What to expect from Kojima’s first game after leaving Konami…
Break ups suck, especially messy public ones, and fewer break ups in recent memory of have been messier than Hideo Kojima’s split from Konami. Kojima spent almost three decades with the company and almost single-handedly turned Metal Gear into one of the biggest and most profitable franchises in gaming. It’s still unclear exactly why things went south for Konami and Kojima. When the company underwent a corporate restructuring earlier this year to focus more on mobile games, making life miserable for Kojima seemed to be a key part of the new business plan. Konami removed his name from the Metal Gear Solid V box art and refused to let him receive any recognition for the title at this year’s Game Awards.
But as with any break up, an ex-partner’s loss is a new partner’s gain. As soon as Kojima got out of his abusive relationship with Konami, Sony swooped in like a knight in shining armor to make things better and offer him a shoulder to cry on. As a result, the new Kojima Productions’ first game post-Konami will be a Playstation 4 exclusive. In his first interview since he could actually speak to the media again, Kojima offered few specifics, but said this new game would be “edgy,” but also “smaller-scale.” That could mean any of these four possibilities.
4. A Spiritual Sequel To Metal Gear Solid
Konami still owns the rights to MGS and fully intends to make another Metal Gear game with or without Kojima. That means Kojima can’t make a game featuring Snake, Raiden, Big Boss or any of his other famous characters. But Konami doesn’t own the rights to things like stealth-action gameplay, using a box to sneak around a top-secret military facility, or long, heavy-handed, anti-war cut scenes. What that means is that Kojima is free to continue polishing the gameplay ideas that made up the fulk of The Phantom Pain in a spiritual sequel. It’s basically what Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune is doing with Mighty No. 9 since Capcom won’t let me him make any new Mega Man games.
Konami executives would probably get super pissed about this, but given how great Metal Gear Solid V turned out, this could be the best outcome for both Kojima and gamers. And since Kojima wants to make an “edgier” game, maybe this one won’t have some of the more ridiculous plot twists that populated the MGS games.
3. A Simple Downloadable Game
It’s interesting that for his first project with Sony, Kojima said “I’m thinking smaller-scale, not too many people, and focusing on game creation at first.” Exactly what “small-scale” means to Kojima after a massive game like The Phantom Pain is anyone’s guess. He could make a game a quarter of the size of the last MGS and it would still be bigger than most major console releases. Then again, maybe Kojima wants to do something that just focuses on one or two of the gameplay systems present in Metal Gear Solid V. Or he could go for something completely different and wacky like Peter Molyneux did with the smartphone game Curiosity – What’s Inside the Cube? after leaving Lionhead.
2. Silent Hills Resurrected
When Kojima and Konami were still on good terms, the legendary director started work on a new Silent Hill game with film director Guillermo del Toro. The game would have starred Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead. Based on a playable teaser that was available for download from the Playstation Network for a few months, it also would have featured some truly unnerving exploration and puzzle-solving.
Alas, Konami cancelled the game and pulled the teaser from the network because we can’t have nice things. Similar to the idea for a spiritual sequel to Metal Gear Solid, there’s nothing stopping the newly-formed Kojima Productions from making a game that would use some of the concepts explored in Silent Hills as long as it wasn’t a direct copy of what Kojima was doing with Konami. Even bringing del Toro and Reedus on board wouldn’t necessarily be out of the question. Gamers were massively disappointed when Konami killed Silent Hills, so Sony would gain a lot of good will if they announced the new Hideo Kojima game was a similar survival horror title.
1. A New Take on an Old Sony Property
Sony has been in the console business for more than 20 years at this point. Like any developer that’s been around for that long, it now has plenty of original properties. Some it uses much more often than others.
Kojima could do great things if given a crack at some of Sony’s unused properties as part of his agreement with the company. It would be interesting to see what Kojima could do with a unique yet obscure series like Jumping Flash! Maybe he could do something with it similar to the work he did on the Zone of the Enders games, turning it into a modern mech-action game. Kojima could also work his magic in another large sandbox-style game if given the opportunity to make something like a new The Getaway game.
But perhaps the most interesting possibility would be letting Kojima direct a new Syphon Filter game. Sony hasn’t released a new entry in the stealth-action series in almost a decade. And given some of the similarities between Metal Gear Solid and Syphon Filter, it would be a great vehicle for Kojima to further develop some of the themes he’s been exploring over the past two decades.