4 new projects for Hideo Kojima after leaving Konami…
Literally every time Hideo Kojima finishes a new Metal Gear Solid game, he vows that it’s the last in the series, or at least that he’s taking a break for awhile to do something else. Then he immediately turns around starts work on an a new MGS game even better than the last.
Unfortunately, the relationship between Kojima and Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami, Kojima’s employer for the past 30 years, is not as rosy as it once was. His studio, Kojima Productions, was disbanded ahead of the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Konami then went so far as to remove any mention of Kojima from the game’s box art and official site, and Kojima has now officially left the company.
Rumor has it that the non-compete clause in Kojima’s contract with Konami expires in December, and it doesn’t take Snake’s high-powered binoculars to see that Kojima is likely to seek new employment soon after that. When Kojima and Konami finally, completely through with each other, there are four likely routes for Kojima to take.
4. Form an Independent Studio and Develop a Metal Gear Successor
This seems to be all the rage for legendary disgruntled Japanese game developers. Keiji Inafune, the creator Mega Man, started the trend in 2013 when he launched a Kickstarter to fund Mighty No. 9, a game about a robot who is definitely not Mega Man fighting eight other robots, who are absolutely not the type of robot masters you would find in a Mega Man game. No sirree, this is a completely original creation.
Last year, Koji Igarashi, the longtime producer of pretty much all of the good Castlevania games that have come out since 1997’s Symphony of the Night, split from Konami over differences in the company’s future direction (sound familiar?) He also set up a Kickstarter to fund a new IP, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It’s a 2D side-scroller in which you guide a character through a castle filled with demons and definitely not Dracula or other vampires. That’s a different game you’re thinking of.
If Kojima is a free agent come December and still wants to make stealth-action games like Metal Gear Solid, don’t be surprised if he sets up a Kickstarter next year for a game that has more than a passing resemblance to his most famous creation. Maybe he could even get David Hayter to voice the main character. It’s not like he has much else going on right now.
3. Negotiate with Konami to Independently Make a Sequel to One of His Other Games
Kojima is best-known as the visionary behind the Metal Gear Solid series, but he’s actually acted as director or producer on quite a few other great Konami games too, like the adventure games Snatcher and Policenauts, weird solar-powered cult-classic Boktai, and the intense mech action series Zone of the Enders. If Konami really is through making triple-A console games, these franchises are just going to waste. Kojima may be able to work out a similar deal like the one Yu Suzuki struck with Sega that let him finally make Shenmue III. OK, Konami is reportedly not the best place to work, and probably wouldn’t give Kojima the rights to make a new Snatcher game as easily as Sega did with Suzuki and Shenmue, but an agreement that would allow Kojima to finally make Zone of the Enders 3 in exchange for Konami taking a portion of the profits could be to everyone’s benefit.
2. Direct a Movie
Kojima’s love of cinema is well-documented, and for better or worse it’s had a huge impact on the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Metal Gear Solid 4 alone has an ending that clocks in at 71 minutes (!) long. Kojima could certainly make a competent (maybe even great) movie based on his work directing cutscenes, but it’s unclear exactly what type of movie he would make. This could be a vehicle for him to create a Metal Gear Solid successor, a sci-fi epic on the scale of Zone of the Enders, a fantasy anime in the vein of Boktai, or something completely different. Who knows? Maybe Kojima has been itching to make the next great romantic-comedy starring Reese Witherspoon.
1. Work for Nintendo
Kojima could also pursue a job with another major video game company. There’s certainly no shortage of publishers who would be interested in him, but he would have to find a company that was also a good fit for him and his style of development. Last year, Kojima called Rockstar “super impressive,” and expressed his fondness for Grand Theft Auto V. But Rockstar is a western developer that isn’t known (at least publicly) for letting one director like Kojima take charge on a project and craft his vision. Kojima would fit in best with another Japanese publisher who would let him take full control of a big-budget triple-A console project, and there’s really only publisher around right now that fits that description.
Kojima and Nintendo are no strangers. He was heavily involved in the development of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, a remake of the original PSOne MGS game made exclusively for the Gamecube. Kojima successfully convinced Nintendo to include Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and continues to lobby for his addition to the 3DS and Wii U versions of Smash Bros. as DLC. Nintendo would be one company that would allow Kojima to do what he does best, either with original properties or by exploring his take on Nintendo’s more mature franchises like Metroid and The Legend of Zelda. The idea of Kojima tackling either of those properties – and particularly with Metroid, Nintendo has a history of letting outsiders develop new games – in the next few years should excite just about any gamer, and a Kojima-directed Nintendo exclusive would be one hell of a killer app for the NX…