusing way).
Yet the emphasis on plot and exposition is often levelled as a criticism, something that Kojima is acutely aware of: “I feel that maybe I didn’t accomplish all that I set out to do at the start of the game,” he explains. “Looking back at it, we pushed the graphics rather than some of the other things we wanted to do. From that perspective it became like a movie-game – it has that reputation of being like a movie in the form of a game. So that’s where it came from – maybe it was a bit of a misstep, and I could reprioritise things moving forward. That’s something I learned from 4.”